Tag: pennsylvania siding

  • How to Clean Vinyl Siding

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    Though vinyl siding can weather a lot, it is a good idea to routinely clean it to make sure it lasts.

    According to BobVila.com, "Because it is an exterior product, vinyl siding can accumulate a host of dirt, grime, and stains on account of things like pollen, bird and insect droppings, spider webs and rust."

    You're in luck because it is quite simple to clean vinyl siding.  According to the Vinyl Siding Institute via BobVila.com, "the best way is to use a soft cloth or an ordinary long-handled, soft-bristle brush."  To prevent streaks, wirk from the bottom to the top and thoroughly rinse any cleaning solution as you work.

    Here are some effective cleaning solution options you can use, courtesy of BobVila.com:

    • 70% water, 30% white vinegar makes a great all-purpose cleanser that removes light mold and mildew stains.
    • For a stronger solution, mix together one-third cup powdered laundry detergent, two-thirds cup powdered household cleaner, one quart liquid laundry bleach and one gallon of water.
    • If you are concerned about landscaping, use a solution comprised of one gallon of water mixed with one cup oxygen bleach in a bucket. The oxygen bleach will clean the vinyl without damaging your landscaping.
    • Simple Green offers an environmentally friendly cleaner that is specially formulated for use on vinyl and aluminum siding, stucco, terra cotta roof tiles and painted wood. The non-toxic biodegradable concentrate can be used manually or with pressure washers.
    • General household cleansers (e.g., Fantastik, Murphy’s Oil Soap, Windex and Lysol) can be used on tough dirt and stains, including those created by top soil, grass, grease, oil, rust, crayon, ink and bubble gum. Rust stains may be removed using products designed for this purpose (e.g., Super Iron Out and Instant Rust Out).
    • Another effective way to clean vinyl siding is by using a pressure washer, although some manufacturers advise against it, and other manufacturers recommend a limited amount of pressure. If using a pressure washer, be sure to keep the stream at eye level and pointed straight at the siding, not at an angle. That way, you won’t drive water in behind the siding. Use caution when using a pressure washer around openings like windows, doors, and plumbing connections.

    Don't use products that contain organic cleaning solvents, undiluted chlorine bleach, nail polish remover, liquid grease remover, or furniture polishes or cleaners, as they might damage the siding's surface.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your vinyl siding, exterior siding, siding repair, and siding installation needs. Call us today at 215.453.9180 for your FREE estimate.

  • Exterior Remodeling 'Value' on Upswing

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    If you have been working on home improvement projects recently, you will be glad to hear the ROI is coming back up when it comes to home remodeling.

    There have been tax benefits for homeowners, most notably energy tax credits, PMI deduction and mortgage debt forgiveness that Congress and the President extended through 2013.

    According to HouseLogic,"After several bruising years, spending on remodeling projects is up and so too is your return on your remodeling dollars. The national average percentage recoup on all 35 projects in Remodeling Magazine’s 2013 Cost vs. Value Report rose since last year."

    Obviously what you will be able to get depends on what types of projects you undertake, your market and when you decide to sell.

    Which projects offered the best ROI? Exterior remodeling projects.

    According to HouseLogic, "Exterior projects like siding, window, and garage door replacements took seven of the top 10 spots in this year’s list."

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your exterior remodeling, roof repair, window installation and deck construction needs.  Call us today at (215) 453-9180 for your FREE estimate.

     

  • How to Care For Pennsylvania Brick Siding

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    Brick has been, and still is a popular building material.  The fact that it's energy efficient and it looks nice doesn't hurt either.

    It is important to know how to care for your pennsylvania brick siding because how you maintain it will greatly affect its longevity.  Here are some tips from Bob Vila on how to keep your brick looking nice:

    The least aggressive approach should be your first plan of action when it comes to cleaning brick. Just like soiled clothing, different types of dirt on your home's exterior will require a different cleaning agent. Once a year use a garden hose, with a spray nozzle, or a spray bottle to remove any loose dirt.

    If a particular side of your home receives little to no sunlight and the nearby vegetation is damp, be on the lookout for moss, mold, or mildew growth. A solution of one cup of bleach mixed with a gallon of water can be applied with a scrub brush can be used to clean most problem areas. Use a natural or synthetic bristle brush — wire brushes leave traces of steel behind that will rust and discolor the bricks. Before applying a bleach solution to brick, give the area a thorough soaking. This will help prevent the brick from absorbing the bleach.

    Avoiding Water Damage 
    Water damage is caused by one of two conditions: splash back or rising damp. In splash back, the continually of rain beating against the brick soaks into the mortar, causing the mortar joints or the bricks to crack. Rising damp results when ground water seeps up from below, leaving behind what is called a tide line. The moisture above the tide line will eventually evaporate, but the salt crystals that remain will, over time, cause the bricks and mortar to break down. Freezing and thawing cycles can accelerate damage to water-soaked brick, so repairing problems early will prevent more extensive repairs in the future. Look for water damage on an annual basis, and budget for some possible repointing every five to ten years.

    Repointing 
    Repointing is necessary in places where the mortar joints have become soft or the mortar itself is cracked or damaged. The damaged mortar is removed carefully so as not to disturb the surrounding brickwork. Fresh mortar is applied in layers. When repointing, the depth of the new mortar should be twice the width of the mortar joint. Mortar applied directly to the damaged surface will not hold up.

    Owners of historic or older homes will want to make sure that the fresh mortar matches the original. Acontractor will take a sample of the mortar, crush it, and dissolve it in acid. This process removes the binder and leaves behind the sand aggregate, making it easier to identify the proper shade.

    Paint Removal
    Painting a brick facade was first in vogue in the early 1800's. Removing that paint can be a painstaking process. Chemical treatments work best for paint removal, and are best left to professionals. Sandblasting should never be the remedy for paint removal, as it causes lasting damage to the beauty and integrity of brick. The remaining brick will be rough in texture, and since sandblasting removes the kiln-hardened outer fire-skin of the brick, it will become more susceptible to dirt build-up and moisture penetration. This is especially true of bricks made before the turn of the century.

    Aggressive treatments, like chemical applications used to remove chalk, calcium carbonate, and rust, are best left to a professional. Chemicals must be spot tested in various concentrations. Too high of a concentration can etch the surface of the brick, damage window glass, or cause discoloration.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your Pennsylvania Brick Siding, exterior siding, and siding repair needs.  Call us today at (215) 453-9180 for your FREE estimate!

  • Projects to Add the Most Value to Your Home

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    HouseLogic did a photo slideshow recently on the home projects that will add the most value to your home.  not surprisingly, most of these projects involve your home's exterior siding, windows and entryways.

    Here are some of the projects they mentioned and how they will add value to your home:

    Vinyl Siding

    Famous for its durability and reasonable price, lightweight vinyl siding also is easy to install, which cuts labor costs. Manufacturers keep coming up with new colors that won’t fade, so there are more choices than ever. Good-quality vinyl siding will last 30 years or more.

    National average cost: $11,192
    Value at resale: $8,154
    Percent of investment recouped: 72.9%

    Fiber-Cement Siding

    Fiber-cement siding is a popular choice for replacement siding. Although its initial price is higher than many other types of siding (it’s heavy and labor-intensive to install), the durability and stability of fiber-cement means less maintenance in the long run. It takes paint well, so you can have your choice of exterior paint colors. It’s also fireproof and rot-resistant.

    National average cost: $13,083
    Value at resale: $10,379
    Percent of investment recouped: 79.3%

    Steel Entry Door

    Replacing an older entry door with a new steel model is the most cost-effective project in the 2013 Cost vs. Value Report. A steel door costs less than half of a similar fiberglass door. The steel outer layer is susceptible to denting; a brass kickplate (shown) helps protect the door from accidental dings.

    National average cost: $1,137
    Value at resale: $974
    Percent of investment recouped: 85.6%

    Wood Deck

    A deck is a cost-effective way to increase your living space and is a great way to enjoy the outdoors when the weather is nice. A simple deck using pressure-treated lumber is a good DIY project and saves up to 50% of a professionally built deck. Clean and seal your deck annually to keep it in great shape.

    National average cost: $9,327 (professionally built)
    Value at resale: $7,213
    Percent of investment recouped: 77.3%

    Wood Replacement Windows

    Swapping out older, leaky windows for new wood replacement windows is a style upgrade that saves energy. The Efficient Windows Collaborative says you’ll save up to $450 per year if you switch out single-pane windows for new double-pane windows in a 2,150-sq.-ft. house. Not in the market for new? Inexpensive weather stripping will keep out the drafts.

    National average cost: $10,708 (10 replacements)
    Value at resale: $7,852
    Percent of investment recouped: 73.3%

    Want to add more value to your home? Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your exterior siding, window replacement, and deck repair needs.  Call us today at (215) 453-9180 for your FREE estimate.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • One Quarter of Home DIYers Get Injured

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    According to a survey by the National Safety Council and 3M TEKK Protection, 26% of home owners who have completed a home DIY project reported injuries to themselves or someone else in the household during a home maintenance project.

    And, many DIYers don't take the proper precautions before starting a project.  According to HouseLogic, "Among those who sustained personal injuries, 41% say they weren’t wearing personal protection gear when they were injured, even though what they needed was right at their fingertips."

    And it's actually not the more challenging projects that are causing these injuries. According to HouseLogic:

    • One in two (50%) who were personally injured taking on a home improvement project got hurt doing basic yard maintenance
    • Nearly one in four (24%) were put on the injured list while painting the inside of their homes
    • And nearly one in five (17%) blame routine home maintenance projects for their injuries

    Here are some more stats, courtesy of HouseLogic on home DIY injury statistics, and how to not become one of them.

    Seeing is believing

    When it comes to protecting themselves, nearly three out of four (72%) home owners are concerned with injuring their eyes when doing home improvement projects. Yet when it comes to protecting themselves during yard maintenance projects, only 39% are adamant about wearing protective eyewear and 62% falsely believe that sunglasses will guard them from injury while doing work like mowing or weed whacking.

    Protection is important to keep your eyes safe from projectiles and contaminants when working on home improvement projects like using a lawnmower, sanding, painting, or fertilizing. The blade of a power mower can reach a speed of 200 miles per hour and can hurl objects just as fast, turning rocks and twigs into dangerous projectiles.

    Breathe easy

    Although nearly half (49%) of DIYers worry about injuring their respiratory system, less than two in five (39%) are consistent about protecting their air ways and lungs when working on home improvement projects.

    It’s important to wear a NIOSH-approved respirator when tackling routine projects like clearing lawn debris, sanding walls, or spraying paint.

    Hear here

    And when it comes to hearing protection, nearly half (47%) of those who work with loud or high-decibel equipment, such as lawnmowers or power tools, don’t wear any type of proper hearing protection, even though continued exposure can lead to hearing loss over the long term.

    Hearing protection is recommended for continual exposure to anything over 85 decibels. Noise levels generated by mowers and chainsaws can range from 90-110 decibels.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your pennsylvania siding, roofing, gutter, and deck projects. Call us today at 215-453-9180 for your FREE estimate.

  • Sustainable Green Siding Options for Your Home

    Courtesy of House Logic

    Courtesy of House Logic

    Not all green siding costs a lot of money.  There are many sustainable siding materials that are familiar and have been on the market for years.  Some green siding is made from recycled materials, while others have good insulating qualities.

    Here are some tips on how to evaluate green siding, courtesy of House Logic:

    Evaluate sustainability

    When choosing siding, consider its sustainability. Sustainability is an estimate of how long a material will last; if the material can be recycled; if it contributes to health concerns; and if it’ll readily biodegrade in a landfill. Maintenance, too, is a key consideration. High-maintenance materials that require regular upkeep, such as repainting, and use additional resources and energy over their lifecycle, are less sustainable.

    Improve energy performance

    A siding replacement project offers an excellent opportunity to boost your home’s energy performance and make your house healthier. Adding a house wrap (which prevents water infiltration and air leaks) and rigid-foam insulation is one of the best ways to reduce energy consumption and protect your home from moisture condensation inside walls—a major source of mold problems—no matter what type of siding you choose.

    Adding insulation increases R-value—a measure of insulation performance. A house with 3-1/2-inch stud walls filled with fiberglass insulation has an R-value of about R-12. Adding rigid foam and house wrap can boost insulating performance to between R-16 to R-20, reducing your annual energy costs 5% or more.

    Costs of green

    Siding replacement has proven value. A siding replacement project using foam-backed vinyl siding returns about 70% of its initial cost at resale, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report — one of the higher returns listed in the annual survey.

    Because many types of siding are extremely long-lasting, they can be considered green options, but without a premium price. However, improving thermal performance—and, therefore, boosting the siding’s greenness—with house wrap and rigid-foam insulation adds cost—about $1,800 for an average house, according to Fine Homebuilding magazine. Many green consumers feel that contributing to a healthier, sustainable environment is more important than higher initial costs.

    House wrap

    House wrap is a thin, tough, semi-permeable membrane that’s applied over the outside of wall sheathing and under the siding. It’s designed to block water and reduce air infiltration while allowing moisture vapor to pass through.

    Sustainability: Extremely durable and long-lasting, this flexible, plastic material is recyclable.

    Energy efficiency: Using house wrap, along with properly sealed joints at windows and doors, can reduce air infiltration and save on annual energy bills. Some varieties, such as DuPont’s Tyvek ThermaWrap and Low-E Housewrap from Environmentally Safe Products include heat-reflective layers that increase insulation performance by a factor of R-2.

    Cost: 25 cents to 50 cents per sq. ft., installed

    Rigid-foam sheathing

    Rigid-foam sheathing is lightweight, easy to apply, and comes in a variety of thicknesses. Unlike fiberglass insulation, which fits between studs, sheathing blankets the entire exterior wall. It can be applied directly over existing wall materials, such as hardboard, stucco, and wood, providing a smooth substrate for new siding.

    Sustainability: The manufacture of extruded polystyrene (XPS) sheathing is associated with the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which damage the ozone layer, although some manufacturers are researching CFC-free production methods. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam sheathing doesn’t produce CFCs and is considered environmentally friendly. EPS can be recycled but doesn’t degrade readily in landfills.

    Energy efficiency: Insulating values of R-3 to R-7 per inch thickness.

    Cost: 20 cents-$1 per sq. ft., depending on thickness and thermal performance.

    Insulated vinyl siding 

    Insulated vinyl is similar to regular vinyl siding, except it includes a layer of EPS foam insulation. Its thickness makes it more rigid and easier to work with than regular vinyl.

    Sustainability: Vinyl requires little maintenance and will last 30 to 50 years, but it’s made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a chemical compound that doesn’t degrade in landfills. During manufacturing, PVC produces byproducts that include dioxin. Vinyl siding can be recycled.

    Energy efficiency:  Adds approximately R-3 to walls

    Cost: $3-$8 per sq. ft., installed; 15-30% more expensive than regular vinyl

    Fiber-cement siding 

    Fiber-cement siding is a low-maintenance product made from sand, Portland cement, clay, and wood pulp fibers. It’s termite-proof, fire-resistant, and doesn’t rot.

    Sustainability: Extremely durable and long-lasting, it’s available with low-maintenance finishes that last for decades. But fiber-cement carries high embedded energy—the energy necessary to fire the kilns that heat its raw materials. Any energy expended toward a material adds to its carbon footprint. The newest varieties are lighter and include more recycled material.

    Energy efficiency: Negligible R-value, but its superior stability helps keep the building envelope free of cracks and caulk failures.

    Cost: $5-$9 per sq. ft., installed

    Wood

    Unmatched beauty makes wood a premier choice for siding.

    Sustainability: Although a precious natural resource, wood is a renewable product that can be recycled and readily degrades in landfills. To ensure the wood products you buy are harvested from sustainable, managed forests, look for certification stamps from the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and the SFI (Sustainable Forest Initiative). Wood siding is a high-maintenance siding that requires refinishing every two to five years.

    Energy performance: Wood is a natural insulator, but as a siding it offers a minimal R-value of about R-1.

    Cost: $6-$9 per sq. ft., installed

    Stucco

    Traditional stucco is made from sand and Portland cement mixed with water to make a workable plaster. Modern stucco often includes epoxies to harden the material. It’s tough, durable, and resistant to insects and fire. Well-maintained stucco will last for the life of the house.

    Sustainability: Eco-friendly varieties of stucco are made with an earth-and-lime mixture instead of Portland cement and epoxy, reducing the embedded energy and CO2 emissions associated with cement production. Painted stucco requires periodic touch-ups and repainting every 5-7 years.

    Energy performance: Negligible thermal performance, but effective at reducing air infiltration while remaining permeable to moisture vapor.

    Cost: $6-$9 per sq. ft., installed

    Engineered wood

    Engineered wood products are made from wood fibers, resins, and wax. They’re pressed in molds to create panels resembling real wood lap siding and shingles.

    Sustainability: The high wood waste content of engineered siding boosts its sustainability factor. Engineered siding comes with baked-on factory finishes that reduce maintenance, but warranties of about 20 years are less than for other types. It easily biodegrades in landfills.

    Energy performance: Negligible

    Cost: About $2-$4 per sq. ft., installed

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your pennsylvania siding, siding repair, siding installation and siding inspections needs. Call us today at 215-453-9180 for your FREE Estimate!

  • New Year's Resolutions for Your Home

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    Now that 2013 is almost here, discussion about New Year's resolutions and top-10 lists are right around the corner.  While you probably have more personal resolutions,  you can make the same type of resolutions for your home.

    Here is a list of New Year's resolutions, courtesy of House Logic, that are based on the top 10 resolutions gathered by Time magazine.

     

    1. Lose weight (cut energy use)
    2. Quit smoking (purify indoor air)
    3. Get out of debt (budget for improvements)
    4. Learn something new (educate yourself on home finances)
    5. Get organized (de-clutter)
    6. Volunteer (support your community)
    7. Drink less (curb home water use)
    8. Spend more time with the family (share home improvement projects)
    9. Get fit (exercise your DIY skills)
    10. Be less stressed (use maintenance-free materials)

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your pennsylvania roofing, siding, gutter repair and window needs. Call us today at 215-453-9180 for your FREE estimate.

     

  • Preparing Your Home for Winter

    Courtesy of Yahoo! Homes

    When cold weather hits, it's important to bundle up your home.  Here are some tips via Yahoo! Homes to prepare your house for the winter and keep your home cozy:

    Windows and doors

    If you've ever worn a thin shirt when cold winds were whipping around outdoors, you know that you're going to get sick if you don't cover up with a jacket. The same is true for your home. If we think of your home's exterior as clothing, windows and doors are like a thin shirt; they are sensitive areas that can easily be affected by the cold and cause the entire house to suffer.

    Sealing your doors and windows can be the best solution to preventing cold weather damages to your home. Doors and windows that have problems with air leaks can cause wood rot, increase energy bills, and be a catalyst for mold and mildew growth. How do you know if your home has air leaks? Turn off your heating system, close all the doors and windows tight, and turn on an air vent in the kitchen or bathroom; then light an incense stick and waft the smoke around the inside of your suspect windows and doors. Where the smoke from the incense begins to blow, you've got an air leak. Solve this problem by sealing the exterior and interior of the window or door frame with a paintable or appropriately colored latex caulk.

    Roofing

    From ice dams to snow mounds, winter weather can severely affect a shingle roof that is unprepared against the cold. If your shingle roof is more than eight years old, you should have it inspected by a professional shingle repair expert during the fall before the cold has a chance to affect it. Damaged shingles, poor attic ventilation, and decaying sealants can all create roof leaks that might not become visible until severe and costly damages have already taken place.

    Exterior walls, soffit, and fascia

    Gutters, soffit, siding, and fascia are all exterior elements of a home that are affected by wet and cold winters. Be sure to have your gutters cleaned thoroughly to prevent roof leaks or ice dams. Soffit and fascia should be given the once over and repaired when damages are visible. Soffit damages can increase heating bills and allow cold air to enter the attic, ensuring ice dams and damaged roof shingles. Don't forget to check your siding and have a professional painter seal and paint any damaged siding areas to prevent rot, mold, and high energy bills.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your window repair, siding repair and roof repair needs. Call us today at (215) 773-9181 for your FREE estimate!

  • Types of Green Siding For Your Home

    Courtesy of HouseLogic

    If you are thinking of investing in siding, you may want to consider green options.  According to HouseLogic "Many of the best sustainable choices are familiar materials that have been on the market for years."  A few of these products are comprised of recycled components and they don't increase your siding price by that much. Here is an overview of different green siding options, courtesy of HouseLogic so you can look at the pros and cons and figure out what works for you.

     

    Evaluate sustainability

    When choosing siding, consider its sustainability. Sustainability is an estimate of how long a material will last; if the material can be recycled; if it contributes to health concerns; and if it’ll readily biodegrade in a landfill. Maintenance, too, is a key consideration. High-maintenance materials that require regular upkeep, such as repainting, and use additional resources and energy over their lifecycle, are less sustainable.

    Improve energy performance

    A siding replacement project offers an excellent opportunity to boost your home’s energy performance and make your house healthier. Adding a house wrap (which prevents water infiltration and air leaks) and rigid-foam insulation is one of the best ways to reduce energy consumption and protect your home from moisture condensation inside walls—a major source of mold problems—no matter what type of siding you choose.

    Adding insulation increases R-value—a measure of insulation performance. A house with 3-1/2-inch stud walls filled with fiberglass insulation has an R-value of about R-12. Adding rigid foam and house wrap can boost insulating performance to between R-16 to R-20, reducing your annual energy costs 5% or more.

    Costs of green

    Siding replacement has proven value. A siding replacement project using foam-backed vinyl siding returns about 70% of its initial cost at resale, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report — one of the higher returns listed in the annual survey.

    Because many types of siding are extremely long-lasting, they can be considered green options, but without a premium price. However, improving thermal performance—and, therefore, boosting the siding’s greenness—with house wrap and rigid-foam insulation adds cost—about $1,800 for an average house, according to Fine Homebuilding magazine. Many green consumers feel that contributing to a healthier, sustainable environment is more important than higher initial costs.

    House wrap

    House wrap is a thin, tough, semi-permeable membrane that’s applied over the outside of wall sheathing and under the siding. It’s designed to block water and reduce air infiltration while allowing moisture vapor to pass through.

    Sustainability: Extremely durable and long-lasting, this flexible, plastic material is recyclable.

    Energy efficiency: Using house wrap, along with properly sealed joints at windows and doors, can reduce air infiltration and save on annual energy bills. Some varieties, such as DuPont’s Tyvek ThermaWrap and Low-E Housewrap from Environmentally Safe Products include heat-reflective layers that increase insulation performance by a factor of R-2.

    Cost: 25 cents to 50 cents per sq. ft., installed

    Rigid-foam sheathing

    Rigid-foam sheathing is lightweight, easy to apply, and comes in a variety of thicknesses. Unlike fiberglass insulation, which fits between studs, sheathing blankets the entire exterior wall. It can be applied directly over existing wall materials, such as hardboard, stucco, and wood, providing a smooth substrate for new siding.

    Sustainability: The manufacture of extruded polystyrene (XPS) sheathing is associated with the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which damage the ozone layer, although some manufacturers are researching CFC-free production methods. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam sheathing doesn’t produce CFCs and is considered environmentally friendly. EPS can be recycled but doesn’t degrade readily in landfills.

    Energy efficiency: Insulating values of R-3 to R-7 per inch thickness.

    Cost: 20 cents-$1 per sq. ft., depending on thickness and thermal performance.

    Insulated vinyl siding 

    Insulated vinyl is similar to regular vinyl siding, except it includes a layer of EPS foam insulation. Its thickness makes it more rigid and easier to work with than regular vinyl.

    Sustainability: Vinyl requires little maintenance and will last 30 to 50 years, but it’s made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a chemical compound that doesn’t degrade in landfills. During manufacturing, PVC produces byproducts that include dioxin. Vinyl siding can be recycled.

    Energy efficiency:  Adds approximately R-3 to walls

    Cost: $3-$8 per sq. ft., installed; 15-30% more expensive than regular vinyl

    Fiber-cement siding 

    Fiber-cement siding is a low-maintenance product made from sand, Portland cement, clay, and wood pulp fibers. It’s termite-proof, fire-resistant, and doesn’t rot.

    Sustainability: Extremely durable and long-lasting, it’s available with low-maintenance finishes that last for decades. But fiber-cement carries high embedded energy—the energy necessary to fire the kilns that heat its raw materials. Any energy expended toward a material adds to its carbon footprint. The newest varieties are lighter and include more recycled material.

    Energy efficiency: Negligible R-value, but its superior stability helps keep the building envelope free of cracks and caulk failures.

    Cost: $5-$9 per sq. ft., installed

    Wood

    Unmatched beauty makes wood a premier choice for siding.

    Sustainability: Although a precious natural resource, wood is a renewable product that can be recycled and readily degrades in landfills. To ensure the wood products you buy are harvested from sustainable, managed forests, look for certification stamps from the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and the SFI (Sustainable Forest Initiative). Wood siding is a high-maintenance siding that requires refinishing every two to five years.

    Energy performance: Wood is a natural insulator, but as a siding it offers a minimal R-value of about R-1.

    Cost: $6-$9 per sq. ft., installed

    Stucco

    Traditional stucco is made from sand and Portland cement mixed with water to make a workable plaster. Modern stucco often includes epoxies to harden the material. It’s tough, durable, and resistant to insects and fire. Well-maintained stucco will last for the life of the house.

    Sustainability: Eco-friendly varieties of stucco are made with an earth-and-lime mixture instead of Portland cement and epoxy, reducing the embedded energy and CO2 emissions associated with cement production. Painted stucco requires periodic touch-ups and repainting every 5-7 years.

    Energy performance: Negligible thermal performance, but effective at reducing air infiltration while remaining permeable to moisture vapor.

    Cost: $6-$9 per sq. ft., installed

    Engineered wood

    Engineered wood products are made from wood fibers, resins, and wax. They’re pressed in molds to create panels resembling real wood lap siding and shingles.

    Sustainability: The high wood waste content of engineered siding boosts its sustainability factor. Engineered siding comes with baked-on factory finishes that reduce maintenance, but warranties of about 20 years are less than for other types. It easily biodegrades in landfills.

    Energy performance: Negligible

    Cost: About $2-$4 per sq. ft., installed

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your siding needs. Call use today at  (215) 773-9181 for your FREE estimate!

  • Cleaning Vinyl Siding

    Here is a helpful video on how to clean your vinyl siding, courtesy of ExpertVillage:

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to assist you with all of your vinyl siding, siding repair, siding installation and siding inspection needs.  Call us today at (215) 773-9181 for your FREE estimate!