Siding Replacement in Houston – Part 2
There are many articles online discussing what to consider when replacing your exterior siding.
There are ways to cut corners that homeowners wouldn’t necessarily know. Cutting corners for the siding replacement company means more dollars in their pocket or a lower price to the homeowner. But in the short and long-term, cutting corners is not best for the home.
While the siding product is important, the small things are even more important because the big things typically don’t fail, it’s the small things that do. A good replacement company will detail these small things in their scope of work.
Some of the small things that ensure a good installation are:
1) The product used to caulk the joints. Here in Houston, there are current lawsuits against remodelers, the caulk manufacturer and siding manufacturer because the caulk has grown mold under the paint. Also, caulk that is not elastic enough will crack in time and allow moisture behind the siding.
2) The light blocks. Some siding replacement companies won’t use light blocks for electrical boxes, light fixtures and spigots. A lot of caulk is required to seal the hole and that means a lot greater possibility of failure down the road. Light blocks are much preferred because they don’t require caulking to keep moisture from penetrating. And even more preferable is a water management light block that directs moisture to the front to the siding. Only a few companies manufacture these and your siding remodeler contractor should show you what they will use.
3) The corners. Many homes in Houston have “layover” trim and most remodel companies reside with this type of trim. Layover trim is a thinner trim that nails over the siding. It is a simpler and less expensive way for a siding replacement company to install. Using this method costs the remodeler less money but also allow gaps for insects to nest. What is preferable is a corner that the siding butts up to and then is caulked. This not only looks better but keeps insects and water out. Some companies also offer a premium manufactured one-piece corner post that looks even better and performs better.
4) Ensuring proper nailing. The manufacturer’s warranty is dependent upon installing to specifications. After caulking and flashing, proper nailing is a large reason for issues years later. Wind load is dependent upon proper fastening. Both LP and fiber cement lap siding have hidden fasteners so you as a homeowner won’t know if the siding is nailed correctly. Good siding replacement companies will tell you how they ensure proper nailing. For fiber cement siding, 1” spacing from the top of the lap siding is required. LP Smartside requires 3/4”. If care isn’t taken by the installation team, this spacing is difficult to maintain.
5) The paint and paint crew. In Houston, most siding replacement companies use their siding crews to paint. Good companies, have their siding crew install and their painters, paint. You cannot expect a siding crew to do as good of a job as a painter. Also, with the type of weather Houston has, using two coats of a paint with built in mold protection is best.
6) Communication. Good home improvement companies excel in communication. This begins with the scope of work. A simple contract that doesn’t say much is a good way for the siding company to not disclose the little things. A scope of work should detail everything from the siding to the weather barrier, from the type of corners used to little details, like how a bump out will be addressed. Also, there are software programs today that facilitate clear and timely
communication that allows the home owner to know the timing of the stages and see photos of ongoing progress.
7) Little touches. A couple small things that are huge for homeowners is being able to see the project before it is installed. Today there are visualizers which allow the siding replacement company to show the homeowner different design and color options. A simple product change in a gable can make all the difference. Most homeowners need a picture to determine what they like best. Good remodelers will offer to their customer a color consultant who can take the thoughts of the homeowner and recommend various color schemes.
Someone said that the little things are the important things. This is especially true when choosing a siding replacement company.