Siding Installation & Repair
The cladding or siding of a building defines the look and appeal from an architectural standpoint; however, siding is the protective layer and first defense from the weather. Although the roof shields contents from rain, and gutters drain the rainwater safely away from the home, the siding is the first line of defense from wind driven weather.
For the siding to do its job, the siding itself needs protection form the elements. Some products are inherently designed to weather, others need protective coatings to function. Vinyl siding, pre-finished metal and some composites are pre-treated with UV inhibitors and coatings to protect the material for years, while others such as cement board need a coat of paint applied either before or after installation. The type of product chosen will determine how often and what ongoing maintenance is required.
Most if not all siding materials are installed in sections. This requires that a join be introduced where there is potential for water ingress. Products like shingles and vinyl siding are installed with an overlap to mechanically shield the wall. Others may need special clips or sealants to provide this protection.
Most siding products perform well in normal conditions, however the environment changes with region and by season. Buildings located in exposed areas may need special attention due to strong wind conditions and may limit the material of choice. High wildfire zones may dictate that a fire-rated product be applied.
Few walls are contiguous meaning that most have opening such as windows and doors which interrupt the siding sections. Details applied at wall penetrations is what determines a good siding application from a potentially wet wall. Special care with application of membranes and metal flashings are needed to create a weatherproof seal. Building codes are developed in different regions to address design and application best suited for the local environment.
In regions where moisture is a concern such as the Vancouver area, the siding is often applied away from the wall using a rain screen system. This creates a zone between the siding and exterior wall membrane allowing any rainwater finding its way behind the siding to drain away from the wall and promote evaporation. Many buildings have been identified as “Sick Buildings” where structural walls have become wet and unable to dry. This promotes rot which can be structurally damaging as well as forming mold making the building uninhabitable.
With so many choices today, choosing the right siding for you home can be overwhelming. Consider best value long term within your budget keeping in mind ease of maintenance. Available colors with pre-finished siding will change by supplier and trends, whereas a post finished product can be painted to suit individual taste. Once a product has been determined, review with your installer the important details on how it will be installed. Oversights with installation may not be immediately apparent until exposure to the elements has taken its toll. Good workmanship should be readily apparent by the look and careful attention to flashings and board work. Qualified crews possess good tools, a good attitude and maintain a clean work environment.