Black (Siding) is the New Black

When it comes to home exteriors, rarely do we see houses outfitted in black siding. Most homeowners tend to stick to lighter shades for their siding, favouring colours like white, grey, taupe or varying shades of blue. But black? Black is risky, black is shocking, and it may just be the most beautiful colour you can go with for your siding.

Black siding is one of the best ways to make a statement with your home, but it’s not for everyone. Take a look at some pros and cons of black siding to decide if it’s the right choice for you!

It’s Beautiful

There’s no denying that black siding is extremely beautiful. It’s dramatic and exciting, and makes a strong visual statement. With a black exterior, you don’t need too many extra finishings because it does all the talking on its own. Black will accentuate the gorgeous features of your home, like the grooves and detail of your siding and intricate details of your trim.

But It Accentuates Blemishes

Keep in mind that black will also accentuate blemishes and imperfections. Any chips, cracks or flaws will be more noticeable with the colour black than it would be with lighter shades.

It Gets Hot

Just like black cars and clothing, black siding also tends to get hot. It absorbs more heat from the sun than lighter homes will, especially colours like white and cream. A white or light-coloured house will reflect more of the sun’s rays, which keeps the inside of your home cooler in the warmer months. Luckily, in Canada, we don’t have to worry about too much heat, so black siding houses are pretty ideal!

But It’s The Perfect Backdrop

Whether you want to go all out with your landscaping, or opt for minimal greenery, black offers the perfect backdrop. Against green foliage, black tends to retreat so that the natural surroundings get the attention and look even more lush. Black also pairs well with wood and brick that you may have in your fence, garage door or exterior chimney.

Add Contrast

One way to really make your black siding shine? Add contrast with white framed windows and a white door! Gentek has plenty of options for window and door styles, so once you decide on the perfect shade of white, all you need to do is choose the style that works best for your home. This gorgeous contrast will ensure your home pops in the most gorgeous way.

If you’re ready to take the plunge, Gentek offers the perfect shade of black for your siding! Take a look and start planning for your black facade today!


Distinction Siding: The Look of Real Siding Without the Maintenance

When it comes to choosing the right siding for your home, there are a number of things to keep in mind. From the look, to the material, to the upkeep, the siding you choose will have a big impact on your curb appeal and your lifestyle. Two of the main factors homeowners consider when it comes to siding are the look and maintenance of the siding material. Many want the look of real wood, but realize that in order to maintain it, it will take up a lot of their time and money. Enter: Distinction siding: Maintenance-free siding that replicates the variations of real wood for a natural wood finish! Read all about why Distinction siding is about to become your new favourite!

What Sets Distinction Siding Apart?

Distinction siding offers the unrivaled appearance of wood, without any of the hard work and time to upkeep it. While natural wood siding can become easily discoloured and damaged, and needs considerable maintenance, Distinction siding provides the elegance of maintenance free wood.

Distinction siding is a pre-painted, high strength steel product with no visible screws and unmatched durability, so you never have to worry about its performance. It’s coated with rust-resistant paint that offers long-term durability that won’t fade. You’ll also be happy to know that Distinction siding increases your property value being such a high-quality product, so if you’re putting your home up for sale, or plan to in the future, it’s definitely worth the investment!

Distinctive Design

Depending on your home design, you can choose between horizontal and vertical installation for your Distinction siding to get the look you want! While horizontal siding provides a timeless look for your home, vertical siding adds distinction, giving your home a more unique appearance.

You’ll also have to consider what colour you’ll want for your new siding. Distinction siding is available in three series of colours: Wood Series, Nuanced Wood Series, and Granite Series, and in numerous shades including cedarwood, smoked black, exotic walnut and metallic silver. You can see a list of available colours here, but keep in mind that not all colours are available in all provinces. Take some time to decide on your colour and the direction of the siding planks to ensure your complete satisfaction with your siding project!

If you’re on the hunt for a siding material that does it all, look no further. Distinction siding will give you the look of real wood without the maintenance, and will be a gorgeous addition to your home!


Asbestos Siding: To Remove or Cover

If you’ve discovered your home has asbestos siding, you may be wondering whether to remove it or cover it up with vinyl siding. There are a few crucial things to take into account when making this decision. Read on to find out exactly what asbestos siding is and how you should handle it.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos itself is a combination of 6 types of natural occurring minerals made up of fine, durable fibers that are resistant to heat, fire and chemicals. In the past, many homes were built with asbestos because it was a “miracle” mineral that didn’t burn. It was eventually found to lead to many dangerous diseases, such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Asbestos is most dangerous when it’s friable, and it typically becomes friable if it’s damaged in some way. Once small fibers are in the air and can be inhaled, the fibers get into the lining of the lungs, causing disease.

What is Asbestos Siding?

Asbestos siding is made of composite cement mixed with asbestos fibers. It’s fragile and is prone to cracking or breaking when nailed, which can release the asbestos fibers into the air. Asbestos siding is most dangerous when it’s damaged. Damage can occur from erosion, repair work, or drilling that has disturbed the siding.

It has become common to place layers of foam insulation over asbestos siding and cover it with vinyl siding. However, since installing vinyl siding can disrupt the asbestos from drilling, screwing or nailing into it, it’s often best to remove it first. Disrupting the siding can create an exposure hazard that wasn’t there before. It’s pricier to remove the asbestos siding first, but will pay off in the long run, keeping your home and family safe and healthy.

Removing Asbestos Siding

Given the dangers of asbestos, it’s typically best to find a properly licensed contractor in your area to inspect and remove your asbestos siding. If there’s no damage to the siding, and you want to do it on your own, make sure to follow these guidelines to ensure you and your home are safe.

Post signs: To ensure friends, neighbours or any other passersby aren’t exposed to asbestos, post warning signs around your home. Place 6-mil plastic sheeting along the side of the house to catch any debris.

Suit up: Make sure to wear disposable coveralls (with a hood), goggles, rubber gloves, rubber boots, and respirators with HEPA filters.

Prep the siding: Before and during removal, it’s key to wet the asbestos siding and debris with water. Hose down about 10 square feet of siding at a time.

Protect your home: Keep all windows and doors shut when you’re removing your siding, and do not throw or drop removed asbestos siding. Work on removing the siding from the top down, carefully taking out the nails so the siding doesn’t break. Never bring asbestos contaminated clothing, boots, or tools into your home.


How Much Does It Cost to Replace My Siding?

Without well maintained, quality siding, your home could be in trouble. Siding improves the look and curb appeal of your home, while also providing durability and protection from outdoor elements. If your siding is getting old and worn down, it could be time to replace it. Damaged siding can lead to moisture getting into your home, resulting in water damage, rot, and mold. You run the risk of damaging other parts of your home if you don’t deal with faulty siding right away. So, how much does it cost to replace your siding? Let’s break it down.

When to Replace Your Siding

You should replace your siding if you notice any of the following warning signs on half or more of your exterior siding:

  • Significant colour fading
  • Mold and mildew
  • Large cracks, dents or holes
  • Bubbling or blistering
  • Lose siding
  • Increased energy bills (signals your home insulation is lacking, which could be due to your siding)
  • Interior paint and wallpaper are peeling

Siding Price Factors

The price to replace your siding will depend on a number of factors ranging from the type of siding you use to the size of your home. Here are the factors to consider:

1) Type of Siding: Different materials of siding come with different costs. Vinyl siding costs on average $3.50 to $5.50 per square foot. Aluminum siding costs $8.00 to $10.00 per square foot, steel siding costs $10.00 to $14.00 per square foot, and fiber cement siding costs $10.00 to $14.00 per square foot. Do some research to find out what type of siding will work best for your home!

2) Quality of Siding: The cost to replace your siding will also depend on the quality of siding you choose. Lower quality siding will come at a lower cost, which saves you money now, but more expensive, quality siding can save you money in the long term. With high quality siding, you’ll get longer protection and durability, and you won’t have to replace your siding as often.

3) Home Size and Shape: The bigger your home, the longer the installation will take and the more material will need to be used to cover the exterior of your home. Your home shape also comes into play. If you have a simple square-shaped home, siding will be easier (and quicker) to install than if you have a home with eaves, turrets and multiple stories. Some homes also require special tools as well, such as a powered lift. The longer it takes to install, the more it will cost.

4) Installation Process: There are two ways to replace your siding. First is to install your new siding directly over your old siding with a “level wall” product. The other way is to remove the old siding first and then layer on the new siding. The latter will take more time, and in turn, cost you more.

5) Time of Year: Most people undergo renovations in the spring and summer months, so this is when contractors are high in demand. If you wait until off season to replace your siding, it will cost you less to complete your project. Temperature will also play a factor. Vinyl siding expands in hot weather, and if it’s nailed too tight it could crack when it expands in the winter. Fall is typically the best (and cheapest) time to install siding.

Replacing your siding is one of the biggest changes and best investments you can make for your home. Make sure you know when to replace it and what material is best for you and your home!

 


Behind the Scenes: Why it Matters What Type of Wood Goes Behind Siding

Siding is the superhero of your home. It protects it, shields it from harmful weather, and keeps it safe and comfortable. But it doesn’t act alone. Certain elements come together to allow siding to perform its best, and that’s why it matters what type of wood goes behind your siding. The wood that goes behind your siding serves several functions, from increasing insulation to waterproofing, and adding structural support for the framing of your house. All these elements are key to a comfortable, functional, durable home. There are 2 types of wood that are used behind siding: oriented strand board and plywood. Check out the differences below to see which one would work best for your abode.

Oriented Strand Board vs. Plywood

Oriented strand board and plywood are the most common sheathing materials to use behind siding. They both share advantages when it comes to strength and durability, but there are some differences between them. OSB costs less than plywood, which makes it a popular choice among contractors and homeowners. In fact, OSB is used over 75% of the time in North America, making it clear that today’s consumers are extremely cost conscious.

Advantages of OSB

Cost efficiency isn’t the only thing that makes OSB stand out. OSB is manufactured as a composite material, made from as many as 50 strand layers packed and compressed into the same thickness. This makes it strong, durable and able to easily repel water. It’s also more resource-efficient since it can be made from small fast growing trees from tree farms rather than old forests. OSB panels can be manufactured up to 16 feet (or higher), which means you can sheathe your walls from top to bottom leaving no horizontal seams.

Advantages of Plywood

The one thing plywood has over OSB is its reaction when exposed to large amounts of water. This happens during construction delays when sheathing panels are covered with snow, rain and ice. Plywood swells consistently across the sheet, then returns to its normal dimensions when it dries, and it dries out pretty quickly. OSB, on the other hand, tends to swell along the edges and the edges don’t go back to normal once they dry up. OSB takes longer to get wet than plywood, but it also takes longer to dry.

OSB and plywood panels are equal in strength, weight and ability to hold fasteners, but OSB has become the favourite across North America due to its lower cost and consistent panel-to-panel quality. The wood behind your siding allows your siding to perform its best. If you’re in the market for new siding for your home, find your nearest Gentek dealer to help you with your siding project!


The Origins of Siding

Siding plays an important role in the entirety of your home, not only insulating and keeping your home comfortable, but also protecting your home from things like water and pests. Not to mention, quality siding ups your home’s curb appeal, making your abode a total stand out on your block, and increasing its value when you go to sell. Today’s siding options are durable and low-maintenance with exceptional beauty, but they didn’t always start out that way. The look, style and materials of siding have transformed over the years, to become the gorgeous options you have now.

If you’re interested in how siding came to be, take a read below to find out the origins of siding!

The Very Beginnings

Originally, homes were made out of wood, stone and brick; materials that were easily found and assembled in nature. Most commonly, people would cut down trees and make log cabins, which were easy to build and were also strong and weather-tight. Eventually, English ship builders taught Americans how to construct house frames using the same technique they used to frame ships. Long horizontal boards nailed together as a house frame became known as the “shiplap” technique. This was popular for hundreds of years, but since everyone was doing the same thing, eventually people wanted their homes to stand out from the crowd.

The Next Phase

To create distinctiveness, people started to hand carve notches along the top and bottom edges of the wooden planks used as siding. If the notch was on top, they called it ‘dutch lap’ siding; if the notch was on the bottom, they called it ‘beaded’ siding. And when they wanted their homes to stand out even more, they began installing long wooden planks vertically instead of horizontally. The planks weren’t always the same width, so they would nail a small batten to cover up the cracks. This became known as ‘board and batten’. People started becoming more creative with how they installed the wooden planks, adding more profiles and applying wooden planks in different directions.

From Wood to Vinyl

Cedar siding was the siding material of choice for a long time, due to its beauty and low maintenance. However, in the early 1960s, vinyl siding nudged in to replace wood siding as wood siding became more expensive and required more maintenance in the form of painting, and repairing water and insect damage. Vinyl siding was sturdy and could be made to look like real wood. It was well-liked because it required very low maintenance and upkeep, was insect and water resistant, and didn’t fade or rot.

The Present

Today, vinyl siding is the number 1 cladding choice for homeowners across North America. With the beauty of a natural wood finish, powerful durability, easy installation and low upkeep, vinyl siding continues to reign supreme. It’s also more environmentally friendly than other types of siding, and available in many different styles and colours, so you can get the exact look you want for your home.

If you’ve always wondered about the origins of siding, there you have it! Of course, you can also go with aluminum, steel, fiber cement or specialty siding. Each have their own style and benefits, so depending on the style of home you’re going for, you have great options to choose from at Gentek!

 


How Long Should Siding Last?

If you’ve noticed your exterior siding has seen better days, it could be time to replace it. Damage such as cracks, warping, peeling and gaps over a large section or the majority of your siding signals a significant problem. Different siding materials have different characteristics and lifespans, so the material you choose for your exterior will determine how long your siding will last. Some hold up with very little maintenance, while others require a little more TLC.

If you’re in the market for new siding, take a look at some of the different options for siding materials to help you make your decision.

Aluminum Siding

Aluminum siding is extremely durable and strong, often lasting for decades. It holds up its beautiful appearance season after season, even when it’s exposed to harsh outdoor elements. Quality aluminum siding, like the types found at Gentek, have a heavy-duty aluminum core and are performance engineered to shield your home from outdoor elements such as harsh winds and water. Gentek’s aluminum siding also requires simple upkeep, demanding only a simple rinse of a garden hose from time to time.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl is the number one cladding choice across North America, and for good reason. Its benefits range from its excellent durability, to its super low maintenance (you just need to rinse it with a garden hose now and then), to its easy installation and its low environmental impact. Vinyl siding panels have colour throughout, so they won’t flake, chip or peel, and they never need to be painted. With its distinctive beauty of a freshly painted wood finish, it provides the look of natural wood, without the upkeep. Check out Gentek’s vast selection of vinyl siding to find one that suits your home best!

Steel Siding

If you’re looking for the ultimate shield for your home, steel siding may be for you. It’s extremely resistant and built weather-tough so it doesn’t absorb moisture, and won’t warp, chalk, or fade. If you live in an area that experiences extreme weather, steel siding is likely your best bet. Steel siding resists damage from wood-eating insects and it’s simple to install.

In most cases steel siding cleans up quickly and easily, so all you have to do is rinse it with a garden hose. It’s very environmentally friendly since steel siding is a recyclable product, with all these features coming together to enhance your home’s overall value. Gentek’s Sierra Steel siding has an amazing warranty – it’s backed by a lifetime limited warranty, a 50 year hail warranty and a 35 year chalk and colour change warranty.

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement siding is known for its upscale aesthetic and durability, but it does require more upkeep than the other siding materials on this list. Fiber cement may require periodic re-caulking and re-painting to keep it looking fresh, but the fact that it’s sleek, strong and non-combustible make it an amazing option for any home. Gentek carries the entire line of James Hardie Fiber Cement, which uses ColorPlus® technology for long-lasting colour, and Engineered for Climate® to meet specific climate demands.

If you need to replace your siding and are trying to figure out what’s best for your home, weigh your options and choose the one that’s right for you! Use our Contractor Locator to find a Gentek dealer near you!


How to Change Your Siding

Even top quality siding isn’t indestructible. A bad storm could send an object flailing into your siding and freezing cold temperatures can cause unwanted cracks. If you’ve noticed cracks, breakage or warping in your siding, it could be time to change it. But a crack here and there doesn’t mean you need to replace the whole exterior, you can easily replace a few pieces if need be.

The key thing to keep in mind when replacing your siding is to get the closest colour match. If you recently renovated your home and know where your siding is from, head there to get the right match. If your siding is older or you don’t know where it came from, you can head to your nearest Gentek distributor to find the closest match. Make sure to bring in the broken piece of siding so they can colour match for you.

If your siding is in need of replacement, take a look at how to change your vinyl, aluminum or steel siding.

How to Change Vinyl Siding

A crack or break in your vinyl siding isn’t something to lose sleep over. Vinyl siding is actually quite easy to replace once you know the tools and steps you need to take. With a handy zip tool (which you can get for $5 at any home hardware store) and flat bar, you can get the job done in a cool 15 minutes.

Slide the zip tool along the bottom of the piece of damaged siding, releasing it from the piece below it. Push the zip tool under the siding until you feel it hook the bottom lip. Once it hooks, pull it downward and out to unhook the bottom lip, and slide it along the edge to unhook the rest of the siding. To take out the nails, use a flat bar to pry them out. To install the replacement piece, hook the lip of the upper siding piece into the slot and lock it into place.

How to Change Aluminum Siding

Replacing aluminum siding is a little more difficult. If you feel like the job is too much to handle, you can always contact a local contractor to help you out. If you want to go for it yourself, the first step is making a vertical cut at each end of the damaged piece with tin snips, and cutting horizontally along the center of the piece.

The upper section will be nailed in. Leave it in place and remove the bottom half. Then, cut the nailing tab off the top of the replacement piece and spread butyl gutter seal along the upper nailed section. Put the lower replacement piece into place, pressing it firmly into the gutter seal. Caulk the joints using the butyl gutter seal or silicone caulking compound,

How to Change Steel Siding

Steel siding is extremely durable, but there still may be times when you need to replace it. First, you’ll need to take out the nails holding the siding in place. Slide a zip tool along the damaged piece of siding and you should be able to catch on a nail. Grip the nail firmly with the zip tool and pry it out. Do this with every nail, with extra caution when it feels like the piece of siding is going to come off.

Once the nails have been removed, the siding will loosen and you can separate it and set it aside. For the new piece of siding, you’ll want to place a nail every 16 inches. Make sure it’s snug, but not tight, because if it’s too tight it can snap.

If it’s time to change a section of your siding, you can do it yourself or enlist the help of a siding contractor to help you out! Don’t fret, it will be back looking gorgeous in no time!


Tips to Avoid a Renovation Nightmare

If you’re investing in a home renovation, the last thing you want is problems stacking up on top of one another. It’s becoming increasingly common to buy fixer-uppers in today’s real estate market, which means renovations are on the rise. Many home owners see the value in buying an older, run down property in an ideal area, and sprucing it up with their tastes and needs in mind.

Your home renovation experience should be enjoyable and rewarding. The only problem is, renovations aren’t always easy, and if you don’t plan properly, there’s a big chance it could turn into a renovation nightmare.

Here are 4 tips to ensure your renovation runs smoothly.

1. Hire the Right Help

You may be a pro when it comes to choosing paint colours and matching hardware with cabinets, but if you have no idea how to tear down walls and replace tile, it’s time to enlist some help. A professional designer and contractor are two of the most essential players to your renovation, and you don’t want to rush the hiring process. The right designer will help you design your space properly to maximize the function of your home. And a good contractor will ensure there are no loose ends when it comes to the integrity of your house.

Don’t know where to find a contractor? Gentek works with professional contractors across the country to ensure your renovations meet all your expectations!

2. Be Picky When It Comes to Your Home Exterior

You want the best of the best when it comes to your building materials, especially for your home exterior. Choose a siding that’s weather resistant, durable, eco-friendly, and low maintenance, so you don’t have to worry once the siding’s installed. Gentek has a selection of siding options from aluminum siding, to fiber cement siding, specialty siding and more. Your local Gentek retailer can help you find the best siding for your home reno to make sure it doesn’t turn into a renovation nightmare!

3. Know and Stick to Your Budget

If you’re not strict on your budget, your renovation has the potential to land you in mountains of debt. There are many affordable, quality products available these days, whether you’re looking for light fixtures, windows, siding, or kitchen backsplash. Create a budget for each room in your house, and make sure you do as much research as you need to find products that fit your budget.

4. Determine Your Home Style

Working with a professional designer/decorator to determine your ideal home style is key to a successful renovation. Without having a vision for what you want your home to look like, a lot of time and money can be wasted trying to figure things out. The right designer will direct you so you’re using proper colour palettes, maximize spacing and lighting, while also keeping your personal style at the forefront.

Are you planning a home renovation? Make sure to take these tips into consideration to avoid a renovation nightmare!