When planning work on the house, I try to stay one or two steps ahead. So while wrapping up the addition, I planned new windows. Now that I’ve decided on a window brand/grid pattern, I’ve started weighing my options for the next project…new siding.
One of the many reasons why keeping this siding will not work
Truthfully, I would like to keep everything original. I wish I could keep the wood windows, but they are so rotten, I could push my finger through the sills in some of them and the grids in all of them. I would have to sculpt new ones out of epoxy to make that work, and I am not Rodin. I’m really surprised the glass hasn’t fallen out yet.
I would love to keep the wood siding, too. I’ve been thinking about it, figuring out if it can be repaired enough to function and look okay. After extensive examination, I just don’t think it can be salvaged. Every window sill has been leaking for probably several years, so the siding around the windows is pretty rotten. Then there is quite a bit that is cracked, has holes, termite damage, and other issues. When I started really looking at it, I realized that entire walls of siding were in very poor condition. Initially, the idea was to patch the rotten places with fiber cement and siding from the places we are enclosing. Today, I realized that siding is a different style than the rest of the siding on the house, so that is no longer an option. I think we are going to have to reside the entire house.
This is the problem, because we have two options. Well, three, but wood is far too expensive. So we have vinyl and we have fiber cement. There are pros and cons to each.
Vinyl – I’ve been looking at the Mastic brand, due to their wide variety of color options, and because this brand looks less glossy than some of the others. It has a limited lifetime warranty. Additionally, they have many vinyl decorative pieces that can be used to recreate the look of the original wood. Vinyl is durable, and low maintenance, so bonus. For the cons? It will look a little plastic-y. We will be stuck with these color choices forever, and the color will fade in the sun, even with a good quality product. It may fade unevenly. It will essentially look similar to most of the houses in town. Vinyl can crack, and if it does it may be hard to find a replacement, and the color may not match due to color fading. The biggest con? It will never look the same as wood. You will see seams. The vinyl pieces are bulkier than wood. I’m not sure if I can mimic some of the pieces in vinyl. If I pull off the aluminum and find wood, I’m afraid it will look terrible with the vinyl.
Fiber-Cement – I’m basing this off of the James Hardie brand. It has a 30 year warranty. The pre-painted kind comes with a 15 year warranty for the paint and labor. It lowers insurance when compared to vinyl siding. They can be as much as 14% lower because the home is rated the same as a brick home. It also is good for resale. It is not prone to warping like vinyl. It is more resistant to wind and hail damage, and it can be used in areas prone to hurricanes. Vinyl is often damaged or pulled off the house by wind damage. Also, it can be painted with normal house paint. This is both a pro and a con, as you can change the color, but it will have to be painted sometime in the future. The biggest pro is that it looks a lot like wood. So much so that many historical areas and districts will allow it to be put on their homes. It also has many trim pieces that can be used to match the wood, and in many cases, the original or new wood can be used with the siding for a more authentic look. Cons — It is a lot more expensive then vinyl siding. As much as double the cost, even. Labor is more expensive, too, because it is more difficult to work with. You have to maintain the paint finish and monitor the caulk. If the finish is not maintained, water may get in and that piece of siding has to be replaced. You may have to recaulk to prevent water from getting in behind the boards, but this is more of a problem with the non-pre painted kind.
So these are my options. I would really like to do the fiber-cement. I think it will be more aesthetically pleasing, and more true to the house…but, the cost is an issue. At this point, I have no idea which way it is going to go, and I keep vacillating from one thing to the next!