Along with achieving the look you desire, other factors should be considered with your choice in an exterior finish such as: cost, maintenance, durability and repairs.

There are a variety of exterior finishes you can choose from that should fulfill the function of:

– restricting the penetration of snow and rain

– allowing drainage of any moisture from behind the exterior finish

– be constructed in a manner which ensures the long term durability of the exterior finish.

Preparation & Requirements of Exterior Siding

Flashing – Is required between every horizontal intersection of different finishing types except if the upper finish laps overtop of the lower finish.

Caulking – Must be applied at any point where external moisture would be able to migrate or penetrate the wall structure. All siding must be caulked around the window and door frames including the sills if they are not protected completely from the outdoors.

Sheathing Paper – (Sheathing membrane breather type) Is used to help prevent and protect against wind, rain and snow from entering the wall structure and building interior. This must be applied with a 4 inch lap or if done horizontally then the top sheets must overlap the bottom sheets.

Common Problems to All Exterior Finishes

Water penetration through the siding:

In wood and hardboard siding, water penetration can cause rotting, peeling paint, water stains, mould/mildew, damaged insulation, warping/buckling and severe damage to wall structure. In vinyl and metal sidings, water penetration soaks insulation and deteriorates framing members and interior finishes. The cause of these problems could result from the lack of a rain-screen wall or incorrect application of sheathing paper.

Premature deterioration:

Siding can deteriorate prematurely mainly because of moisture

Siding deformation or displacement:

Persistent deformation will weaken siding and provide openings, allowing water to penetrate. This can be caused by direct installation over semi-rigid insulation.

Exterior Siding Maintenance

No matter what quality materials are used, and regardless of what claims manufacturers make, the simple truth is that materials will not last unless they are well-maintained on a regular basis. This is the only way to get the maximum life of any exterior wall.

Pay close attention to the southern and southwestern walls as they are the ones that are more exposed to the sun, temperature variations,and wind. They are,therefore,apt to deteriorate at a much quicker rate. North-facing walls may be more susceptible to moss and mildew.

Many repairs and maintenance tasks like caulking, cleaning and painting can be done by handy homeowners. However,more complicated tasks which require special tools, equipment, and skills should be left to the professionals.

What type of exterior siding to choose?

Vinyl/Aluminum…There are many differences between vinyl and aluminum siding, one being that aluminum is easier to dent and the only option is to replace it. With vinyl, it will crack when there is extreme cold, has been banged or there is deliberate misuse. Cleaning may be needed for both vinyl and aluminum, but aluminum may require cleaning and painting after a number of years. The first thing to be done is a thorough cleaning, manually or have a professional power wash done depending on your situation, before the added cost of painting.

Whether you do it yourself or have a professional do the work, it will be labour intensive and expensive. An estimate from a professional local paint supplier or a recommended handyman is advised. Prices for primer may range from $28.00-$35.00/gal., and paint $29.00 – $35.95/gal.

Wood…Wood siding should be properly maintained. The

peeling of paint or stains are common, causing a lot of sanding and scraping of the surface to prepare for your finish. This may be done by a professional surface cleaner (by estimate) or homeowner. Stains are usually a better protector against water because the wood has already absorbed the stain ($22.96 and up/gal.) rather than paint that sits on top of the wood ($30.00 and up/gal.). Also repeated application of paint or stain every few years may deter homeowners from choosing this exterior finish.

Stone/Brick…Surface cleaning and the possibility of the mortar joints being redone after many years are the only major concerns. A professional (with an estimate) should be considered because the outcome can make all the difference on how well it looks after it has been done. Although brick and stone are fairly durable, the cost is sometimes the deciding factor in the choice of an exterior siding.