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Special Report 09: Interviews with siding contractors - Electronic Edition

Special Report 09: Interviews with siding contractors - Electronic Edition
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Author: Mark A. Smith

[This is the Special Report 09 in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Format. Our electronic products download immediately to your computer upon purchase.]

What the tradesmen say it takes to give your house a beautiful exterior. We are proud of our distinctive colonial-look siding, but we had to talk with the experts at length to be able to make the right choices. Six pages, revised and updated with new reader tips, web links and comments.

Topics Include:

  • Sheathing choices,sources and prices
  • HardiPlank, HardiBoard, HardiPanel
  • Finding an economical brickmason
  • Cultured stone
  • DIY rock siding
  • Stucco stone
  • Soffit, fascia, rain gutter and trim

Excerpt from Report:

"...Q: What do you suggest for a good job?

A: There are three grades, we use the better grade all the time. Less warpage. Proper installation, allow for the movement, proper installation. We don't do soffit and fascia in aluminum. Gutter is continuous metal.

A: A little forethought. How you lap, screws on exposed fasteners. We hand nail the siding, but soffit and fascia, we use screws. We started this ten years ago. If the framing is good, ripples, or 'oilcanning' comes from nailing vinyl too tight. Needs to float.

A: Attention to detail, The way the J. channel is cut around the windows, corner posts that are straight, siding matching up around all the corners. Much depends on the framing.

A: Quality. Way it's installed, craftsmanship, and the product. We use a thicker material for fascia, a triple four soffit, which has another groove in it, and for siding we use the best material out there. Heartland. Top of the line. Rated No. 1 by the builders. But not expensive. Not co-extruded, pure vinyl all the way through. It's .044 thick. Almost an eighth of an inch thick. Ripples are because it's not level, and because it's not pure vinyl. Seams - make them tight, and away from frontal view of the home.

A: Like it was your own house. Proper thought process. Pride in your work. Framers often make mistakes. Then it compounds."...

Sample Reader Tip Excerpts:

"I checked into house kits, and I liked Idaho Precut Homes. It comes panelized, high quality, 2x6, windows already installed, the only thing you have to worry about is having your floor in, and have a roofer to shingle the roof. Even the interior walls come prepanelized, except that you need the drywallers to come. Doors are pre-hung. Has siding. Crane lifts and sets it, and you need your crew there to tie it in. Check on the Web. You can get a 1,500 s.f. house for $23,000. Real stick-built house."
Carolyn & Albert F.
Winston-Salem, NC

"Looking to a modular house. Doing full research on that. Range of prices is tremendous. Next best thing to site-built. Can build for $30 a foot. Doesn?t include site clearing and foundation. They bring it in, and it?s 90% done. They bolt together in day. You just have to paint and side it, and bring in utilities. Some of them come half-sided. Some have radiant heating. Timber framed homes fascinate me. Looking for modular and timber frame combination. They can substitute microlam beams to get larger spans. Their most expensive house is $42 a foot. Lowest is $32."
Mark K.
Old Bridge, NJ

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