By Mike Colton, Asset Preservation Group, LLC
A building’s siding is exposed to Mother Nature all day, every day, for years and years. Water, sunshine, wind, ice, time, fire, and pests can all play a part in determining just how long that siding and ultimately your building may last. Choosing products that are engineered to stand up to the elements, as well as performing routine maintenance are the key factors in a long and effective life for your building.
The goal is that in 10 YEARS YOU WILL SAY TO YOURSELF, "I MADE THE RIGHT DECISIONS. I GOT THE RIGHT PRODUCTS. I FOLLOWED THE RIGHT MAINTENANCE PROGRAM.”
Being ready at all times is instrumental to the success of long-lasting siding. Bad weather and other events can strike at any time. But it's not only extremes that break down siding - the change of seasons does a number on materials such as vinyl (which may crack in the cold or blow off in high winds) or wood products (which expand and contract with changes in moisture and humidity). Studies have also shown the long-term effects that different climates have on siding, which is why the IECC Climate Zone Map was created to help you choose the right products for your region. Zone 5 products, for instance, are made to resist wet, freezing conditions, while Zone 1 and 2 products protect structures from heat, humidity, blistering sun and more.
THE THINGS WE VALUE MOST SHOULD LAST THE LONGEST AND THEREFORE BE PROTECTED AT ALL TIMES
Water can damage your building like nothing else can. It may be gradual or sudden, but it is relentless and can cause extensive structural damage, swelling, cracking, delamination, mold/mildew, and color separation. This is where the right products and maintenance programs are most critical. Regardless of the product you choose based on your climate, proper installation per manufacture recommendations is a must and when possible, having participation of a manufacture’s field representative during installation is ideal for not only ensuring that the product is installed correctly, but also to ensure a full manufacture’s product warranty. Proper flashing installation, sealing all joints that should be sealed, and leaving all recommended joints/seams open for ventilation and moisture transfer is the key to a successful siding installation.
Once the product is installed, annual inspections and routine preventative maintenance is highly recommended. Inspections should consist of checking all seals for proper adhesion and cracking and all joints for proper fit and gapping. Inspections should also identify any loose or missing product. If your siding product is painted, it is also important to ensure that the condition of the paint is sound and full coverage is still in place. If areas are peeling or damaged, immediate touch up should be performed. Depending on the product type, periodic re-painting may be required to ensure proper protection of the siding. This period can range from 6-10 years based on the quality of paint products used and the quality of installation performed. Numerous products, such as pre-colored cementitious siding, vinyl siding, and veneers are engineered to last much longer before surface conditions become an issue and need to be addressed.
THE TEST OF TIME
One thing's for sure: As the years go on, we all show signs of aging. Choosing the right products created to stand up to the demands of your specific climate and performing routine inspections and maintenance will ensure they will look great for years to come, saving you both time and money.
Mr. Colton is a graduate of Colorado State University and founder of Asset Preservation Group (APG), a full-service General Contractor based in the Denver, CO and serving the Mid-West. APG has the distinction of being a James Hardie Multi Family Preferred siding installer as well as a multi-product roofing specialist.