Should You Use Engineered Wood for Your Northern Virginia Siding Project?

Filed Under: Siding    by: Steve Kayhill
TruWood siding

TruWood siding

Replacing your Northern Virginia siding can be an expensive project. Many homeowners tackling this home improvement are looking for affordable options that deliver the same level of durability and visual appeal of traditional siding products. Engineered wood siding offers homeowners a familiar look and relatively good quality, but most people are initially attracted to the lower price.
Compared to traditional solid wood siding, engineered wood is more affordable. You’ll find many of the same patterns and styles across a wide range of manufacturers, including TruWood and SmartSide. But how does this man-made product stack up against the natural strength and durability found in traditional wood siding? Would you be better to make the switch to vinyl siding and enjoy a maintenance-free solution?

How Is Engineered Wood Siding Made?

Manufacturers combine wood by-products, such as sawdust, chips and flakes, with adhesive to make textured sheets of engineered wood siding in various styles. Both vertical and horizontal designs are available, and the appearance mimics wood species traditionally used for siding including cedar, pine and redwood.

Engineered wood siding goes up quickly, reducing the labor costs of your Northern Virginia siding project. It may or may not offer the same level of insulation that traditional wood does, but engineered wood can be easily installed over various insulation products.

Maintenance Specifications

Just like traditional wood, engineered wood siding will require a coat of paint or stain every five to ten years. It’s difficult to sand down and refinish, so be sure to choose a finish color and stick with that. Some brands come pre-finished from the factory, but that finish will fade and wear away with time. Repainting helps to extends the life of this product, as well as keeping the appearance fresh and clean.

The biggest issue with engineered wood siding is moisture. Because this product contains wood by-products that tend to absorb moisture, as well as adhesives that may breakdown in moisture, you may run into difficulty with excessive exposure. Paints and stains repel rain, snow and sleet, but if engineered wood siding is left in standing water it will deteriorate and create serious problems.

Proper installation remains the most important factor when choosing this type of siding. Ask your siding contractor whether they have dealt with engineered products before, and be sure their installation procedures follow the manufacturer’s direction. Hire a company that offers a solid warranty on the installation, as well as good warranty coverage on the product.

Engineered wood siding provides value for the money. Costs are similar to fiber cement board siding and vinyl siding products, but engineered wood offers a more rustic, traditional appeal. If you are longing for that look but cannot afford to invest in traditional wood, a high quality engineered siding product may be right for you. Be aware of the maintenance required and hire an experienced installer.

For a more solid product with a longer lifespan and less chance of damage, opt for solid wood siding or consider installing vinyl Northern Virginia siding. In any case, do your homework before making a final decision and you’re bound to be happier with the final product.

Essential Accessories For Your Northern Virginia Siding

Filed Under: Siding    by: Steve Kayhill

northern_virginia_siding_accessoriesThe exterior of your home needs to be finished for protection and architectural appeal. Choose from a variety of Northern Virginia siding styles to achieve an attractive and durable look. But siding accessories also help to bring that look together, finishing awkward corners, covering gaps and creating a seamless appearance. Bringing these exterior finish elements together can be challenging, but enhanced siding accessories will transform your house from an ordinary building to an extraordinary home.

Keyed Corners

Instead of simply installing outside corner trim, look for keyed corner trim. This product has more depth and detail, providing a better profile on the corners of your siding. This product comes in a variety of widths and profiles, designed to compliment any style of home.

Some homeowners opt for corner trim in a matching color, while others choose a complimentary or contrasting tone. It depends entirely on how you would like the finished look to appear, as well as the total number of corners on the building and their location. Contrasting colors can seem busy if your home has a lot of angles, while matching trim can look washed out on a fairly flat or square home.

Dentil Trim and Crown Molding

Adding trim to the underside of overhangs and eaves provides interesting detail and form on the exterior of your home. Just as crown molding will enhance the interior of the house, dentil trim and crown moldings can be installed over your Northern Virginia siding to create a beautifully detailed and upscale look.

Accent certain areas of the house, like the front porch, or trim around gables and across straight rooflines to achieve the same details over the entire building. Dentil trim offers smaller, rectangular blocks in an offset pattern, while crown molding has a swooping look that provides greater depth at the roofline.

Shutters and Window Corner Blocks

Dress up the windows with siding accessories in contrasting colors. Shutters provide a dashing look, but may also offer protection and shade for the windows if they are operational. Many homeowners opt for the standard decorative models that simply provide a wider vision of your windows.

Give the corners of your window trim a dash of style using window corner blocks. Available in wood and vinyl, these square pieces often have a decorative shape formed into the middle. Set into each corner of the window trim, those shapes add an interesting twist to the flat, boring trim typically seen on most homes.

Mounting Blocks

Do you want to make your exterior lights, hose reels and house numbers stand out in a decorative way? Take a look at how mounting blocks can completely change these utilitarian additions into works of art. A vinyl mounting block can be added over vinyl siding, fiber cement siding or stucco, providing a flat area for the fixture to sit on and a molded trim to cover the hole underneath. These components add depth and can be chosen to match exterior moldings and trim to provide a symmetrical look on your house.

No matter what type of Northern Virginia siding you are having installed, siding accessories like keyed corners, dentil trim, window corner blocks and mounting blocks can will dress up the finished look. Add style to your home the easy way with high quality siding accessories from your preferred manufacturer.

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.