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Exterior Siding Renovation Guide: A Checklist of the Steps to Follow

Last modified: 2021-03-24 | Approximate reading time 9 mins

Are you planning to renovate your exterior siding soon? To help you prepare this project, we have created this checklist/guide where you can learn more about the different materials, the stages of the work and the questions to ask yourself before launching the project.

When installing exterior siding, it is best to hire a specialized contractor, because if the installation is poorly done, your home will be exposed to the elements. We will also share a few tips for choosing your exterior siding contractor.

Would you like to jump directly to the checklist? Click here!

BEFORE YOU LAUNCH THE PROJECT

Different exterior siding materials

Before you start purchasing the materials and submitting your project on our platform to be put in touch with certified contractors, you should take the time to ask yourself a few questions. In doing so, you will be better prepared when the time comes to answer contractors' questions and receive their quotes.

THE KEYWORDS OF AN EXTERIOR CLADDING PROJECT

Durable

First, it is important to choose an exterior siding that protects the house from the elements. After all, this is the main role of this type of material. Therefore, you will have to choose a material that suits your tastes and your budget, but above all, that offers good long-term resistance. Keep these criteria in mind when shopping.

Easy maintenance

If you don't feel like spending time and money on maintaining your exterior siding, some materials will be less recommended. For example, wood shingles might look very nice, but if you want to maintain a certain colour, you will need to paint or stain it frequently. Also, you will not be able to use a pressure washer to clean the siding, which is too bad as this tool can be very useful and economical.

Cohesive

As for the aesthetic aspect of the cladding, you will definitely choose your material according to your personal preferences. However, you also have to think about the fact that you might sell the house one day. Ideally, the colours and textures of the siding will be well harmonized with the environment that surrounds them.

Also note that in some areas, the colours and types of materials that you can pick are regulated by the authorities, in order to maintain cohesion between the houses. Make sure you are well informed about this before making your purchases.

HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR NEEDS

Still haven't chosen your exterior cladding material? Before making a purchase that you are going to regret, you should ask yourself a few questions that will help you better understand your needs.

QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN PLANNING AN EXTERIOR SIDING PROJECT

Brick exterior siding

What is my budget for the exterior siding renovation project?

First and foremost, you need to make sure you have enough money available to carry out your project from A to Z and to deal with unexpected situations. In general, we are talking about 10% more than the amount planned for the work, so as not to find yourself in a bad situation if there is ever an issue during the project.

To give you a general idea of ​​the average budget to expect for an exterior siding project, you can use our cost calculator.

Am I going to replace all the siding or just some of it?

You may also wonder whether you absolutely need to replace the entire exterior siding. Why do you want to change the current material? Is it because it's not to your liking? Is it because it is in bad shape? Does the entire siding need to be replaced, or just a few sections? If so, maybe you can get by on a smaller budget!

What are my aesthetic preferences for exterior siding?

Before making specific choices and even meeting contractors, do not hesitate to look at the different types of exterior siding available on the market. You can browse Pinterest, various websites devoted to architecture (Architectural Digest, Dezeen) and our blog to discover the aesthetic aspects of coatings.

For example, here is an article that presents examples of exterior siding:

Home exterior siding

Are there any regulations in my area for the type of exterior siding on my home?

As mentioned previously, in some cities and neighbourhoods, there are regulations to follow regarding the choice of your exterior siding. To find out if such is the case, you should visit your city's website, or contact them by phone.

This is all the more important if you live in a heritage district like Old Quebec, Cabbagetown in Toronto or Gastown in Vancouver for example.

WHO ARE THE EXPERTS TO CALL FOR AN EXTERIOR SIDING PROJECT?

If you decide to hire a contractor for your project, which is highly recommended, you should opt for an exterior siding specialist. Note that there are contractors who only install certain materials and who are therefore even more specialized in their field of expertise. This is even more true for exterior brick cladding, where masons will have to intervene.

However, for other materials that are easier to install, such as vinyl, there will be more contractors offering this type of service and they will not need to be specialized. However, when applicable, you will have to check if they have the right licence to install exterior cladding. If you are using our platform to find your contractors, we will have already performed this verification for you.

STANDARDS AND REGULATIONS FOR EXTERIOR CLADDING

We have already talked about urban planning regulations that exist in certain areas and that may affect your choice of material. However, you should also know that you will have to respect the building standards for siding installation. If this is not done properly, you could put yourself at risk if you have to make a claim against your insurance.

Therefore, it's important to respect the standards according to what is listed in your local building code and according to the recommendations of the material's manufacturer. This is another good reason to call in experts for the installation, as they have the knowledge and experience to do it properly.

DO YOU NEED A PERMIT FOR AN EXTERIOR SIDING PROJECT?

If more than 50% of the siding's surface needs to be replaced, you will likely need to obtain a building permit from your municipality. Make sure to get in touch with your city's permit office from the early stages of the project, because depending on where you live, obtaining the permit could take several weeks.

To learn more about building permits, check out our article:

THE BUDGET FOR AN EXTERIOR SIDING PROJECT

The costs for installing exterior siding can vary widely depending on the type of siding you will be installing, the size of the surface to be covered and the complexity of the installation.

To give you a very general idea of ​​the costs that you will have to budget for your project, here is an article to check out:

And use our cost calculator:

You should meet with 2-3 contractors to compare the prices they are offering. Remember to take into account the value for money they offer and the number of services included in their quote.

TYPES OF MATERIALS FOR EXTERIOR SIDINGS

There is a wide variety of exterior siding materials available on the market. We will show you the materials that are most often used in Canada so that you can compare them.

More and more often, we also see a mixture of exterior coverings, which is an option to explore if you like to create a unique look.

Check out these articles for more information:

Vinyl exterior siding

Vinyl exterior siding

Vinyl siding is one of the most widely used siding materials as it is affordable and easy to install. In addition, this type of siding is light, and it is available in several colours, which means that it can be well suited to all tastes.

Among its disadvantages, it should be known that if the installation of the siding is poorly done, the material may warp. Also, when exposed to the sun, the colours may fade. Finally, temperature variations can cause contractions, thus leading to cracks. However, in general, vinyl is easy to replace.

Aluminum siding

Metal siding

Aluminum exterior siding is another great option, as it is generally affordable and stronger than vinyl in most cases. Aluminum siding can be painted to suit your colour preferences. It is resistant to wind and temperature changes and does not shrink. 

However, it can be damaged if hit, and it doesn't offer good protection for fires. 

Wood siding

Wood exterior siding

Wood is a highly versatile material, as it is used as much for contemporary style homes as for heritage buildings. It can be painted and stained to change the look of the house. Wood siding can be relatively affordable initially.

However, it requires a lot of maintenance, between oil treatments, staining, painting and replacing certain parts. In addition, wood has poor resistance to fires and must be treated to prevent mould.

Fibre cement panels

Fibre cement panels

Fibre cement panels are made from a mixture of cement, sand and cellulose. There are smooth or textured models, depending on your preference. Manufacturers claim that it offers great resistance to bad weather and pests.

However, certain organizations such as the Order of Architects of Quebec warn against its use, as they have noticed many degradations over time. If you are interested in this material, you will have to see if this order of caution is still in effect and if the manufacturers have made adjustments to deal with its defects.

Wood fibre boards (canexel)

Revêtement canexel

Photo: Maibec Canexel

Canexel panels are increasingly popular for exterior cladding. This is mainly due to the fact that they are easy to maintain and are more resistant to humidity and sunlight than other types of wood siding.

It is also a highly resistant material that is respectful to the environment. One can choose from a nice variety of colours and textures. Wood panels are made from a blend of engineered wood, wood fibre, resin and wax.

Acrylic coatings

Acrylic coatings are manufactured in a factory from a mixture of concrete or expanded polystyrene with an acrylic base. They are resistant to bad weather and offer a nice look to a contemporary style home.

You should know that acrylic coatings must be installed by a professional. Finally, if you are concerned about the environment, know that this is not the most eco-friendly material.

Suretouch

Revêtement extérieur suretouch
Photo: Suretouch

If you like the look of brick and stone, but don't feel like spending a lot of money on your project, Suretouch can be a good option. This material is recognized for its insulating abilities and is quite easy to install.

When the installation is well done, it is a highly waterproof material. Also, know that you can just as easily apply Suretouch on an old house as on a new house.

Among the less positive aspects, given that this material has only been around for a few years, there is little documentation of its durability. However, thus far, the feedback is positive!

Do you want to learn more about the subject? Read our article What to know about Suretouch exterior siding.

Brick or stone exterior cladding

Brick exterior siding

We end with a timeless classic, brick and stone! Although installation and materials can be expensive, brick and stone are known for their durability.

If the installation is done properly, brick or stone siding will be very resistant and will require little maintenance.

Among the disadvantages is the price, which is usually among the highest compared to other exterior siding materials. It's also important to make sure your house is sturdy enough and ready to accommodate a heavier material. If this is not the case, you may have to pay additional amounts. 

Here are a couple of articles to check out:

MAINTENANCE OF AN EXTERIOR SIDING SURFACE

When it comes to maintaining your exterior siding, the process will depend on the type of material you have chosen. Some materials are easier to maintain than others. For example, if your siding is made of vinyl, you can use a pressure washer to wash the surfaces. However, if your siding is made of wood, this tool is not recommended.

To know how to maintain your siding material, do not hesitate to consult with the manufacturer. This will ensure that you use the right technique to clean and renew the colour of the material.

Here are some other articles published on our blog that you may find useful on the subject of exterior siding:

A CHECKLIST OF THE STEPS TO FOLLOW FOR AN EXTERIOR SIDING RENOVATION PROJECT

Click here to access the PDF version

Exterior siding checklist

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