What siding for what place ? Is it better to install it yourself or to ask a professional ? What are the warranties ? How to take care of it ? Before starting the big new adventure of exterior siding, here are 5 key factors to help you to decide.
Factors that may influence your purchase are resistance to fire, insulation and climate.
Materials, such as wood and wood fibre panels, used in a very isolated and humid area will be conducive to mould. More frequent cleaning will be essential to maintain siding appearance and ensure durability. It is preferable to avoid rough textures that may trap in dirt more easily, therefore opt for a smoother siding that will be easier to clean.
The location of the building will also affect its required maintenance schedule according to pollution levels, insects, foliage, etc. Sidings in coastal areas will be damaged by erosion. In well exposed areas, painted sidings will require more regular maintenance.
Buildings that are close to one another should be covered with a siding that offers good protection against the spread of fire. Architects are more and more aware of this requirement which explains the growth of fibre cement during the last few years.
In view of the size of the investment and product durability, we recommend an in-depth look at the guarantee attached to each type of siding as, among manufacturers of similar materials, the terms of the guarantee can vary greatly.
Here are some key points to validate before your purchase: the length of the guarantee, the required labour and the defects covered by the guarantee.
Pay attention to “marketing” guarantees which could be extensive but often exclude important long-term features. Ask insightful questions, demand a written copy of the guarantee and enquire if the guarantee must be registered before becoming valid. It is important to do business with a dependable and reputable manufacturer that will respect the guarantee should you need to use it.
The type of siding you will choose will impact the time and ease of installation. Some sections are easy to assemble or to fit together while others demand greater expertise which may trigger the hiring of certified fitters. This will significantly impact the cost of your siding.
An amateur fitter should always read carefully the Manufacturer’s Installation Guide before starting the work. This Guide features clear directions to prevent problems linked to faulty installation. Some even provide a video demonstration of how to install the siding properly. A good siding that is poorly installed will not meet performance expectations.
While the work is taking place, it is imperative to protect painted sidings from the rain. It is not because they are made to be outside that they can be exposed to bad weather. These materials are made to be installed vertically so that when they are positioned in this fashion water slides off them. Moreover, the back of these sidings is not always painted or primed. When it rains, it is important to keep the protective plastic wrapping on them while on the ground and to avoid leaving them there for long periods of time. This will prevent losses as well as warped or swollen boards.
When working, paint the pieces that have been cut. This is a crucial step for wooden siding to prevent water infiltration and swelling on the unprotected extremities. A paint sample is provided to cover those cuts; you only need to paint the end and not the surface that has already been painted.
Some materials are quite heavy or fragile, so their installation requires 2 people to prevent any bending that could break them. This frailty will evidently impact installation costs. They can also be difficult to cut as they will tend to break at the ends, so it is best to call on a professional to handle this type of siding.
To ensure the durability of your siding, a good cleaning is required to prevent dirt accumulation, mould propagation and deterioration. Should a scratch be discovered, repair it promptly to prevent it from worsening. A painted surface should not be cleaned with a high pressure jet. A low pressure jet will help remove surface dirt and prevent stripping.
While checking different manufacturers’ Internet sites, you will be able to discover and learn more about their new products. Here are some innovations recently featured: semi-transparent shades, sidings where nails are invisible, easy-to-install sidings and polymers imitating stone.
Leading manufacturers usually participate in home shows where they compete for the attention of homebuilders and future homeowners. Have fun shopping!
[Main photo via Maibec]