James Hardie and the Modern Evolution of Cement Siding, Synthetic Trim, and Decking
I started in the home improvement industry way back in 1983. Yep, I’m old! A lot has changed in 33 years, that’s for sure. For example, in the realm of cement siding, James Hardie has rapidly gained a strong market share in Massachusetts as people are moving away from having to paint their homes every few years. In the past, we’ve talked about how technology in our homes is changing the way we live. This includes everything from “smart” appliances and TVs, super-efficient heating and cooling systems, spray foam insulation, and major advances in window efficiency – to all sorts of great improvements with paint, flooring, cabinetry, counters – and everything in between! Today, we’re going to look specifically at modern siding by James Hardie, trim, and decking to explore the economic solutions it can offer the modern homeowner.
How James Hardie is Teaching Contractors “New Tricks”
Being in the industry for so long, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being old school – “You can’t teach old dogs new tricks” is how the saying goes. Years ago, the standard of the industry for exterior homes was beautiful wood painted houses and wood decks with a nice coat of paint or stain. While stunning when properly executed, wood homes require a ton of maintenance. This includes repainting every 4 to 8 years and washing, sanding, and re-staining decks, railings, and stairs almost every year! Over time, this can become very expensive and daunting.
My first home was a perfect example. As a contractor, I was determined to have a wood painted home and a beautiful wood deck with a premium stain on it. Every spring, it was a labor of love to hand sand, wash, and re-stain the deck and railings. Every few years, it was the same for the siding and trim. Boy, did my house look awesome! However, it did require a lot of extra work and care on my end to maintain the aesthetic look of my home.
Changing Times, Changing Products
Eventually, synthetic decking and railings came into vogue, and new kinds of siding started creeping into the market as well. Being old school, of course, I was determined to stay with the systems I knew and the beautiful look of wood with paints and stains as the finishing touch. Let’s face it – the first generations of synthetic decking and railings didn’t look very good and certainly didn’t perform very well. Consumer concerns often included such obstacles as delaminating siding, decking with grease and dirt stains, and railings that looked shiny and plastic.
Over the years, however, these products have improved dramatically. Leading brands of decking including Gossen, Timbertech, Trex, and more have introduced premium selections that rival the beauty of exotic wood species such as mahogany and ipe (Brazilian walnut). They also have complimenting railing systems that look and feel very high end. When you add in the possibilities of cable railings or glass, you’ve got everything you need for a premium finish and very low maintenance deck.
Rethinking Your Siding Options – Can James Hardie Products Save Labor and Money?
James Hardie Products are now the standard of the industry and include complementing trim that can be used for corner boards, window and door trim, soffits, and just about everywhere else on your home. “James Hardy” (as some like to call it) cement board siding comes in a myriad of colors and has a warranty that will ensure you’ll greatly reduce future maintenance costs of your home. Best of all, when the finish does finally fade, simply wash, and apply a coat of premium acrylic paint and you’ll likely go 10 to 15 years between paint jobs.
Vinyl siding has also improved dramatically over the years. CertainTeed, one of the leading manufacturers of vinyl siding, has introduced premium lines that resemble wood clapboards and even cedar shingle siding. They offer more colors than ever, so vinyl siding is a great choice if you want to reduce future maintenance costs and achieve a beautiful look for your home.
Last, but not least, trim boards are also now mostly made of PVC and other combinations of synthetic materials. Kleer, Azec, and Boral trim are three leading brands that work great with a cedar or James Hardie sided home. These trim boards are also used to compliment high-end decks with skirt boards, stair trim, and accent trim.
There Is No Substitute for Experience
Am I still old school? Yes, in certain ways, I suppose. However, with age comes the added benefits of experience and wisdom. There will never be a substitute for hard work and determination, or for quality people doing quality work. It’s very important to keep an eye on technology and always be learning, improving, and seeing the latest products on the market. They can provide significant and tangible benefits for our valued customers – and we’re here to make sure you know the modern options available for your specific needs.
Click here to or call us now at 508-359-5900 to discuss what options are available to you. Together, we’ll have your home and deck looking amazing in no time!