A division of SEA Construction, Inc.

Think Again!

Posted by Petalyn Swartalbert

Nov 11, 2011

 

Petalyn Swart Albert

In My Opinion By:

Petalyn Swart Albert

At the risk of wounding my pride a little, I want to be candid with you regarding my experience with exterior siding. If you mentioned the word 'siding' to me a year ago, I would have grimaced at the mental-visual of boxy homes clad in vinyl. The very thought makes me want to turn tail and run... anywhere! What's embarrassing about this is I've had deep exposure to the design and custom building industries all my life and still, the correct default definition of siding never reached my attention.

Since then, of course, I've discovered that siding is simply the term used for the outer-most, protective material on the exterior surface on building structures. It refers to everything from stone to mud; metal to fiber-cement; and yes ...even the "I'm clearly not wood but I'm pretending to fool you..." vinyl option.

I think the word vinyl took hold as an unfortunate suburban synonym for siding in the 50's when it entered the market as a durable, low maintenance alternative to wood. But just because A= B doesn't mean that B= A. Siding most often does not equal vinyl (thank goodness!); a fact that seems elementary now. But in my feeble defense, who thinks about siding until they need it?

(Download a free Homeowners Guide to Siding)

 And Then the Clouds Parted

N Gulfport 4 resized 600When James Hardie came to S.E.A. Construction and asked us to consider becoming a premium installer for their fiber-cement products, I shuddered. Since I'm not bashful about my biases, my reservations were likely palpable when we met with Hardie representative, Josh Miller.

We were into the meeting just 20 minutes and those serotonin filledAh-ha's that expand narrow minds began to explode-like New Years Eve fireworks. I had'nt ever heard of fiber-cement before, but I learned that it doesn't need much care for 30+ years, has a warranty against failure due to material defects for equally as long, AND it looks fantastic -even to my super-doper critical eye. But what clinched it for me personally, is that Hardie pro actively invested it's decades of experience into Research and development and continues to do that today.

I was in love! The idea of being able to buy an absolutely beautiful product like Artisan and not have to worry about it for thirty years means it's a big maintenance item off my list till I'm either dead or my eye-sight is too far gone to see the wear. That's three decades of not needing to think about wood-boring insects, woodpeckers, weather, or cracking. All of a sudden I don't have to feel guilty about using trees to side my house, and all that swelling and shrinkage with the changing of seasons need never be a concern. This wonderful lightness of beingfeeling must have been how people felt when vinyl siding first came out as the new wonder product. It was impervious, low maintenance and the fact that it buckles in extreme heat or sun exposure, is toxic when burning, and looks like... well, vinyl, didn't matter. Life would be easier with it.

(Evaluate more pros and cons of different siding material.)

Fiber Cement is to Me what Duct Tape is to Dexter Morgan

us IMG0488 resized 600Now the new kid on the siding-innovation-block is fiber cement -except that it isn't a new kid. It first came about as a replacement for the widely used "Asbestos Cement Sheeting" product manufactured by James Hardie until the late 1980s. Shocking, isn't it? But nobody knew about the dangers of asbestos back then, and Hardie has become the most recognized and respected manufacturer of fiber cement products ever since.

When I get to meet a group of young, smart, and visionary people from a company with a commitment to a strong ethic of quality, and who back their products with equal commitment, I feel inspired. All of a sudden I'm excited about siding. Actually, I'm really excited about their so-called luxury siding profiles branded as Artisan. This particular product look thoroughly rich! I would put it on my home in a heartbeat.

So, on an ironic personal note, I've gone from cringing at the very mention of siding, to zealously advocating the possibilities of another man made wonder -fiber-cement. I'm absolutely smitten by everything from the aesthetics to the advantages of this material. And of course, it's still just SIDING after all. I mean, that's like saying you're excited to the point of swooning over duct-tape. Who gets excited about duct-tape except maybeDexter Morgan? Alright, I'm kidding about the duct-tape. Duct-tape is an amazingly versatile product to be sure, but that's the thing; who'd know it unless they needed to?

Drop Peninsula Siding Company a line with a question, anytime.

 

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Steven and Petalyn Albert

S.E.A. & Peninsula Siding

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