When homeowner replace the siding or are building new, they often find inspiration within a certain house style. This includes but isn’t limited to Craftsman Style, Modern Farmhouse, Modern/ Contemporary look, and Colonial. While the colors of the siding can help nail the look, the basic design of your home will be what places your home in a “defined category”. With that said, let’s focus on what you have the power to change to get you closer to your favorite style.
Craftsman style covers a wide array of sub styles. The term is used loosely but the following traits typically apply: tapered column, decorative gables, big overhangs, and details in the trim. If you want to make your home look more like a Craftsman home, give your columns a tapered look. Add decorative pieces like corbels, dentil, or brakes in along your trim work. Bring the attention to any gables you might have on your home through texture and color.
The Modern Farmhouse focuses on function, simplicity, and bringing the outdoors inside. White and black is the classic color choice for the Modern Farmhouse look. Bring rustic elements out as much as possible with a metal roof or wood in the garage doors, porch columns, or gable accents. If you find yourself replacing your siding and want the Modern Farmhouse look, look at wider siding panels. Most vinyls are available in 8″ only in white; which does work nicely with the Modern Farmhouse look. If you decide to go with a hardboard siding the widths have a bigger range and are available in almost any color your heart desires. Have lots of windows, the bigger the better. If you can’t have a big, sprawling porch make it as welcoming as possible. Carriage style garage doors in a wood look are also characteristic of a Modern Farmhouse look.
Modern or Contemporary Look
These looks are more about smoothness and flatness. If you are remodeling your house that usually means you can’t re-do the slope of your roof to be completely flat. You can replace your siding with big 4×8 sheets of siding to achieve an industrial look. These are available in most colors in LP Smartside or James Hardie Fiber cement. Replacing your windows with grid-less windows. Replace your garage door with a smooth door and have your windows vertically stacked to one side. Many homeowner like to bring in a wood siding section to contrast the industrial sections on the home.
Colonial homes are symmetrical and focus the attention to the entrance of the home. If you are wanting your home to look Colonial inspired, consider adding crown molding to the outside of your home or above your windows. Add shutters, lots of shutters.
It’s time to replace the roof on your home, which shingle should you pick? Many contractors present you with a “Good, Better, Best” scenario but that is a generalized comparison of the shingles. The specific details are what will help you make your decision. Carlson Exteriors quotes CertainTeed Landmark, Landmark Pro, and Northgate shingles for roof replacement options. There are more options but these 3 really cover the basics for a homeowner wanting to replace the roof.
Landmark is our standard shingle and is our most popular roof for replacements and new construction. It is a great quality shingles. The shingle weighs 220lb per 100 sq foot. It is available in 12 different colors. Compared to the Landmark Pro and Northgate, the Landmark is more unified in color. It use to be considered a 30 year shingles but is now called a limited lifetime shingles. We generally see this shingles lasting around 20 years plus or minus a few years. If you get a roof replaced by Carlson Exteriors we do register your roof for a 4-star roof warranty with Certainteed. This is a 50 year non prorated warranty that will increase with inflation. You can transfer this roof warranty once within the first 12 years to a new homeowner. Click here to read more about the roof warranty Carlson Exteriors offers. If you are unsure how long you will be living in your current home, this will likely be the shingle for you.
The Landmark Pro shingle is the most likely upgrade for roof replacements. This shingle weighs 240 lb per 100 sq foot. There are 14 colors available in this line; each color has lighter lights and darker darks to provide more variation and texture in the overall look. The Pro shingles has a 5 year longer warranty against algae growth. The granules are made with copper which helps fight against algae growth. If part of your roof gets little sun or is covered by mature trees the Landmark Pro might be the shingles for you. For a little more money, you get a heavier shingle, a shingle more resistant to algae growth, and a shingle with more color variations.
Northgate is a great option if you are looking at upgraded shingles. This shingle weighs 320 lb per 100 sq foot – that is 100 lbs more than the Landmark. The Northgate comes in 11 colors. The colors have a higher contrast (like the Landmark Pro) but it is a more defined shadow mark. This gives a better allusion to a shaker style roof. The Northgate is also SBS Modified shingle; this makes it more flexible to withstand hail, expansion, and contraction. We generally see this roof lasting closer to 30 years since the shingle is overall more durable shingle. Since the Northgate shingles is a Class 4 Impact Resistant shingle, you should check with your home insurance to see what discounts you might qualify for. The Northgate shingle is really ideal for the homeowner who knows they will live in their home a long time and can get the return on a higher quality shingle.
Ever since covid-19 made it’s roaring appearance; industries worldwide have found themselves in whirlwind of changes, problems, and shortages. Let’s narrow the focus to just construction so you can get an idea on what you might be facing if you decide to remodel or build a new home. The shutdown ripple effect, material shortages, man-power shortages, price increases, and wage increases are all at constant play in the current market. Let’s start at the beginning:
When everything was shutdown in March 2020, many manufactures laid off employees and shut down plants completely. Depending on the state the manufacturer was in; they were required to completely shut down. Others shut down because they thought new builds and remodels would come to a big halt. They were guessing that many homeowners would not want to take on any construction projects during an unpredictable financial period. instead, homeowners found themselves working from home and wanting to improve their new “offices”. Manufacturers quickly realized their mistake in predicting the future; however it was harder to backpedal than expected. Depending on the state and it’s covid mandate, some roofing, siding, and aluminum companies decided it would be better in the long run to move some manufacturing plants out of the state and into a state with looser covid restrictions. That means they would have to retrofit an existing building, move staff, and train new staff to get a plant running again. They were still likely working with some covid restrictions and not able to produce at full capacity. This produced some serious backlog on orders.
After hurdling all that the shutdown threw at them; manufacturing plants now found themselves facing a raw material shortage. All materials from shingles to vinyl siding to aluminum gutters to the steel in garage doors are facing a higher production cost and reduced manufacturing (partially due to reduced labor forces). If plants can’t get the materials they need to produce; products get backordered and prices get raised.
Record price increases have occurred within the year. Before covid, prices would only increase once or twice a year to keep up with inflation. There would be at least a 30 day notice provided. Now it’s not surprise if there is just a 4 hour notice. This has never happened before. Prices are never stable. The manufacturers are dealing with such a volatile market in materials and strains on labor they have to keep the price changing frequently to stay profitable.
What does this mean for you?
Let’s reduce all of this to what it means for the homeowner of 2022. If you know you want to replace the siding on your home – jump on it. Unless you are ok with paying more in a couple months, don’t wait! Get your roofing selections to your contractor to lock in your price even if you aren’t ready to do the work for months. If you are building a new home, the sooner you place your selections the sooner you will have your prices locked in. We have found many homeowner building new homes, take their time in making selections. Normally we don’t like to rush homeowners into decisions but after a month the price will likely increase 5-15%. Once the order has been placed, it may take months to get in. Most contractors don’t mind you checking in for updates. It’s always nice to stay in communication during these unprecedented times.
It’s time to reside your home but what siding products should you use? Vinyl siding, James Hardie Fiber Cement siding, or LP Smartside siding? What are the pros and cons of each product? What is right for you? Let’s tackle those questions with this article.
Back to the basics– what is vinyl siding and what is considered a hard board siding?
Vinyl siding is primarily made up of PVC resin that is extruded out to make up the length of the siding piece. The top layer usually includes fade resistant material to protect the original color of the siding from fading in the sun.
Hardboard siding can cover an array of products but is meant to simulate a real wood product. It’s a solid board while vinyl siding is a shell. Our company only offers LP Smartside and James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding as hardboard options. LP Smartside is an engineered wood product including waxes, resins, and wood strands harvested from a renewable wood source. James Hardie Fiber Cement is cellulose fibers, cement, sand, water, and minor additives. Both LP Smartside and James Hardie Fiber Cement use heat and pressure (in different ways) to create their finished product. Below are 2 virtual tours of the factories.
In the photo, you can see the vinyl siding only gives the allusion of being a solid piece while LP Smartside and James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding are actually solid pieces of siding.
Pro’s of Vinyl Siding
Costs less than LP Smartside or James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding
Easier to make storm damage repairs on
Most Siding Contractors can install correctly
Wide array of colors
Con’s of Vinyl Siding
More susceptible to storm damages
No insurance discounts
No custom color options are available
Limited in profile options (Double 4″ and Double 5″ are available in most colors. Single 8″ is only available in white)
Pro’s of LP Smartside Siding
Impact resistant (may qualify for insurance discounts)
Available in standard colors or custom colors
Comes in a wide array of profiles
Looks like real painted cedar siding
Does not require and special blades or tools to install
Costs slightly less than James Hardie Fiber Cement because it’s slightly easier to install
Con’s of LP Smartside Siding
Limited contractors are skilled enough to install properly
Requires re-caulking around every 3- 5 years
Harder to make repairs on
Costs 4-5 times more than vinyl siding
Pro’s of James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding
Impact Resistant (may qualify for insurance discounts)
Fire Resistant (may qualify for insurance discounts)
Available in many profiles and styles (Board and Batten come in custom widths)
Looks like real cedar siding
Available in 700+ standard colors
Con’s of James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding
Limited contractors are skilled enough to install properly
Requires re-caulking every 3-5 years
Higher risk of product breakage in delivery
Needs special blades and tools for install
No custom colors are available (but it is available in 700+ standard colors)
Costs 4-5 times more than vinyl siding
If you plan on staying in your home for a long time, a hardboard option might be right for you if it is within budget. If you aren’t sure how long you will live in your home or are trying to update on a slimmer budget, vinyl siding might be the best option for you.
If you are building new or remodeling your current house, it can be a daunting task to pick out the selections. The small samples can make it hard to envision the final product. While not exact, we have a few different programs we can offer as a service to you. If you are happy with our current stock of prints or houses we can use that to generate a rendering of your home. If you wish to see your exact home we can upload that.
Have you ever thought about making changes to the exterior of your home, but not sure where to start? If it is difficult for you to envision what your house could look like, you may be interested in one of our new services called Hover. The process is easy, pictures are taken of your home and you will end up with a complete 3D rendering. After that, any combination of exterior products can be added to your house. You will be able to see different colors and materials. If you have wondered what your house could look like, take advantage of this service! If you end up using Carlson Exteriors as your contractor, the design fee is credited to your invoice total!
Making color selections can be very difficult and stressful for first time home builders; but it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few easy steps to get you started in knowing what you want, but just as important, what you don’t want.
Drive Around Local Subdivisions
Your local neighborhoods are great resources to find combinations that you like. We usually suggest newer neighborhoods because are more likely to be up to date on all product styles and color offerings. Take photos and record address of homes that strike your fancy. These are great to share with your contractor.
Pebblestone clay siding, wicker handsplit shakes, red gable accents, white trim in Normal il
James Hardie Siding panels and real cedar siding in Heyworth Il
Look at Pinterest or Instagram
These two platforms are chalk full of photos. You will definitely find a wide array of styles, colors, and combinations. This is perfect to do when you have a few extra minutes or want to look late or night. The one downside to looking on Pinterest or Instagram is that not all products you see are guaranteed to be provided in your area or by your contractor.
Browse Your Contractor’s Portfolio
Your contractor should have tons of photos readily available to you on their website. We love asking clients to start here because we know exactly what products/colors are installed on each home.
Meet With Your Contractor
Often times customers want to know what’s available in their budget or get a little reassurance from a professional. Meeting with your contractor lays a great foundation. They can even go through their online photos with you to help you visualize.
Royal Weathered grey siding with Black trim in bloomington il
Mastic Silver Grey siding, Mastic Cedar Discovery handsplit shakes in silver grey, white trim and Morie black roof
Mastic Deep Granite siding with Royal Weathered Grey hand split shakes, white trim, and moire black roof in Bloomington, IL
Customer testimonials and customer references seem like the same thing on the surface but they are very different and serve different purposes. They are equally important.
So what’s the difference?
Let’s start with the more familiar: Customer Reviews. You can find these on the contractor’s website, Facebook, and any Third Party website (like Google, BBB, Yelp, Home Advisor, etc.). When you start the hunt for the best roofer or perfect siding repair company, you should start by looking up reviews from previous customers. Click here to be taken to Carlson Exteriors’ page of testimonials.
Find Google reviews by clicking where the red arrow is pointing to
Example of Google Reviews
Things to take note of to help you gauge the contractor’s professionalism:
How recent are these reviews/ testimonials? How frequent do they occur? How many are there? You want to see a lot of recent and frequent reviews. Take in to consideration any off-seasons for exterior contractors; they will have less reviews during winter.
Do they talk about their experience working with the sales person/ Project Manager? A sales person or a Project Manager will likely be your first and main contact to the company. They should not apply any sales pressures or gimmicks – only treating you respect. They should be easy to communicate with and happy to answer any questions you may have.
Is Customer Service a common theme inreviews? For some reason, it’s easy to forget that contractors need to provide a high level of customer service. Remember you are paying them for their services.
Are there repeat customers? The true testament to a contractor is if you can find evidence of returning customers. If a homeowner was truly satisfied with a contractor’s work, that contractor will be the first one that homeowner calls.
How did the contractor handle mistakes? Even the best contractor is still human; they make mistakes. What separates the good contractors from the bad is how the mistakes are handled. Can you find evidence that problems were handled in a timely manner and to the customer’s satisfaction?
Example of BBB Reviews
Example of online reviews on Yellowpages.com
Now let’s talk about customer references! When you meet with your potential contractors ask them for a list of previous customers you can call. This way you can ask previous customers how the whole working experience was like. Perhaps you are shy and are not interested in calling a handful of strangers. Ultimately, customer references are more meatier, more detailed than customer reviews. Look to see if your contractor has any Customer Spotlights on their website. Examples of that are: