Driving along various streets in my neighborhood recently, I saw enough peeling paint and weather beaten sidings that made me realize how painful this economy has been for many homeowners. After all, historical evidence has shown that the longer these improvements are delayed the more they cost both in up-front cost and reduced property value. There is little doubt that homeowners will seek to address this problem as soon as financially possible and they may well be looking for new ways to guard against this type of deterioration from delayed maintenance in the future.
The future is here for I have been seeing an increasing demand for ‘low maintenance’ siding products in a specific segment of the home remodeling market. Older homeowners are more and more choosing Vinyl and composite siding products and are reaping the significant benefit they offer over traditional wood siding – there is no longer the need for the relatively frequent labor intensive scraping and painting of wood material. Other benefits include enhanced curb appeal and improved durability of these products brought on by technological advances in their development.
Indeed, it is easier now to recommend Vinyl siding and cement board (Hardie Plank) sidings in suburbia than it was a few years ago. Homeowners are discovering that, when professionally installed low maintenance sidings are as aesthetically pleasing as the best professional paint job, a reason for objection in the past. Vinyl sidings are used readily in lower to middle income neighborhoods and are placed over solid but often well worn existing siding material. It use presumes a relatively sealed existing structure for it offers no guard against air leaks. However, its smooth surface and interlocking feature repel water quite well. It needs no painting and a moderate-force power wash with detergent occasionally will keep it looking good for years.
On the other hand, cement board installation provides the perfect opportunity to drastically improve the siding of a home. It requires that the entire siding system is stripped away down to the sheathing, this provides the opportunity for the latest advances in moisture barrier, insulation and drainage plain technology to be included before the finish siding is applied. Cement board siding system, unlike Vinyl siding, provides a complete seal against air and water penetration. It also helps to increase the energy efficiency of the building because of the improved thermal barrier. Finally, and similar to Vinyl siding it requires no painting for the color is applied during the manufacturing process. So, this too may be kept looking good for years with minimum maintenance.
I need not dwell on the baby boomer here for he is not the only one, there is no denying that the benefits of low maintenance siding products are attractive and their use, particularly Vinyl and cement board are becoming more widespread.