Exterior Siding

While the primary purpose of siding is to protect your home from the elements, siding can also have a dramatic impact on the visual charateristics of the home. In addition, the type of siding you choose can have a significant impact on maintenance requirements.

In repair situations, it is generally necessary to match the existing siding for esthetic purposes. However, there are situations in which it is possible to replace some areas of siding, such as gables, without detracting from the appearance of the home.

Until the middle of the twentieth century, wood was the primary material used for siding. After World War II aluminum and vinyl were introduced as low maintenance alternatives. Though both are still used today, vinyl siding has become more popular, particularly in the Northeast.

More recently, fiber-cement sidings have been introduced and are quickly becoming the product of choice. These sidings are rot resistant, dimensionally stable, and impervious to insect damage. Their stability helps them hold paint better. Fiber-cement sidings look much like wood, and with the introduction of dimensional boards (such as 1”x4” and 1”x6”) fiber cement can also be used for many trim applications.

All types of siding can be painted. However, vinyl and aluminum sidings should always be painted with a color the same as, or lighter than, the original color. Darker colors will absorb heat, and can cause the siding to buckle and deform.

Color Psychology

Yellow– The most visible color. Good for narrow hallways.

Orange—Viewed as cheerful and friendly. Good for family rooms.

Red—Encourages action and aggressiveness. Good for dining rooms

Violet—Regarded as a power color. Preferred by children more than adults.

Blue—Lighter blues are calming. Good for bedrooms.

Green—Considered relaxing. Good for bedrooms.

Gray—Encourages creativity. Use depends on warmth of color.

Black—Viewed as dignified and sophisticated. Enhances most other colors.

Elastomeric Coatings

While a brick veneer can add warmth and beauty to a house, it is often desirable to paint bricks, particularly on older homes with considerable damage to the bricks and mortar. Paint can help hide these defects and provide a uniform finish.

An acrylic latex paint is an acceptable coating for bricks and other masonry; however, it is not always the best product to use. An elastomeric coating can provide greater durability. In addition, elastomerics have a greater ability to stretch, which allows them to bridge the small cracks which often develop in masonry surfaces.

In many ways elastomerics are similar to top-quality latex paints. Both contain acrylic resins and are water-based.

However, the film thickness of elastomerics is considerably greater, which contributes to its durability. Most manufacturers recommend a film thickness of 1 to 1.5 mils for latex paint, while recommending a film thickness of 4.5 to 5 mils for elastomerics.

The thicker recommended film results in substantially greater material usage- a gallon of latex paint will cover about 350 square feet while a gallon of elastomeric will cover about 125 square feet.

Achieving this film thickness also requires more labor, as the application of elastomerics is a slower process. Though the initial cost is higher, elastomerics are a cost effective coating for masonry surfaces.