House Parts: Siding

Here are some updated photos of the Rowayton House. It is getting its siding put on and Carlos and his team are doing a great job!  


The siding is James Hardie Hardie Board - a fiber cement composite product. The trim is MiraTEC  which "are manufactured with environmentally preferable phenolic resins use recycled content and have no added formaldehyde". We are using these products because they greatly reduce the need for maintenance (including painting and cleaning with harsh chemicals) and last a very long time (both can easily go 20 years without a new paint job and will last indefinitely.)  And by using these products we are not using raw natural recourses- like Cedar,etc. Plus these products look great. We are VERY picky regarding aesthetics and these pass the test.


We do not use vinyl products on any of our houses (unless ABSOLUTELY necessary for very small applications where nothing else will hold up to the weather). We do not use vinyl becuase it has such a negative impact on the environment and the people who live in the vicinity of vinyl plants (cancer, mostly in the south). Please check out the film Blue Vinyl for a better understanding. plus vinyl looks awful and is NOT problem free...


What are all of those battens doing there? You can see vertical wood battens all over the house. These are for letting the siding 'breathe'. Allowing the siding to breathe reduces moisture build up behind the siding and makes the siding and the paint job last even LONGER! (This also works with cedar or any other siding.)


We have clad the house with a structural insulated sheathing (SIS) material from Dow (a 1" thick board that replaces normal sheathing- like plywood or OBS) that does the double job of giving stability to the framing and a continous layer of insulation for a much better thermal envelope (more on that in the Insulation Post which is coming I promise! I have been so busy and that post will be a meaty one!) Anyway the SIS also has the added benifit of providing an air barrier- sort of like Tyvek. We have taped all of the seams at the edges of each board and at each door and window,etc. Reducing the amount of air infiltrating into the house does the same thing that the airspace behind the shingles does- it tremendously reduces the amount of moisture and deterioration  within the wall. And that cuts down on mold, mildew, dust mites and spiders,etc. never mind rot! AND it makes the insulation perform much better.

Air moves moisture. Hot (air) moves toward cold, moist moves towards dry (usually via the air). Basic thermodynamics. We want moisute to stay out of walls and away from siding or anything else that likes to be eaten by mold and mildew. We want to control temperature and moisture.

I always say: Its like a swimming pool. You don't want any cracks in your swimming pool. If you have cracks and you want your pool to be full- it will seep out thru the bottom. If you have cracks and you want your pool to be empty you will have water seeping in from underground. You want to control when water goes in and when it goes out. (You can't control it all- think splashing or evaporation.) But you can do you best to control it where you can. Then YOU decide when to add or subtract water.

Your house is the same. Your walls are the same. YOU can control the air and moisture in your home (or you equipment can do so automatically. You can either have a passive or active system monitor your air and moisture.) But you know exactly how, when and where it is coming and going. This also allows for installing air filtration systems. A tight, well sealed, well insulated house is never lacking for fresh air if done correctly. Simple air exchange- fans,etc. easily assure the homeowner of pleanty of fresh air... More on that in the Insulation part also.