No Maintenance Exteriors?

I’ve received some flak recently from purveyors of vinyl siding. Those of you who follow my blog know I hate vinyl siding. It poisons people when it’s made, and when you’re done with it, you have to send it to the dump because it’s not recycled. Furthermore, while it’s on your house, you are deluded into thinking you have a “no-maintenance exterior.” I hate to shatter the illusion, but that simply doesn’t exist.

My house is a 1957 split level. Originally, it had wood siding on it. Some areas were in a board and baton style, and other areas were long lengths of pretty cedar siding with an eight-inch reveal. What’s more, the patterns of the original siding highlighted the low-slung style of this house.

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Easy DIY Projects With Big Results

When we bought our house, it was a “granny house.” No offense to the grannies out there, but everything in the house was either pink, or ruffles, or completely vintage and spotlessly clean circa 1957. The house even smelled of lady’s powder.

“Granny” is an adjective that no homeowner wants to hear when someone is talking about their house, but it’s a great descriptor to hear when you are buying a home. It generally means you will get a house with good bones, but perhaps some stylistic or cosmetic issues. So you can buy the house a bit cheaper than if it had been updated, and then update the house the way YOU would like. This was the case with our house.

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Anti-Vinyl, And Proud of It

One of the things that distinguishes a higher-end remodeling project from a lower-end one is the products that are used.

Typically, a less-expensive project will use cheaper products. Many times, these cheaper products will not last as a long as higher-priced ones. If you think about it, you can purchase cheaper products two or three times over within the same time frame that a more expensive product would last.

Another thing to remember is that cheaper products will typically pollute more than more expensive ones. An example of this is vinyl siding. The case against vinyl siding is illustrated nicely in this video clip from the documentary Blue Vinyl.

Vinyl siding is not recyclable. It pollutes when it’s made — and later when it’s removed and goes to the dump. No one else will tell you this. The guy selling vinyl siding door-to-door in your neighborhood is certainly not going to tell you this. He will tell you it’s a green product that insulates your home. He wants to sell vinyl siding, a lot of it.

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Think You Have a No-Maintenance Exterior? Think Again

When I was a little girl, I helped my dad on hundreds of home projects. It’s on these home projects that I cut my teeth learning to work on houses. My dad did everything from roofing to tree removal (dangerous) to kitchens and bathroom renovations and lots of other stuff.

Dad’s still a big DIY guy when it comes to home renovations, though he is terrible at car maintenance. I guess he keeps dreaming of the no-maintenance car – just like a lot of folks think they have a no-maintenance home. Let’s take a look at a few of the “no-maintenance home myths” dealing with the exterior of homes. We’ll deal with interior-maintenance myths in another post.

Vinyl Siding – One of the materials used in the name of “no maintenance” is vinyl siding. Many people think if they have vinyl siding, they will never need to paint, clean walls or caulk. As you know choosing the vinyl kayak for fishing is very important for beginners. Not true. (Not to mention that vinyl is not recyclable, like wood or metal siding is. It releases toxins when it’s made, and it goes to the landfill when you are done with it.)

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