Comparing the Maintenance Requirements of Northern Virginia Siding

Filed Under: Siding    by: Steve Kayhill

northern_virginia_siding1There are a variety of factors to keep in mind when choosing your Northern Virginia siding. The different types of siding have distinct appearances, varying costs and assorted levels of maintenance. Once you have decided which look you want, the maintenance is likely a major factor as it also affects the overall cost and durability of the product. Compare each type to get a better feel for which is best for your home.

Wood Siding

This traditional choice adds warmth and charm to your home, but those traits come with a high level of maintenance. In Northern Virginia the wind, sun and temperatures will do a number on a wood finish, resulting in the need to stain or paint your siding every few years.

Even the highest quality paints cannot stand up indefinitely. And a refinishing job is extensive and, in some cases, expensive. Factor in the cost and time involved when you are considering this style of siding for your home.

Fiber Cement Siding

Touted as a low maintenance and highly durable alternative to wood siding, fiber cement does come prefinished from the factory. This cuts down on the need to paint initially, but many of the brands currently being installed will fade with time. You may need to repaint this style of Northern Virginia siding on a five to seven year rotation, depending on the brand installed and property conditions.

Fiber cement siding also needs to be caulked in order to provide a high level of energy efficiency. Your caulking job may wear out due to damage, climate or age. It helps to use the highest quality caulking possible.

Vinyl Siding

Hailed as the siding option with the lowest maintenance requirements, vinyl is often an install-it-and-forget-it product. Besides a regular wash down with your hose to get that initial shine back, good quality vinyl siding shouldn’t need any other attention.

The color retention is high and fading, cracking and splitting are rare. Be sure that you are installing a brand with excellent ratings and a solid warranty. And always have a professional siding installer do the work in order to ensure the corners and seams are well done, providing a tight fit that will last.

Brick Siding

The most expensive siding option available, many people assume brick is maintenance-free. But even stone doesn’t last forever and the brick products on the market today do require regular maintenance. Every ten years or so your bricks (or more specifically, the mortar) will need to be repointed, an expensive job that must be done by a professional.

Brick siding is energy efficient and long lasting, but a repointing job often sneaks up on homeowners. They are surprised by the need as well as the cost, both factors that may have influenced their original decision to opt for brick.

Stucco Siding

This is another popular option that needs to be repainted or refinished on a regular basis. Much like fiber cement siding, the stucco will not retain its original color for long and repainting is required around every ten years or so.

Stucco also needs to be sealed. Resealing requirements are dependent on the climate and the exposure of your home.

It helps to understand the maintenance requirements of all the various types of Northern Virginia siding. Consider what you are willing to spend up front and how much money and effort you are willing to put into the maintenance. Time, appearance and durability are all major elements that factor in as well. Choose wisely and your siding will suit your home perfectly.

Three Tricky Elements of Northern Virginia Siding Installation

Filed Under: Siding    by: Steve Kayhill

northern_virginia_sidingYou will be faced with many different decisions when installing the siding on your home. There are different types to choose from (vinyl, aluminum, fiber cement and stucco, for example) and different contractors available for hire. But only an experienced installer will be able to handle these three tricky elements of Northern Virginia siding installation. Be sure you can trust them to get the job done right.

Stripping What Is Necessary

Stripping is the term for removing the old siding on your home. If you are involved in a replacement project, it’s important that you ask the installer how they handle stripping.

Some contractors will install a new layer of siding right over top of the old one. Others will attach a layer of foam insulation for good measure and still others will strip the existing material right off in order to begin the project with a clean slate.

It does depend on the type of siding you have chosen – fiber cement needs to be installed directly onto a stable layer of rigid insulation or into the studs. This style cannot be installed over old materials, although certain types of wood siding and vinyl can be attached in that way. Find out what method the contractor uses and why before you hire them on.

Seamless Coverage

Siding sheets often come in 12 foot pieces and are able to provide a seamless finish on some walls. Using full pieces will also cut down on the seams that exist on walls longer or taller than that 12 foot size. But there are bound to be scraps and smaller pieces. Some may be wasted, unless a spot is found for them.

Certain contractors make a habit of using the smaller pieces together to cover small walls. But this will create seams and many opportunities for water and wind to get under the siding and into the house. This may cut down of waste, but it will result in a lower quality finish. Good contractors should use full sheets whenever possible and create the least amount of seams.

Cutting Corners Correctly

Installation of siding pieces on large sections of wall is straightforward. But the quality and expertise of a contractor will be evident in how they install corner pieces. These essential trim elements provide the finished look you want and amateur or inexperienced installers may have difficulty getting them straight, well cut and neatly attached.

Corner trim covers the unfinished edges and seals off these vulnerable areas from water infiltration. Since you have made a sizable investment in your Northern Virginia siding, it’s important that you choose a contractor who will pay attention to these little details. Well-cut and neatly attached corners do make a difference, to both the overall appearance and the longevity of the project.

There are certain details that will noticeably affect the overall appearance and quality of your Northern Virginia siding job. Ask each contractor about how they handle stripping, seams and trimming the corners. Have a look at some jobs they have done to get a feel for their attention to detail. Then make your final decision based on how confident you are that they will come through on your home improvement project.

How to Choose the Best Colors for Virginia Siding

Filed Under: Siding    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia_siding_colorsCurb appeal is an important factor for every home. Elements such as landscaping and architectural design combine to create an attractive face for your house. But many would agree that the color of your Virginia siding is the most important factor in curb appeal. Are there any foolproof methods of choosing the best siding color for your home?

Color Selection

There are a few different aspects that will affect the colors available for your project:

  • What Type of Siding Are You Installing? – Each siding type has a certain range of colors available. Wood and fiber cement siding tend to come in natural tones, although these types can also be painted in bright or bold colors. Vinyl siding is available in a wider range of custom colors, but cannot be painted.
  • What Siding Manufacturer Will You Choose? – Not only do the different types of siding come in a variety of colors, but the various manufacturers offer unique choices as well. You will find many popular colors available from most of the major brands, but each tone may be slightly different and certain companies have unique offerings.

The Importance of Color Schemes

There will be one main color that forms the foundation of your Virginia siding. This tends to be a neutral color that is not too overpowering and suits the architecture of your home. Be sure to choose the main color wisely – a bold hue will draw attention away from the details and shape of your home’s architecture. Strive for a balance between an attractive color and a suitable foundation to showcase the beauty of your home.

The overall color scheme of your neighborhood should also be taken into account. If most of the homes around you have natural hues and earth tones, try to steer clear of bright primary colors. You certainly want your home to stand out, but not so much that it is considered the sore thumb on your block.

Consider how the color scheme meshes with the style of your home as well. Southwest ranch styles look best with earthy colors in the brown and tan range, while colonial homes can pull off pastels with ease. If your home is not a distinct style you may have more flexibility, but otherwise it is best for the siding color to pay homage to the design.

Choosing the Trim

Trim work and detailing can make all the difference to the appearance of your home. Choose the color and style of trim that will compliment the main siding color. Often a tone-on-tone color scheme looks stylish and can draw more attention to the shapes and slopes of the house. Contrasting trim colors make a bold statement and often look better on a larger home with fairly plain styling.

Don’t forget that the color of your shutters and doors needs to match well with the color scheme woven by the siding and trim. Be mindful of how everything looks together and be sure to consider samples at different times of day. That brown siding color you love may look much darker in the twilight or much lighter in the morning. Keep the samples out for a few days before making your final choice.

The color of your Virginia siding will help to create the overall appearance and curb appeal of your property. Consider all of your options and make wise decisions. After all, the face of your home will have a major effect on the value.

How to Find Qualified and Affordable Northern Virginia Siding Installers

Filed Under: Siding    by: Steve Kayhill

northern_virginia_siding_installersHomeowners value the services of home improvement contractors that are qualified. But more often than not, the overall cost of these services is what carries the most influence. When it comes to Northern Virginia siding projects, finding an installer with the experience, skills and competitive price is most important. How can you find these companies?

Experience Matters

There are many steps involved with siding installation. On new builds the process is fairly simple, but a replacement or repair project may be a different story. The very best Northern Virginia siding installers also have experience in the removal of worn or damaged siding.

This job involves a certain type of demolition, but qualified contractors will know how to remove the old siding without damaging the structure or framing underneath. They should also be knowledgeable enough to judge the condition of that structural layer. In certain circumstances a replacement siding job will require the framing or insulation to be upgraded before the new siding is installed.

Choosing the Optimum Material

An experienced siding contractor will also be able to recommend which types of siding materials are best suited for your home. This is often based on the climate and exposure of your home, but the design and size of your home (as well as the budget) are factors in this decision as well.

Ask an established contractor for recommendations on the best type and brand of siding. Working with a variety of brands and styles will have given these professionals in-depth insight that is valuable for your situation. Utilize it however possible.

Don’t Be the Testing Ground

Hiring a freshly established contractor with a low hourly rate may be tempting, but often your home will end up suffering. New companies often have a lot to learn about the industry and you don’t want your home to be the testing ground.

That being said, it is often the experience of the individual installers that matters more than the length of time the company has been open. If the firm hires new staff every year it offers the same risk of amateur errors and botched jobs. Look for a contractor with an established reputation and experienced, career installers. This combination offers you the safest, more professional job.

Where to Look

You can start your search with directories and online listings, but it is the word of mouth referrals that often carry the most weight. If you are new in town, those referrals may come from building associations and real estate professionals. Otherwise it is wise to ask your local friends, family members and neighbors which companies they have had a good experience with. Don’t forget to note the contractors to stay away from.

Get more than one quotation and compare the quality of service, warranties and costs before making your choice. Remember to ask for a list of current references and visit the jobsites. Getting a close look at the work of each contractor will reveal clues as to how thorough and meticulous their installers are.

If the overall cost is more than you expected, consider this – a Northern Virginia siding project is a long term investment, adding protection and beauty to your home for years to come. When you measure the cost over the life of the project it may help you to gain a better perspective.