Frequently Asked Questions
I need to repair my siding. Can I replace just a few pieces or do I need to replace a full side?
Assuming you have wood siding, you’re able to replace a few paces for a short-term fix. There are disadvantages though, it’s likely that there could be residual damage to the surrounding siding.
The downfall to engineered woods originates in two facets:
- It’s a high maintenance product – and if not painted on a regular basis – it will rot and warp
- Most homes that were built with engineered wood siding were built during a time when building code did not require a house wrap. In climates in areas such as Colorado and Minnesota, frost accumulates on the sheathing during fall nights and then condenses mid-morning – and engineered wood takes on the moisture on the back side of the board. In some circumstances, your wood siding can rot from the back side of the board, regardless of how much you paint.
If you replace full sides of the house:
- You can install an air/moisture barrier that will reduce the effects of freeze-thaws. Unfortunately, you cannot properly install a house wrap if you only replace individual pieces.
- You can bring your flashings up to current building code and reduce the likelihood of water leaks.
- You can also improve your home’s ability to block drafts around windows and penetrations. When you install a new house wrap, you will also install EPDM tape around windows, which will prevent drafts around your window openings
- If you do the full house, you can upgrade your siding product such as fiber cement, and prevent these issues moving forward.
How do I know if my siding needs to be replaced instead of painted?
In terms of wood siding, there are a few indications that will tell you if replacement is needed.
First, it’s important to know that if wood siding is retaining water, the paint will not last on the surface. Paint manufacturers void their warranty if their paint is applied to a surface that has too high of a moisture content. Your paint can then peel as soon as 2-4 weeks after the new paint is applied. Don’t waste your money trying to take the risk and paint wood that needs replacing.
Indications that wood siding needs to be replaced:
- It’s warping
- If the nails look like they are “oversunk”, that’s unlikely. Most often, if the siding is not in great shape and the nails look oversunk, its likely that the siding is swelling beyond the nail line and there was nothing wrong with how the nails were installed. Nails go into the framing of the home, and most are ring shanked. This means they won’t back out, but the siding can swell beyond the face of the nail cracking.
- If you look on the lower edge of your lap siding, and you see cracking, that’s an indication that the board is swelling beyond its original size.
If you’ve deemed that you need replacement, refer to the previous FAQ question above (“I need to repair my siding, can I replace just a few pieces or do I need to replace a full side?”) to tell you if you should just replace a piece of it, or do a full side/house.
What kind of paint should be applied to James Hardie, fiber cement siding?
Ideally, with fiber cement, you purchase a pre-finished product such as James Hardie ColorPlus. If not, and you have primed or you’re looking to repaint a previously pre-finished fiber cement, it should be treated differently than applying paint to wood.
Fiber cement is built with Portland cement and can take paint at a varied rate. This means there’s a higher likelihood that the new paint will flash (sheen looks nice in one section and blotchy in another).
How to prevent the flashing:
- The best way is to add another primer coat, more often than not, another full primer coat will prevent any type of flashing.
- Another way is that you can use a product like Sherwin Williams Resilience, which dries from the sub straight out rather than traditional paint that dries from the outside towards the sub straight. This is a different cure process and tends to have a lower likelihood of resulting in a blotchy finish.
- In a perfect scenario, and especially if your finish coat is a dark color or if you have large walls facing West or South, you should use a full primer coat along with a finished paint coat like Resilience.
Can new siding impact the resell value of my home? Can it pay for itself once I sell?
Absolutely, it can help the resale value of your home. Fiber cement siding, such as James Hardie, have nearly a 100% ROI, according to Remodelers Magazine. Please refer to Cost vs. Value analysis by Remodelers Magazine for more details. Fiber cement siding will also lower your homeowner’s insurance because it prevents flame spread, not to mention your savings in maintenance.
How do I know what kind of siding I have currently?
This can be difficult, and the best advice would be to call your local siding contractor to diagnose your current siding. Vinyl siding is easy to distinguish from engineered wood, natural wood, or fiber cement, but it can be difficult to recognize engineered wood siding from fiber cement. Fiber cement manufacturers, such as James Hardie, have the same architectural appearance as engineered wood, but at lower maintenance, more durable, and not susceptible to wood born insects or birds, all while limiting flame spread. Since those are hard to see visually, it may be a little difficult to know for sure.
How much does siding cost anyway?
Siding can range dramatically in price depending on the product.
- Vinyl siding – specifically hollow-backed – are on the lower pricing spectrum, ranging from $5 to $8 per square foot.
- Insulated vinyl is an upgrade because it’s more durable than the more cost-effective vinyl, and have added insulation value, it will range from $7 to $10 per square foot.
- Engineered wood can range from $9 to $18 per square foot, depending on primed or pre-primed finished.
- Fiber cement siding, such as James Hardie, can range from $10 to $14 per square foot for pre-finished siding, depending on the style.
- Natural woods – such as cedar and pine – can range dramatically and upwards above $20 per square foot, depending on the species of wood and the number of allowable knots in the wood.
What is the difference between Acrylic and Concrete Based Stucco??
This question is common inside the stucco world – it’s also known as synthetic vs traditional stucco.
- Synthetic is EFIS, which has insulation behind it, mesh, and then a finish coat. It’s energy efficient, but it can retain water if not flashed properly.
- Traditional is a hard coat system with paper, wire, brown, concrete coat, with an acrylic finish coat. It’s more breathable and lasts a long time without risk of water or problems like EFIS.
Here at 5280 Exteriors, we recommend traditional stucco, which is more commonly used in residential applications due to the reasons listed above.
Can water or snow sit up against any type of siding?
The short answer is no. Almost every manufacturer (and building code) requires a clearance, which means the siding has to sit above either grade (soil) or slab (concrete, roof, or deck). For example:
- James Hardie requires a 2″ clearance on slab, and 6″ on grade.
- LP requires 1″ clearance on slab, and 6″ on grade.
There are a few manufacturers that claim there is no clearance needed, and they are usually PVC based products, but nothing has been tested over a long period of time. The reality is it’s not just that the water damages the products, it’s the freeze-thaws and the expansion rates that really damage the products. The only material tested over time that can sit below those clearance levels is metal. That’s why you should have metal flashing on your roof, and above your windows.
What should be considered when purchasing natural woods for siding?
- A, being “clear” or free from knots.
- D (or utility) lumber will have more knots that is natural to its existing state.
Of course, this effects the design you are going for. A or “clear”, vertical grains will result in a more contemporary look, without knots. and will be most structural strength. D or utility lumber will have more knots, and will create a more “rustic” look.
Consider: when the product moves over time, the knots “can work their way” out of the board. There are other factors that effect how the lumber is graded. Western Red Cedar Lumber Association (WRCLA) is a great resource for lumber, grades and applications.
How can I prepare my windows for winter?
In Colorado, most homeowners use their heater more than the air conditioner. In fact, a lot of homeowners don’t utilize central air conditioning at all. Heating cooling costs peak in the heating months… the winter! Try to schedule your window replacement before the winter – sometime in the fall months. It’s a great time because you’re installing windows when you can save the save the most money.
If you’re behind the ball, don’t fret. Installation can still occur in the winter time. However, if it’s snowing or raining outside, we can’t install the windows. We have installed windows every winter because the beauty of Colorado is that we get sunny days even in the middle of the winter season.
- We’ll remove one window and set & insulate the new window shortly after removing the old one.
- We don’t remove all of the windows at once, only the number we know we can install by the end of the day.
- We lay drop clothes and rubber mats to prevent spreading mud or debris around the house
How much can new windows save me?
Energy efficient windows can save you anywhere from 10% to 40% on your heating and cooling costs. But, you definitely want to look at your home as the full envelope. That includes the wall and attic insulation, attic ventilation, etc. Windows are a part of your home’s energy envelope and maximum energy efficiency can be achieved by addressing all of these factors and more.
How do I know my windows are leaking?
If your windows are drafty, it’s likely that you need to upgrade your windows. Drafty – or leaky – windows are either old and no longer have tight gaps, or they’re just simply poor quality. Be aware when buying new windows; you’ll find some great prices at box stores that state they are energy star rated, but a window can be energy star rated and still have moderate draft blocking features. Higher quality windows have lower AI (air infiltration) ratings; an energy star window can have a 0.3 AI, which means 30% of air gets through the window when there is a 45 mph wind. The higher quality windows can get as low as 0.06 AI, which means only 6% of air gets through the window during 45 mph winds.
Is there a benefit to only resealing a window versus replacing?
Typically when someone says reseal a window, they mean reglaze, which is replacing the glass in an existing window. Reglazing a window can make sense in applications where there is broken glass, and the customer is looking for a short-term solution. You can save money by reglazing a window, but you achieve little besides replacing the fact that the glass is no longer broken, or the seal. More often than not, you can replace the full window at only a moderate price increase. With a new window, you can upgrade your energy efficiency, improved functionality, and a new warranty.
Windows say they’re energy efficient – are all windows primarily the same in efficiency?
Energy Star windows are an upgrade to builder grade windows, including aluminum or steel windows. 95% of replacement windows meet Energy Star requirements, so if you want the top tier energy efficiency, you want to look for windows that have a low U-value (same as an R-value, but the inverse) and low AI ratings (refer to FAQ: “How do I know my windows are leaking?”). You can achieve the lowest U-value with heat mirror glass, which is a cutting-edge technology developed by NASA and a Top 100 Inventions of the Millennium by Popular Science. You can get the U-value as low as 0.1, where Energy Star only requires a 0.3 U-value.
Do I have to replace the window with the same size, or can I change the size of the window?
Of course, you can always put the same window in. However, when you replace windows you have a great opportunity to modify your window openings to increase or decrease size. In terms of cost, it’s only a nominal increase in price to make the window opening smaller or taller (down to the floor, not upwards to the ceiling). If you want to make your window opening wider, or go further upwards towards the ceiling, it can cost a little bit more. The reason, is because you need a new header, so the wall around the opening needs all new framing – plus, you’ll need a structural engineering letter & permit. Increasing the size of each opening can provide more natural light to enter your home and add the “open feel” that so many are looking for.
What kind of window is best for our Colorado climate?
Windows that are the best fit for Colorado are windows that can block some of the direct heat in the summer, increase the retention of heat in the winder, as well as allow some passive solar on those warm winter days to assist in warming of the home. Heat mirror technology (see FAQ: “Windows say they’re energy efficient – are all windows primarily the same in efficiency?”). Remember that windows that block the most heat from coming in the home are not the best for this climate; there needs to be balance. Passive solar is very important in the winter for reducing your heating costs, because the sun can help your furnace heat your home – saving money.
Will plaster be damaged during window replacement?
How can window grids change the look of my house?
What kind of grids are there?
- Snap in grids clip into the roomside of the window and can be removed if you decide that you want to change from a colonial look the grid creates to a more contemporary look.
- Simulated divided lite grids have a wood grid on the inside and a mirror cladded grid on the outside, which will mimic the old fashion divided lite grids that have a different piece of glass between each grid. These are usually great fits for homes in historic or landmark districts. They are “simulated” because they are not truly separate pieces of glass, but rather simulated with a spacer between the glass to give it that effect.
Why can't I paint my own house instead of hiring someone?
There’s no doubt, painting is one of those trades that are a bit lower skill – which allows a number of homeowners the ability to do it. It’s more about if you’re willing to do it. With one person, it would take 2-3 weeks, working full days at minimum to complete. Also, you want to make sure you have the right equipment.
To paint a house properly – and according to best practices – you’ll usually need a power washer and an airless sprayer. It’s also important to follow safety standards and handling, especially with oil paints and primers. For a less painful experience, and to make sure your product is finished the right way, we recommend hiring your local expert.
What type of paint do you offer?
We offer several types of paints but focus on Sherwin Williams and Sto products primarily.
Most people have heard of the quality of Sherwin Williams, and we can vouch for that as well – especially Resilience on exteriors in our Colorado climate.
Not as many people have heard of Sto however. Sto is a stucco manufacturer, and they also make paints. Their paint has twice as many solids in them in comparison to other retail paints. They also offer a self cleaning paint that performs well when applied to stucco systems.
With both product lines, we focus on paint types that perform specifically for the type of siding we are applying it to as well as the climate it’s being applied in.
How often should I repaint my house?
We carry a 3-year warranty for basic repaint, and we carry up to a 10-year warranty on our premium painting service. With a good paint job, you should paint your house once every 10 years or so. With less premium paints, you might be looking at painting once every 7 years.
How do I know if I need to repaint my home?
More often than not, your paint will start peeling on your trim first – specifically on horizontal ledges over windows or accent trim. You might also see flashing on large walls, which looks like blotchy or faded siding. This is a good indicator that the paint has broken down and needs a new primer coat before painting.
Make sure you stay ahead of the game, because a typical exterior paint might cost $3,000 – $7,000, but if you’ve waited too long and wood needs to be replaced, that will likely double or triple the cost of your paint project.
We just had a hail storm, who do I call about repairing my roof?
If you have significant damage, such as a roof leak or windows broken, you should call your insurance company immediately and file a claim. It’s also a good indicator if a significant number of your neighbors are getting repairs done and you see visible damage from the storm, go ahead and reach out to your insurance company to file a claim.
In the case where you know you’ve had a hail storm, you should call your local exterior expert – especially if your neighbors are actively getting repairs done.
We highly recommend contacting a local company instead of a storm chaser. Storms tend to bring out of state companies into your area and they don’t have any plans of sticking around after they’ve completed their work. This means two things:
- If you have a warranty claim a few years down the road, nobody will be there to service it.
- Since they don’t have a local reputation to hold up to, they don’t have any “skin in the game” and are less likely to perform quality work in your best interest.
Regardless if you choose us, we highly encourage using a local company to avoid the complications that occur from an out-of-state company.
I don't have a big enough ladder to get up to my roof, how can I see if I have damage?
Most homes have a few large roof slopes that can be viewed from the ground level. Although you’re not going to be able to get an up close view (or possibly even the side that has damage), you might be able to see if there is significant damage. Furthermore, if you see any shingles that have flown off the roof, that’s a strong indicator to either call your insurance company or local roofing experts. Lastly, granular loss can be a good indicator that the roof has been damaged, and if there’s significant damage, you’ll see roof granular at the bottom of your downspouts.
How often should my roof be replaced?
Without natural disasters, roofs should last 30-50 years depending on the product. Tile and stone coated steel roofs can last even longer than that.
The reality is that in markets like Colorado, you will have hail storms that limit the lifespan of the roof. Most often than not, the insurance company will be paying to replace your roof.
Some roof companies can provide a 5-Year Certification, which is often used in real estate transactions so the buyer knows that the roof will last 5 years after the transfer of the home.
I have a 3-Story house, can you even get up there?
Absolutely. However, sometimes we need different sized ladders, equipment, or an entirely different individual to stop by the home. If you have a 3-story home, be sure to let your roofing company know ahead of time before they come out – or else they may need to reschedule after they see the height of your roof.
What work can you do in the winter?
Of course, if it’s raining or snowing one day, we will wait and start the next day there is no precipitation. Otherwise, we can do every trade through the winter months.
- Roofing can be the toughest, because it’s hard to cut freezing shingles and there is a risk of installing when a storm hits.
- Siding can be installed a little easier – as the sealants we use can actually be applied under water!
- We can paint, as long as it’s above 35 degrees. Sherwin Williams has a product called Resilience that we use in moisture settings because it can be applied down to 35 degrees and up to a few hours before a rain storm.
- Windows can be installed year round, as the sealants we use can actually be applied under water – similar to siding.
What projects get delayed, and by what weather?
Unfortunately, rain and snow delay everything. But lucky enough for us, we’re located in a state where it usually melts the next day or so, allowing us to continue to work on the project.
What is a Punchlist?
A punchlist is a document generated towards the end of a project. This punchlist is where the customer can list items that they are concerned about, or that might not be done to their satisfaction. We use this list to address the final items on a project to achieve 100% customer satisfaction.
In our contracts, we give our customers the right to carry a 10% retainer until all punchlist items are complete. Meaning, when the project is done, but there are punchlist items to resolve, we collect 90% of the contract value and allow the customer to retain 10% of the balance until the punchlist items are complete.
Have more questions?
Give us a call and a trained specialist will reach out and give you qualified answers specific to your home and project.