Exterior cladding choices for the Midwest are getting better all the time. Being in a climate zone that must be able to handle weather extremes in temperatures and moisture levels makes it even more important that we do proper installation of proven exterior cladding materials. We have done our own research and will recommend solid products based on your needs for longevity and budget. If you are ready for a new look to freshen up your curb appeal like adding a porch or stone features, we offer design services which can maximize your investment. The most common siding options are listed below. Give us a call to further discuss any of these options for your home or light industrial building.
Fiber cement made out of wood pulp and Portland cement has the magic properties to make it one of the most resilient exterior cladding materials available. It’s considered an economical choice when put in the context of longevity; resistance to termites, rot, and fire; and minimal maintenance. With the style options available, designs can be customized with the range of the widths of boards available for horizontal and vertical (i.e. board and batten look) as well as the ones that look like cedar shakes, stone and brick.
AMEK regularly uses James Hardie HardiPlank on its projects. Backed with a 30-year non-prorated warranty, HardiPlank can come pre-painted from the factory or can be painted on-site. Because of the stability of this siding, painting does not need to be done very often (15 or more years rather than every 3-5 years).
Nichiha is another brand of fiber cement exterior cladding known for its textured siding and wall panels. Designers and clients also like Nichiha’s offerings for wood-looking shakes and siding as well as its brick, stucco and stone.
Siding created from engineered wood is superior to natural wood because it is stronger and longer-lasting. Engineered wood which is created from a blend of wood and resin products also reduces the amount of trees needed to create siding so it’s considered an eco-friendly choice. Other advantages are reduced maintenance and the longer lengths decreasing the number of seams on a project.
One of our main sources for engineered wood is LP SmartSide which has been tested to handle high levels of moisture and resist termites. In addition, it is more impact resistant against such things as balls and rocks. LP SmartSide comes in a smooth or cedar grain, vertical panels, and cedar grain texture shakes along with various trim pieces. LP SmartSide has a 5-year labor replacement and prorated 50-Year Limited Warranty.
Vinyl is a well-known siding material since it comes in wide range of colors, lasts a long time, and is an economical choice. Vinyl is available is range of profiles and is virtually maintenance-free. Today’s vinyl has even better color saturation and retention plus better durability making it a solid siding selection material.
AMEK works with several manufacturers for vinyl siding. Two of our favorites are Mastic and CertainTeed. Mastic offers 12 different versions of lap siding featuring various widths, shadow lines, and textures. With 35 possible color selections all tested to resist fading, Mastic also offers lots of possibilities for matching trim and gutter systems. Other Mastic considerations are insulated siding, vertical siding and shakes. CertainTeed is a recognized name in the exterior cladding business and has a Lifetime Limited Warranty on its siding products such as clap board, Dutchlap, board and batten, and beaded. Some clients like the Sawmill Shingles which are 5-inch, 6-inch or 7-inch single pieces creating the look of cedar shakes without the worry of rot or replacement. CertainTeed carries all the needed trim and soffit pieces along with railings for decks and stairs.
Brick & Stone
Brick and stone exteriors have the advantages of adding depth, perceived value, and longevity. With the range of colors and textures available, they add a lot of character to homes whether it’s a rustic feeling to something reflecting a particular time period. Because they are resistant to insects, fire and moisture brick and stone are considered favored materials for homeowners nationwide. A downside is the cost due to the materials and talented labored required. An intermediate idea is doing a brick veneer which is a thin slice applied to the side of the house which is more efficient and cost effective, but with similar beautiful appearance. One of the keys is find a qualified installer like AMEK to make sure brick and stone are installed correctly around windows, doors and decks to avoid any construction defects in the walls.
Stucco is known as a maintenance-free exterior cladding – if it is applied correctly. When the stucco layers are not installed properly with a designated breathing space and integrated well with windows, doors and deck edges; you will likely get water intrusion issue which can cause your walls to rot behind the stucco, causing a construction defect. Installed correctly, stucco can last 50 to 70 years with minimal upkeep making it an ideal long-term choice.
APEX, a popular fiberglass siding, was discontinued as of May 2015.
With its beautiful, warm earthy appeal, cedar maintains its lure for some homeowners. Cedar has good insulating characteristics and it can last for a long time if kept clean and is checked regularly for holes caused by termites and woodpeckers and for rot caused by moisture. Cedar is eco-friendly since it’s entirely biodegradable once its lifespan is done. The higher cost and limited availability of quality natural cedar shakes due to restrictions on harvesting are making cedar shakes more of premium product. For this reason, clients sometimes mix cedar with other siding types to create accents and texture to their homes.
Insurance rates vary with different types of siding based on fire and wind resistance as well as longevity. It may be worthwhile to talk to your agent to find out how your rates might be impacted by various exterior cladding materials you are considering.