Keeping your home air, water, and bug tight is easily accomplished. Keeping your home’s environment comfortable starts with correctly installing siding around windows. The most secure method of installing siding around windows includes having a metal-cladded nailing flange against the frame of the window to limit intrusions of insects, water, and debris. When siding is installed over the metal sheets, it forms an even more secure and visually pleasing final finish.
“The biggest mistake I see homeowners make is obsessing on statistics about products they buy for their homes,” says J.W. Sims, Owner of Sims Roofing. “Don’t misconstrue what I’m saying – product performance is important; however, even the best products can be reduced to average or below average performance as a result of poor installation.”
In today’s marketplace, consumers have access to more information than ever before. The Internet is a huge resource for homeowners and can be especially useful when learning about product options that are available. However, what homeowners want to avoid doing is relying solely on the product’s statistics regarding performance. The second part of the equation revolves around the contractor you choose to do the work and what techniques the contractor uses to install the products you choose.
“As specialists in installing replacement windows, siding and roofing, we concentrate our efforts on our installation techniques,” says Sims. “Frankly, if we don’t, superior products will perform at a much lower level.”
Air, Water, & Bug Tight
Whether installing replacement windows or siding, or repairing what has been installed incorrectly, craftsmanship is the key to keeping your home comfortable. In both instances, these materials are your home’s first line of defense against the elements. If the job is done right, there should be next to no air infiltration, zero water infiltration, and no insect egress.
To ensure successful construction, monitor how the installation process is handled. Following are a few thoughts that may give you a frame of reference as you work through your project:
• Begin with ½” Celotex insulation board on all walls (available in up to 1″ thickness)
• Tape all seams with Insultape II to eliminate air infiltration
• Next, use a minimum quality siding of .044 mil. thickness installed properly for a quality finished look
• Install quality vinyl accessories specific to the siding brand
• Finish your new look with quality aluminum soffit and fascia products, for a clean look and proper air ventilation into the attic.
Note: Improperly installed siding will often look wavy and reduce the look and performance no matter what grade of siding that you purchased.
• Start with a quality window installed correctly
• Stuff the rough opening with batted insulation
• Wrap the window with a custom bent cladding to create a self enclosed unit. A built in “J” channel eliminates the old style ugly vinyl “J” channel
• All appropriate areas are then caulked and smoothed properly with 25 yr. silicone
• Finally, a cladded nailing flange is taped to the wall with Weather- Max Extreme window tape to complete the ultimate self-enclosed unit.
Craftsmanship Is Key
“We know proper installation is a key to getting the results you want,” says Sims. “One of our suppliers guarantees if you install their new Cedar Max siding on your home correctly, your energy use will be reduced by 20%. While most people do not track this, one customer did track the number of therms needed to heat his home and found a 33% improvement. Having a skilled contractor is a must.”
“In terms of siding, you must remember when replacing siding, the vast majority of jobs are existing structures. This means foundations are settling and the ‘lines’ are not even, or square. This, in turn, means the contractor’s ability to understand the nature of the project is very important and that the grade of siding you are using can have an impact on how the finished project looks. For example, a less expensive vinyl siding can be nailed and cut improperly to create a wave and un-level look on your “new” wall. Higher quality siding will hold its looks and perform better with the cost being only 10-15% more.”
“The goal you have to have as a homeowner is to find a contactor that can help keep your home air, water, and bug tight,” says Sims.