Going from drab to fab
Roofing and siding give a home ‘personality’By Damaine Vonada
If you have any doubt about how much roofing and siding affect your home’s appearance, ask some kindergartners to draw a house. They always delineate the roof and exterior walls first, then complete the picture with doors, windows and a big smiling sun.
That’s a real lesson in the basics of rejuvenating a house. “Get the right combination of exterior products, and you’ll turn an average-looking house into something stunning,” says CertainTeed Corporation spokesperson Mike Loughery.
Headquartered in Pennsylvania, CertainTeed supplies building materials worldwide, but it began as an asphalt roofing manufacturer more than a century ago. “Roofing is still CertainTeed’s biggest business and core expertise,” Loughery says.
CertainTeed has developed a wide variety of roofing products. “Our Landmark architectural shingles are the workhorse of the residential roofing industry,” says Loughery. “They mimic wood shakes and slate at a fraction of the cost and maintenance.” Other roofing collections include Patriot Shingles, which feature blended colors and natural-looking shadows.
Likewise, CertainTeed produces vinyl siding such as Monogram, which comes in some 40 colors and wood tones. Launched just this year, Cedar Impressions Sawmill Shingles feature a spectrum of shades that replicate the various stages of aging wood.
Fiber cement siding presents another option for homeowners who want a realistic wood look without wood’s maintenance issues. “The advantage of fiber cement is that it won’t melt or burn and lasts forever,” says Tom Anderson, sales and marketing coordinator for Allura, a Houston-based fiber cement siding manufacturer. “Insurance companies rate it like brick or stone, which means a better rate on your homeowner’s policy.”
A composite consisting primarily of cement, cellulose fibers and silica, fiber cement siding is a favorite in neighborhoods where covenants ban vinyl. “It has great strength and flexibility, and because its wood grain is embossed, the siding looks very natural,” says Anderson.
Allura’s latest product is decking that extends fiber cement’s benefits to the front porch or backyard. “Allura’s fiber cement decking won’t rot, chip or fade,” says Anderson. “If you want a fire pit in your deck, you can have it because the planks don’t burn.”
Also burn-proof are the products made by North Dakota’s ABC Seamless. The company pioneered seamless steel siding in the 1970s, and many homeowners consider siding a permanent solution to the problem of failing siding and shingles.
Made of heavy-gauge steel with a finish that never needs repainting, the company’s metal siding is cut to fit each house precisely and installed without random splicing. “People like the look of seamless siding because it’s clean and straight,” says advertising director Dale Gilbraith. “There are no cracks to trap dirt, leak moisture, or admit insects that can damage a home.” Design options include horizontal siding, vertical board and batten, or simulated log siding.
ABC Seamless also makes roofing with the same qualities and advantages as its siding. “It’s screwed on and wind-tested up to 160 mph. That’s equal to an EF-3 tornado,” says Gilbraith.
Although most manufacturers offer Web-based visualization aids or visually oriented mobile apps, Loughery encourages people to visit dealers’ showrooms to see materials up close before finalizing their decisions.
“Twenty-five years ago,” he notes, “roofing was just about protection. Now it’s about adding character and personality to a home.”