Choosing the siding that is right for your home is like selecting a jacket that will protect you from wind, rain and drastic temperatures. Siding refers to a material that is applied to the exterior of a structure as a finishing surface. Siding is also an important component of the design of your home. When selecting siding, certain things must be reviewed. Understanding the architectural design of your home, characteristics of materials, the local weather and lifestyle differences are very crucial to selecting the proper siding.
Today an assortment of siding materials exists in various designs and colors. We are experts at the installation of all the various siding products and we will meet with you to discuss your objectives and budget constraints to help you select the appropriate siding for your home.
We know the proper installation procedures for each siding product as well as their limitations and advantages. Our installations follow strict manufacturer and industry guidelines to ensure that your home is properly protected from the elements while looking great. It is the preparation work that takes place before the siding is installed that adds that extra measure of protection and prevents the notorious moisture problems that occur from an improperly installed siding.
Complete Removal of existing old siding
Thorough inspection of the sheathing and framing
Replacement of rotten material
Installation of new vapor barriers and moisture barriers
Installation of specific flashings and caulks (sealants) around all penetrations
Installation of the new siding materials
Installation of all appropriate trim and finish details that increase the aesthetic appeal
There are many types of siding to select from. Climate plays an important role in selecting an appropriate home siding. Being in the Northeast we do face severe weather extremes, from hot, humid summers to cold, icy winters. The following are brief descriptions of the various types of siding.
Wood siding has been used for hundreds of years, and seeing a 300-year-old clapboard house is testimony to the durability of wood when properly maintained. Cedar, pine, spruce, redwood, Cyprus, or Douglas fir are the woods used most often. Wood siding comes in many shapes and sizes.
Textured Plywood- This may be the least expensive wood siding options. They are typically 4’ X 8’ sheets of plywood with a rough textured finish on the outer face. The edges have a tongue and groove to allow them to fit neatly to the adjoining section. They often have vertical groove designs cut into the face for appearance. They are typically made of pine or fir and require a finish paint or stain.
Bevel siding (Clapboard) is the most widely used type of siding. It is produced by resawing lumber at an angle to produce two pieces thicker on one edge than the other. The manufacturing process results in pieces with one face saw textured. The other face is smooth or saw textured depending on the grade and customer preference. It is installed horizontally and gives an attractive shadow line which varies with the thickness selected.
Channel siding is normally supplied in unseasoned knotty grades. The face side is saw textured. Commonly available sizes are 1 x 6 in., 1 x 8 in. and 1 x 10 in. Clear grades are manufactured to order. Bevel siding typically is produced in either cedar or pine.
Shakes - Shakes are somewhat similar to shingles but they’re not created by a machine, shakes are hand-split. Like shingles, staining or treating increases the life span but they still warp after a number of years.
Channel siding – This type of lap siding used whenever a rustic appearance is desired. It can be installed vertically, horizontally or diagonally. With channel siding, the profile of each board partially overlaps that of the board next to it, creating a channel that gives shadow line effects, provides excellent weather protection and allows for dimensional movement
Tongue & groove siding - This is widely used for its good looks and versatility. It can be installed horizontally, vertically or diagonally, each providing a distinctly different look. The joints between adjoining pieces are usually V-shaped, but flush-jointed, reveal and radius joints are also available. Tongue & groove siding is available with rough or smooth faces. The variety of joints and surface textures offer a range of shadow line effects that enhance its versatility. Tongue & groove siding is manufactured in clear grades suitable for a more formal, elegant appearance, particularly when pieces are smooth faced. Knotty grades are also popular for their smart, casual look.
Board & batten siding is a vertical design created by using wide clear or knotty cedar boards spaced apart with narrower boards (battens) covering the joins. There are no set board or batten widths, as various combinations are used to create different looks suitable for large or small scale applications. A frequent combination is 1 x 3 in. battens and 2 x 10 in. boards. This can also be reversed with boards installed over battens to create a deep channel effect. Rough sawn, unseasoned boards, or boards surfaced on one side and two edges are commonly used for board & batten siding. Sizes are from 1 x 2 in. to 1 x 12 in.
One of the most popular ways to side a home in past years, aluminum is resistant to rust and is very lightweight. there’s no painting required which also means relatively low maintenance. It typically comes in a clapboard style but is also made for vertical applications. A negative though, is that aluminum is subject to denting, and over time oxidation occurs on the surface creating a chalky finish. If this occurs, aluminum can be painted and holds paint for long periods of time when applied correctly. Aluminum has lost favor over recent years because of newer, more appealing products that are on the market.
Vinyl has many of the same qualities as aluminum. One large advantage favoring vinyl as opposed to aluminum is it’s resistance to dents. Also, there’s absolutely no painting required and small scratches aren’t seen very well.
Vinyl siding is now available in a wide variety of styles based upon historical wood shingle and siding designs. Textures have become more realistic, “transferring” or “molding” actual wood board textures into the vinyl. Trim products to complement each style are also available.
Shingle styles include straight edge perfections to staggered edges and rough-split shakes, to half-round and other decorative shapes. Clapboard styles include smooth and rough textures, “colonial-style” reveals, board & batten vertical siding, beaded lap siding. Millwork to complement numerous home design style are available, traditional profiles and trim-work and accent pieces window and door trim, corner-boards, gable brackets, frieze boards, etc.
Vinyl siding is a plastic made from PVC, or polyvinyl chloride. The advantages of never having to worry about rot and flaking paint like with wood siding makes this exterior covering attractive to many consumers. However, with a lower price tag comes problems. Vinyl siding has a tendency to crack, split, and look faded and dingy after a few years. Manufacturers have made improvements on these problems with some of the newer technologies, but they still exist to a lesser degree. The environmentally conscious may not want to choose vinyl due to the problems it creates when it is removed - PVCs release toxins when burned, making vinyl not environmentally friendly.
Fiber Cement Siding
An increasing more popular alternative to vinyl siding, although more expensive, is fiber cement siding. Fiber-Cement is a low maintenance alternative to wood siding. It is a dense, non-porous product which is less susceptible to the effects of weather. A wider variety of styles are being offered every year from traditional lap-siding to shingle-looks. Smooth and wood-grain trim boards are also available.
Fiber cement siding is made of cement, sand and cellulose fiber that has been cured with pressurized steam for strength and stability. Over the past decade it has become one of the top siding choices for residential remodeling because of its durability, appearance and affordability. For homeowners who like the look of wood siding but not the maintenance and cost of wood products, fiber cement siding is indeed a great option.
The benefits of fiber cement siding are numerous: it is fire and termite resistant, it has a high structural strength and will not rot, buckle or warp, and is impact resistant. It holds paint longer than conventional wood siding. Some manufacturers sell their siding pre-painted with 15 year warrantees on the finish.
Although fiber cement siding has not been on the market long enough to know the long-term durability of the product, most manufacturers offer warranties as long as 50 years on their siding. Proper installation is critical to moisture resistance. Installation also requires specialized cutting blades and safety precautions as a lot of dust is created when the fiber cement planks are cut.
Stone / Masonry
Stucco - Stucco is made by mixing sand, water and Portland cement. It is very durable as demonstrated by the fact that it has been used on homes for centuries. The finished product is hard, dense, and thick. It is created by applying three coats of the product over a wire lath that is mechanically attached to your protected plywood walls. The finish can be left natural or color dyes can be mixed within the final coat to achieve one of any numerous colors
EIFS – EIFS is short for Exterior Insulation Finishing System. Although it is often called “synthetic stucco” in fact it is not. EIFS is lightweight synthetic product comprised of a three coat process; a foam plastic insulation (polystyrene), a mesh coat, and a finish coat. Each manufacturer has their own proprietary mixture. There are variations to this product but the “barrier EIFS” is the most common. It has grown in popularity because it looks similar to traditional stucco yet the costs are more reasonable and it has a greater energy efficiency.
The finish coat comes in a wide range of colors and textures. The most common is the smooth surface but you can also get rough “stucco like” textures, embedded stone chips, multi-color “granite like” mixtures and “brick-like” treatments.
One main draw back is that the material is soft and easily chipped or carved resulting in significant damage. The mesh coat is a layer of fiberglass reinforcing mesh embedded in a cementitious adhesive. The mesh is available in various weights and by using a heavier weight mesh you can increase the impact strength of the finished product. Also some insurance companies may not provide fire insurance coverage for your home if EIFS is installed due to the lack of fire resistance inherent in the product.
There have also been lawsuits because of related moisture problems and subsequent rot and mold issues. Critics claim that the barrier type system does not allow water that may penetrate the building envelope to drain and escape. Some municipalities now only allow water-managed EIFS systems in which a drainage cavity is created through the use of various products and applied over a water resistive barrier (WRB). Many of the water related issues have been found to be caused by an improper installation of the product and more to the point, the flashing and sealant details required at all openings and penetrations.
Brick – Bricks can be made from clay, shale, slate, calcium silicate, and concrete and manufactured through soft mud, dry press, or extruded. The formed brick is hardened by drying them in a kiln. Brick can be laid in many different patterns called bonds. The most common of these is the stretcher bond. Full brick can be installed to the building face but they need to be supported at the base with a concrete footing. Brick is one of the more costly siding materials. A less expensive alternative to full brick is brick veneer which is only about 5/8” thick and can be adhered directly to a prepared wall with mortar. This make for a quicker installation process with less material costs and if done correctly it can provide the same aesthetic appearance as full brick. There is a wide variety of color and texture variations to choose from including the look of used or weathered brick.
Stone – Natural stone facing may be one of the more expensive and time consuming sidings available but are claimed by many people to be the most appealing when a natural rustic look is desired.
Stonemasonry is the craft of shaping rough pieces of rock into accurate geometrical shapes, mostly simple, but some of considerable complexity, and then arranging the resulting stones, often together with mortar to form structures. It is an art form and takes years of practice to master. Today many mason yards supply cut stone of varying sizes and configurations that help expedite the installation process.
Veneers - A veneer is generally considered a non-load bearing decorative wall finish usually designed to mimic natural stone or brick. Although it may be constructed using full size natural stone or brick (which do require a concrete footing), it is typically constructed with material fabricated with light weight concrete. Manufacturers use molds of natural stone or brick to craft realistic looking products. by pouring a lightweight concrete mix into a mold and through the variations in selective molds and the distinct coloring process natural color and texture palettes are created that capture the nuances of real stone and brick. Its light weight properties eliminate the need for wall ties or footings and are installed directly to a concrete wall or to a wood framed wall that has been prepared with a water resistive barrier and wire lath.
All products are produced with complimentary finished corners, most with window sills and lintels. Also, most manufacturers offer a line of decorative pieces, including corbels, quoins, and keystones. Many also manufacture fireplace surround kits and hearthstones.