Iowa Home Exteriors Blog

Home Siding Trends for 2017

Home Siding Trends for 2017What's going on with home siding in 2017? A new year often brings with it many new opportunities, different goals, and even a different direction in trends like clothing, music, and home décor. When it comes to trends in home exteriors, they don’t change as quickly or as often mostly due to the expense a change would incur. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the materials, colors, and designs we will see in home siding “trending” in 2017. Siding Materials Over the last decade, choosing a siding material for a home was mostly based on appearances over any other characteristic of the material used. Let’s face it, no one wants a tacky looking home! Today, homeowners are far more educated when it comes to being aware of energy efficient and long lasting home siding materials. There are three home siding materials that are sure to be at the top. Vinyl Siding – this synthetic man-made material is a type of plastic created by mixing ethylene and chlorine together. Vinyl siding comes in insulated and non-insulated versions. Its flexibility gives this siding strength, durability, and longevity. Fiber Cement Siding – this siding is composed of cement, sand, cellulose (wood) fibers. Often this siding is used as an alternative to using real wood siding. This siding is extremely durable and long-lasting due to its cement-like strength. Engineered Wood Siding – this siding is an Oriented Strand Board (OSB) material made up of wood strands compressed and coated with a resin binder creating an incredibly strong board. This product is treated with a zinc-borate mixture and a water-resistant wax to protect against moisture, wood rot, and termites. These materials are a great option for any home and we offer all three of them as possibilities for your next home siding project.  As our first choice, we would recommend using CedarMax insulated vinyl siding because of things like its R-value, noise reduction and it is also maintenance free. Insulated vinyl siding is a great option when you want energy efficiency, durability and a stylish look. Color Trends When it comes to resale value, on-trend homes are going to easily rise above those that are not. Experts advise choosing your exterior colors wisely. Avoid those crazy off-the-wall colors and leave the fuchsia pinks and tangerine oranges back in the 60’s where they belong. Siding is an investment, so invest wisely when it comes to color selection. Whenever you spend money on a home improvement project that is an investment and you should always be thinking of resale value even if you have no intention of moving. The top color trends for 2017 are a mix of natural earthy tones and calming hues. You will see a lot of hazelnut, kale green, and a variety of calming blues for exterior home colors. When it comes to trim you should stick with shades lighter than your siding color. Typically you will see a lot of whites, creams, and light gray colors. Trendy Designs 2017 is going to be a year full of multiple textures by mixing up a one style siding with accents created by adding brick, stone, shiplap or other styles of siding. Homeowners are looking to create something with more character that sets their home apart by adding some visual interest. Along with stylish accents, homeowners are also looking for something that is low maintenance, resists the elements, and lasts longer. Who doesn’t want their dollar to do more? Choosing a Home Siding Contractor We previously shared with you how to choose a siding contractor, 5 Questions to Ask a Window Replacement Contractor, so make sure when selecting someone to handle your next home siding project you find the right fit. As always, we would love the opportunity to meet you and discuss your needs. Iowa Home Exteriors has an experienced, reputable, and considerate team who is committed to meeting the needs of our clients. Contact us today to schedule an appointment! Home Anatomy Infographic We are providing you this “Home Anatomy” infographic so you will know what your siding contractor is talking about when it comes to the various components of your home. Feel free to download and share with friends and family.

LP SmartSide vs James Hardie Siding

LP SmartSide vs James Hardie SidingWhich Siding Product Is Best? So, you have come to the conclusion that your home needs new siding. Now if you could only decide what type of siding to go with! If you want a different look that comes with the “maintenance free” types of siding like vinyl, then you may be looking for a composite board solution. Composite Siding Products Today, composite board products have come a long way from the glue and sawdust version of the early 90’s. Not only do they hold up to harsh weather conditions and impact better than vinyl products, they can be given a new fresh look by adding a coat of paint. The two main contenders for this market are LP SmartSide and James Hardie. This month’s blog post we would like to show you both the pros and cons of these two siding products and also share our professional opinion on which siding we think would best serve you. LP SmartSide Also known as Louisiana Pacific SmartSide, this siding is an Oriented Strand Board (OSB) product made up of strands of wood that are coated with a resin binder and then compressed to create a board of incredible strength. SmartSide products are treated with LP’s SmartGuard zinc-borate treatment to protect against wood rot and termites. A special water-resistant wax is used to coat each fiber of wood for an enhanced durability in rainy and humid environments. With LP SmartSide you can also customize and choose what color/design you would like to go with. Now that you know what LP SmartSide is made of, check out this list of pros and cons: Pros: Durability Variety of styles Long-lasting warranty Affordable Easy to use Environmentally safe Cons: Labor intensive during installation Since it is wood, it can burn Does require maintenance James Hardie Siding Commonly known as fiber cement siding, this product is made up of water, wood pulp, sand, and Portland cement. James Hardie products have set the standard for fiber cement siding and the terms “Hardie Board” or “Hardie Plank” have become synonymous with “fiber cement” products. James Hardie siding is generally used as an alternative to using real wood for siding, because it is able to mimic the look of just about any siding material. Because cement is a main ingredient in its construction this product also is extremely durable and resistant to rot and termites. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of this siding: Pros: Durability Fire resistant Storm resistant Variety of styles Pre-finishing options Cost effective alternative to wood Cons: Maintenance High-costs Labor intensive during installation Which one? As you can see, both of these products provide great siding options and there are many more pros that could be mentioned about both. A good idea would be to sit down with someone who could help you navigate the variety of options, styles and choices that would best fit your home and budget. But as we promised you before, we would like to share with you our own professional opinion about which product might serve your needs best. Our Siding Recommendation We lean more towards using LP Smartside products than the James Hardie siding because not only does it look great and is durable, but it is affordable! We believe the advantages of the LP SmartSide products outweigh the benefits of the Hardie siding especially when it comes to pricing. Our team at Windows Doors and More put our heart and soul into every project we are working on so we want to use products that you can count on. No matter what siding you choose for your home you can trust us to make sure it will installed correctly, on time and on budget. Cleaning Your LP SmartSide Siding Infographic We have included a shareable infographic “Cleaning Your LP SmartSide Siding” to help you when it come time to clean your new LP SmartSide siding. You can download it and send it to any friends or neighbors that may find it useful. Conclusion Siding takes skill and time to install correctly. The most durable and costly siding can perform poorly if installed incorrectly so take time to choose a good siding contractor and if you are in need of inspiration on a color or style for your new siding then head on over to our Pinterest page for some ideas! At Windows Doors and More, we want to make sure you are getting a team you can trust. Call us today to set up an appointment!

Vinyl Siding vs Fiber Cement Siding

Vinyl Siding vs Fiber Cement SidingWhat Do Siding Contractors Say? What’s one of the first things you notice about a house when you pull up to it? I am always drawn to the color of a home which in turn draws me to the siding. You would be surprised at how many people notice the siding on your home first. Why? The siding on your home makes a statement and that statement can say extraordinary, ordinary, or just plain dumpy! Think about the kind of first impression people have of your home when they pull into the driveway. The next choice you make about what type of siding you put on your home needs to be an informed choice. Today we are going to look at two of the most popular types of siding, vinyl and fiber cement. We will review a quick description of each type of siding and then touch on the pros and cons of the different materials. Finally, we will share which type siding we recommend using. Vinyl Siding Material and History First let’s discuss what vinyl siding exactly is. Vinyl siding is a synthetic man-made material and can comes in an insulated and non-insulated version. It is a type of plastic created from mixing ethylene and chlorine together and produced in a variety of styles and colors. Vinyl siding was first introduced in the 1960’s but didn’t seem to do really well until the 1970’s. The use of vinyl siding has grown each year since it has been around and remains the most popular type of home siding today. Pros and Cons Let’s weigh the pros and cons of vinyl siding. We will begin with the pros: Pros Variety of colors and patterns – there are endless color and pattern selections you can choose from. Note also that the colors stay vibrant. Strength & Durability – Because vinyl is so flexible, it is rather hard to chip and crack. Energy Efficient – Insulated vinyl siding will make your home more energy efficient. By choosing insulated vinyl siding you will be adding another layer of insulation to your home, which in turns saves you money on your energy bills. Inexpensive - Compared to other types of sidings, vinyl is one of the least expensive ways to go. Low-Maintenance – Vinyl siding has very little maintenance unlike other siding options such as wood, stucco, or metal siding. Vinyl was created with little to no maintenance in mind. Cons Seasonal Maintenance – Like any siding, you will need to make sure each season you wash down you siding to remove any dirt or grim that develops. Extreme Temperatures - There are chances that during extreme cold spells or extreme heat waves that your vinyl siding may act up. If there is extreme cold temperatures your vinyl siding may crack, during extreme heat waves your siding could melt. Again this only happens in very rare extreme temperatures. Fading – Because your siding is exposed to the sunlight most of the day, there are chances of fade over the course of many years. Vinyl siding has truly improved over the course of 50+ years. It is truly an amazing product when it comes to making a statement about your home. Fiber Cement Siding Material and History Fiber cement siding is often used as an alternative to real wood. Cement, sand, and cellulose (wood) fibers make up the construction of fiber cement siding. Fiber cement was first invented in the late 19th century but fell out of use because of the incorporation of asbestos fibers. The product was redesigned during the 1970’s without the asbestos and begin to rise in popularity and use. Pros and Cons Pros Durability – Fiber cement has the durability of cement. Look – Like vinyl siding, fiber cement has a wide variety of colors and patterns you can choose from. Cost effective alternative to wood – The cost of fiber cement is below that of wood and the maintenance involved with wood siding requires more time and money. Cons Energy-Efficient – Unlike insulated vinyl siding, fiber cement siding isn’t nearly as energy efficient. Higher costs – not only does fiber cement material cost more than vinyl, the installation costs are more as well. More Maintenance – Along with periodic washing, your fiber cement siding will also need to be painted and re-caulked. Conclusion Now you that you have a little more information about these two types of siding, you will be better able to compare and come to a decision about what is best for your home. Both vinyl and fiber cement are good reliable types of siding material. Our team at Windows, Doors, & More install both vinyl siding and fiber cement siding depending on what material you choose. Vinyl Siding vs Fiber Cement Siding Infographic We have included a shareable infographic "Vinyl Siding vs Fiber Cement Siding" to help you compare the two types of siding materials. You can download it and send it to any friends or neighbors that may find it useful. Home Siding Recommendation We highly recommend using insulated vinyl siding purely because the benefits this material bring far outweigh all other siding options from a performance and maintenance standpoint. Insulated vinyl siding adds a higher R-Value and noise reduction the other materials can’t compete with. Des Moines Area Home Siding Contractor? If you are considering making the switch to insulated vinyl siding or just have questions about what type of siding works best for your home and budget, contact us today. If you are in the Des Moines, Iowa area we would love to schedule a meeting to review your home siding options and give you free estimate for your home siding project.

3 Steps for Choosing a Siding Contractor

3 Steps for Choosing a Siding ContractorReplacing your home siding? If you have been thinking about having the siding on your home replaced, that can be stressful. One way to eliminate that stress and make sure your home is in good hands, is to find someone who you can fully trust to do the work for you. Having your home resided can be intimidating because of all the unknowns involved. Questions like: What siding works best for my home? Which brand of siding fits my budget? Should I use vinyl or cement fiber siding? The questions can be nearly endless! So what do you do? Where can you turn to? The best solution is to hire a siding contractor who can provide the best answers to your questions. The key to hiring the right siding contractor is finding someone who is not only trustworthy but also someone who has a lot of solid experience and knowledge. Our team here at Windows Doors and More would like to help you get started as you begin that search for a siding contractor with these 3 easy steps. Research First! The very first step before calling any contractor is doing some thorough research. Begin by checking out the local contractors close to your home. The internet is a great way to find a contractor in your area and a quick Google search can quickly provide you with a list of websites, contact info and even reviews. It’s also a good idea to check with your friends and family to see who they have used in the past. Think strongly about using a local siding contractor because you are not only supporting a local small business, but they will have better knowledge on which siding would be perfect for the climate and area you live in. Download this handy guide to help you remember what types of information you need to research and record before you begin the next step. Interview Time! Once you have come up with 3-4 potential siding contractors, it is time to start the interview process! Here are some good questions to ask during the interview: How many years has the company been in business? Are you licensed and insured? What is the estimated time for this project? What is the cost and what would the payment plan be for this particular project? Do you have references? What sort of warranties do you offer? What type of siding do you recommend? These are just a few of the questions you should ask when conducting the interviews. Make sure you get any guarantees and warranties in writing, as well as a quote for the project.  Contact each of the references the contractors give you and find out how the process went for their projects. This contractor research and interview handout is a great tool to use when conducting these interviews. Make the Selection! Now that the interviews are over, phone calls to the references have been made, and you have compared the various quotes with our budget, it is time to choose! Choose the siding contractor who best meets the needs of what you want accomplished during for this siding project. Your choice should be made based on who fits your budget and timeline as well as who provided the best customer experience for those references you contacted. Once you have chosen the best siding contractor you will need to meet with him to finalize and sign the contract. To protect you and the contractor make sure all the agreed upon costs and warranties/guarantees are written out and then signed. We Can Help! Iowa Home Exteriors hopes these steps help you in the search for a great siding contractor. Our team would love the opportunity to sit down and speak with you if you are interested in replacing your siding! If you are in the Des Moines, Iowa area, contact us today or call to set up a meeting. We look forward to serving you! Bonus! Since spring is here in full force you be thinking about other things besides finding a siding contractor. Things like spring cleaning and especially your windows! We have provided you with this great info-graphic "5 Steps to Squeaky Clean Windows" to help you get that job done... and done right!

Cleaning Home Siding

Spring Home Siding CleaningSpring is in the air! Does anyone have spring cleaning fever like we do? It is time to start airing out our homes, cleaning out closets and reorganizing the garage. Not only do we need to clean out the inside of our homes after a long winter, but the outside of our homes could use a little TLC as well! Once all the snow melts away, you can see the leaves and sticks you may not have raked up, trash that blew in from the neighbors, and so on. Spring is the time to clean up your garage, yard, flower beds, garden area, and most importantly your siding. Overtime your vinyl siding or cement board siding can get pretty dingy looking. Our experts at Iowa Home Exteriors have some maintenance and cleaning tips to share with you to keep the siding on your home looking its best. No matter what type of siding you currently have you will want to clean it from time to time. Today we are going to cover how to clean and maintain 3 types of siding: Vinyl Fiber Cement (cement board) Brick Cleaning Different Types of Siding Clean Vinyl Siding There are a couple different ways you can clean off last winter’s grime from your vinyl siding. You can mix up an effective cleaning solution by mixing up these ingredients in a bucket: 1 gallon of water 1/3 cup dry laundry detergent 1 quart of bleach CAUTION: For your safety wear rubber gloves add googles while working with cleaning agents like bleach. Do not mix bleach with vinegar, ammonia or anything that may create harmful gases. You will want to use a soft cloth to scrub your siding or a soft bristle brush for those troublesome textured areas. After scrubbing off the grime, rinse off the siding with a garden hose. The second option is to use a power washer. It wasn’t our first choice because if the pressure is turned up too high or the spray pattern is too narrow, you can actually damage your vinyl siding. CAUTION: Always wear eye protection when using a power washer. If you use a power washer make sure you use a medium to low pressure setting or a wide spray pattern. A pressure washer, if used correctly, can be a very effective way to clean your home vinyl siding. Clean Fiber Cement Siding (Cement Board) This will be very similar to cleaning vinyl siding. Our first recommendation is to make a simple solution of water and mild dishwashing liquid. Use a siding brush (non-metal) or soft cloth to scrub your siding clean. Finish up by rinsing the area with a garden hose. Some people think fiber cement siding is indestructible because of the word “cement.” Fiber cement is incredibly durable but like all siding, there is a risk of chipping and cracking if improperly cleaned. With all that being said, using a power washer to clean your fiber cement siding is not the first option we recommend. If you decide to use a pressure washer stay back at least 6 feet from the siding and use low pressure (under 1500 psi.) and a wide spray pattern. A pressure washer can be helpful for those tuff trouble areas. We have included a shareable info-graphic "Cleaning Your Fiber-Cement Siding" like James Hardie Siding. You can download it and send it to any friends or neighbors that may find it useful. Clean Brick Siding When cleaning brick siding the first step is to use a stiff (not a wire) brush to remove any hard thick pieces of mud or dirt. Next, use the same solution mentioned above for vinyl siding and scrub your brick clean. Lastly, rinse it all with a garden hose. A power washer is NOT recommended on brick. Extreme pressure can chip away the brick and also crack the mortar used to hold them in place. After washing your brick siding you may have a white dusty residue that appears after drying. This residue is call “efflorescence.” It is caused by moisture drawing salt residue out of your brick. Efflorescence can be removed by using a stiff (not a wire) brush and water. Siding Repair & Replacement If your vinyl or cement board siding is damaged or if you have any questions about siding repair or replacement, our team here at Iowa Home Exteriors are here to help you! If you are in the Des Moines or Central Iowa area contact us and we can give you a free estimate on any siding replacement project.