Varieties of Exterior Finishes for your Home

Formerly, imitation wood clapboard was made of aluminium (aluminium siding). That role is typically played by vinyl siding today. Aluminium siding is ideal for homes in coastal areas (with lots of moisture and salt), since aluminium reacts with air to form aluminium oxide, an extremely hard coating that seals the aluminium surface from further degradation. In contrast, steel forms rust, which looks ugly and can weaken the structure of the material, and corrosion-resistant coatings for steel, such as zinc, sometimes fail around the edges as years pass.

Vinyl siding is manufactured to resemble wood, brick and stone. Vinyl is flexible except in extremely cold weather, when it becomes brittle. Vinyl siding does not support combustion, but may soften and distort under high temperatures. Maintaining vinyl siding is easy. Maintenance consists of an occasional spray and wash with a hose. Mild detergents can be used. Aluminum, galvanized steel, or other corrosion-resistant nails, staples or screws can be used when installing vinyl siding. Aluminum trim pieces require aluminum or stainless steel fasteners. All fasteners must be able to penetrate a minimum of 3/4-inch (19mm) into framing or furring.

Since plastic siding is a manufactured product, it may come in unlimited color choices. Historically vinyl sidings would fade, crack and buckle over time, requiring the siding to be replaced. However, newer vinyl options have improved and resist damage and wear better. Vinyl siding is sensitive to direct heat from grills, barbecues or other sources. Unlike wood, vinyl siding does not provide additional insulation for the building, unless an insulation material (e.g., foam) has been added to the product. It has also been criticized by some fire safety experts for its heat sensitivity. This sensitivity makes it easier for a house fire to jump to neighboring houses in comparison to materials such as brick or masonry.

The majority of construction with SIPs is very similar to conventional framing. SIPs accept dimensional lumber and are fastened together using staples, nails or screws. Proper sealing is especially crucial in an SIP structure. All joints need to be sealed with specially designed SIP sealing mastic or low-expanding foam sealant, and/or SIP tape. Voids between panels and unused electrical chases need to be filled with low-expanding foam. On-site modification can be easily done. A few additional SIP-specific tools are needed. Panels can be cut using a beam saw or a beam-cutting attachment on a circular saw. The foam core can then be recessed for splines or dimensional lumber using a hot-wire foam scoop or specialized angle-grinder attachment to recess the core.

A wide variety of stucco accessories, such as weep screeds, control and expansion joints, corner-aids and architectural reveals are sometimes also incorporated into the lath. Wire lath is used to give the plaster something to attach to and to add strength. Types include expanded-metal lath, woven-wire lath, and welded-wire lath.

As with any cement-based material, stucco must be reinforced to resist movement cracking. Plastic or wire mesh lath, attached with nails or screws to the structural framing, is embedded into the base coat to provided stiffening for the stucco. One method often used to help conceal the smaller surface cracks that may appear is the application of one of a variety of pre-mixed acrylic finishes. Flexible acrylic finishes have the ability to stretch and bridge over cracks, improving appearance and limiting the passage of moisture behind the stucco.

Clay and slate shingles are most likely to deteriorate because of frost damage and deterioration or failure of the fasteners. The deterioration of the metal flashing around the shingles can also lead to the performance failure of the siding. Clay and slate shingles are heavy, so it is important that the wall structure that supports the material be sound. If water damage has occurred behind the clay or slate siding materials, the evidence of damage may not be readily visible. Once the heavy siding materials start to lose their attachment to the substrate, they will then start to slide, slip, turn and fall. Their condition will then become apparent.

The Barrie Home Inspector is trained to inspect and note any deficiencies pertaining to your homes exterior cladding system. Experience and training allow the home inspector to note details the average home owner may miss. Always use a Professional Home Inspector when purchasing a new home.

Want to find out more about The Barrie Home Inspector, then visit Nathan Pile’s site on how to choose the best Professional WETT Inspections in Barrie, Alliston and Orilliafor all your wood burning needs.

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