New Materials, New Possibilities Decking & Siding

There may be a distinct charm to weathered clapboard and rustic-looking wooden siding, but from a practical perspective, that pleasing patina is really the sign of decay and deterioration. For an HOA board, it’s also the sign of major expense to come.

The advent of modern building materials has done wonders for rehabs of old buildings, where maintenance—or lack of it—is a very real issue. Condo associations and real estate investors alike are benefiting from the introduction of a new array of options when it comes to siding and decking materials, the old standbys being replaced by a new generation of choices that promise longer life spans with less maintenance.

These days, when existing porches or decks begin to deteriorate, they are being replaced with plain, pressure-treated lumber or longer-lasting composite materials. When old-time wood siding fails, it’s being replaced by vinyl siding or even fiber cement, both of which can mimic wood to a precise degree. Because decks and siding have to be replaced so often, it is in these areas that condominiums can realize the greatest savings—or losses, if they choose the wrong material or fall victim to shoddy installation.

Installation Problems

Materials and installation methods for decks and siding, whether tried and true or new and trendy, fall in and out of favor, for any number of reasons. HOAs can help their bottom line enormously while looking sharp—as long as they work with their contractor to choose the best product for their needs, and to see that it’s installed properly. Choose a lesser material or fumble the install, and the condo can be nickel-and-dimed to death by maintenance costs while falling short in the curb appeal department.

An alert and proactive contractor can be an HOA’s first line of defense against siding-related mishaps. Lenny Capriglione, operations manager of Aiese & Associates Contracting in Matawan recalls a project in which an association intended to simply paint their exterior cedar siding—until it was discovered that the majority of the wood was damaged. Painting over it would have sealed in the decay and allowed it to spread unchecked until it let in moisture—which could lead to mold contamination, health problems for residents, and major structural damage over time.

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