Sunday, September 18, 2016

Exterior Finishes for Your Home: Part 3

When you think of what a contemporary home looks like, what comes to your mind first? Is it the overall shape of the structure? The materials used both inside and out? Are there more windows than walls? In today’s blog, we’ll be talking about exterior finishes commonly used on contemporary and modern styled homes.    

Fiber Cement Siding
Pros: Fiber cement siding looks like wood, without the big price tag. It also has a significantly longer term durability. The product is made from a mixture of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers that are steam cured at extremely high temperatures. This ensures its strength and durability for up to 25-years. Colors and pre-painted siding options are plentiful and changing the color any time is an option as the siding holds paint well. Fiber cement siding does not warp, buckle, or fade and is water, fire, and flame resistant, making it safe to place a grill next to it. It also withstands rot, salt damage, ultraviolet rays, birds, insects, and termites. Extreme climate conditions do not affect the material reducing the possibility of splitting in cooler temperatures.

Cons: Cracking can happen occasionally in the caulking which causes discoloration and fungus growth. The material is man-made, making it not as environmentally friendly versus other exterior options and the product is not recyclable.

Cost: An affordable alternative comparatively to wood, stone, brick, and stucco. The average cost is $3-4 per square foot.

Durability: Resistant to almost everything, fiber cement siding is extremely durable, long-lasting, and holds up to extreme weather conditions. It is available in a variety of styles and shapes and it can be adapted to create a variety of looks for any exterior.

Maintenance: Regular checking of the product is required to patch, re-nail, or replace any caulking before it causes damage. Caulking issues need to be fixed immediately using a latex,acrylic, or urethane caulk found in most home improvement centers. Re-painting is typically required every 7-15 years depending on the wear. Cleaning is easier using a standard power washer.

Engineered Wood Siding

Pros: Engineered wood siding is a material made from wood products - sawdust and wood strands that are coated with resin and then compressed. The benefit to this of this process is that it has a look of natural wood without flaws, such as knots. The material is treated during the manufacturing process to protect it against rot and termites. This lightweight material is less expensive than it’s real counterpart and it comes in a variety of colors, patterns and styles, and can be applied wherever real wood would be used. It comes pre-painted or primed or you could do the job yourself, giving it an extra protective barrier.

Disadvantage: Moisture rears it’s ugly head again as a very common problem with engineered siding. Proper installation is essential. Product imperfections is also a culprit for leaks.

Cost: Engineered wood costs less than real wood and is comparable to other siding at $3-5 per square foot.

Durability:  Engineered wood siding is considered to be a solid material. It boasts a long life of 30 years.

Maintenance: Keep the engineered wood sealed and protected by repainting it every 5-10 years. Cleaning the siding annually will keep it looking fresh and neat.

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