Wood Siding And Trim
Wood siding is a classic and beautiful material that can complement any exterior finishing project. It is one of those materials that can add a touch of timeless class as well as a shot of color and warmth to your home. It wasn’t long ago that most builders were looking to get away from wood and switch to synthetic materials such as vinyl or cement-based products. This switch was mainly due to the decreased cost and maintenance that synthetics had over wood.
Many modern west coast designers are now switching back to using wood products in feature locations. It is amazing what a difference a couple of big Douglas Fir beams or a Cedar starburst on your gable can make in the overall look of your home. There are some amazing new finishing products out there that drastically reduce the maintenance needed for these products and when they are used in the right way and in the right places they can last and look beautiful for many, many years to come.
Where To Use Wood Trim?
One of the best places to use wood trim is around the entrance to your home or as a feature in prominent gable finishing. Most often these specialized features are things like exposed cedar beams, capped Fir posts, T+G Pine Soffit, or similar. There is just something beautiful that captures your eye when you walk up to a house with a dramatic wood feature at their entrance.
Very often we also use comb faced SPF (Spruce, Pine, Fir) for painted fascia as a cost effective and versatile finish. This is a great material to use in a fascia location because it is cost effective and can be painted any color you want. The “comb face” is a brushed surface that is roughed up to accept pain well and add a bit of a textured look.
The benefit of using comb face over smooth lumber is huge when the long term maintenance costs are taken into account. The comb faced material soaks paint in better and has a great textured surface that helps the painted surface hold up to the elements much better than smooth wood.
Another great area to use natural wood products is in your soffits. Soffits are usually well protected from the elements and they are a great place to add a touch of warmth while keeping your maintenance costs low.
Because soffits are well protected, it opens up the possibilities of using other wood materials than the more traditional weather-resistant woods. Often we see Tongue and groove (T+G) pine in a soffit area but it is not uncommon to see more exotic woods as well on higher-end homes. This is a great way to really add a touch of West Coast class to your home without adding a ton of extra cost.
Many houses in the B.C. lower mainland and the Fraser Valley used to be built with wood siding. Most often this was cedar lap siding, cedar board and batton, or cedar shake. We have renovated homes that had water leaking around the windows where the cedar siding was still very solid and in good shape but the fir framing underneath had completely rotten away.
There are still many houses from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s that had different types of cedar siding on them that are still in very good shape. The main problem with these homes though, is that they tended to use tar paper or even no building paper underneath which either did not allow the sheathing to breathe at all or had no protection for the sheathing if a leak did ever develop.
A proper building envelope is key to protecting your home, if you want to read more about different types of building papers and why the proper use of house wrap is so important then you can check out our building envelope article here.
The other main problem with these cladding materials is that the flashing and finishing details around windows and other penetrations were often areas where water could get in to the framing underneath. While the cedar cladding held up well to a bit of water, the problem was that it held up so well that you had no idea that the framing was rotting underneath.
Should I Replace My Wood Siding?
While it may not be necessary to replace your wood siding right now, it may be a good idea for us to have a look at your home to determine if there are any areas where water is getting into the framing and substructure of your house. It is much cheaper to repair these problems before they have gone on too long and entire walls need to be replaced.
Jericho Exteriors does cedar siding repairs as well. Sometimes, the wood siding on your houses is still in decent shape and just needs a little TLC to get a lot more life out of it. It is a good idea to maintain and repair any problem areas before they have the chance to cause serious damage to your home.
We can assess your siding for you, make recommendations, and then apply targeted repairs to your siding to help protect your home. Many times we can find the same materials that were used years ago and after the new wood has weathered a bit the repaired areas can blend right in.
Pros And Cons Of Wood Siding
While there are a ton of different wood siding alternatives such as Longboard, Lux panel, Sagiper, and more. There is just something classic about real wood on your home. There are a lot of benefits to using real wood in some areas of your home as well as some drawbacks to be aware of.
One of the most important aspects to consider is the area in which you want to use wood siding, soffit, or trim. If the area is fairly protected from the elements, such as soffits, covered entryways, prominent feature designs, etc. then wood may be a great idea. If the area is fully exposed and may be subject to continuous harsh West Coast climate conditions, then it may be better to consider one of the wood-alternative products listed above.
Wood Siding Pros
- Beautiful and timeless material
- Comes in lots of sizes and types
- Can be stained or painted to suit
- Adds a touch of West Coast style
- Eco friendly and renewable
Wood Siding Cons
- Requires maintenance
- Can be expensive compared to alternatives
- Can be damaged by exposure to elements
- Some wood is vulnerable to insects
- Not fire resistant
Wood Siding Maintenance
While it is true that cedar siding is a very tough and naturally durable siding material, it does usually require periodic maintenance to keep it at its best. Most often this is a light cleaning and maybe a new coat of penetrating stain every few years. However, sometimes the wood can cup and warp and then it requires a little more hands on repair work.
If the wood is still mostly solid then we can often just repair it in place with a little care and new fasteners. Sometimes, specific boards or isolated areas need to be replaced with new material and then it is usually a matter of sourcing similar products and replacing them on a case by case basis.
Are Wood Siding, Trim, Or Soffits Right For Your Home?
There is no doubt that wood siding, soffits, and trim can add a classic and earthy feature to your home. The big question is, “Where and how do I use it?”
Give us a call or send an email to have a chat about if wood siding is right for your home. Also, if you already have wood siding and are wondering if it is time to replace it then we would love to come and have a look to make sure there isn’t hidden damage occurring beneath your current exterior finishing.
Either way, we would love to hear from you and help you change the way you look at your home, from the outside!