Looking Good:  New siding products add luster to a home's appearance.
Looking Good: New siding products add luster to a home's appearance.

Exterior siding is first thing people notice as they approach a house, and manufacturers introducing new products in the past year are making sure they like what they see.

From new colors in siding, new siding itself, and a variety of innovative trims, new and renovated homes are poised to look better than ever. But manufacturers know, too, there’s more to siding than meets the eye. This year, they’ve gone beyond looks to make not only the homeowner happy in the long term, but also favor the installer.

On the surface

For aesthetic effect, CertainTeed in June introduced new colors for two of its vinyl-siding product lines. The four new shades— Forest, Seagrass, Charcoal Gray and Autumn Red—brings the MainStreet line to 24 colors. The American Legend line adds the same four colors plus Hearthstone and Autumn Yellow.

Available in seven styles with wood-grain or brushed textures, MainStreet vinyl siding features RigidFormT 160 technology designed to withstand wind load pressures of up to 160 miles per hour. American Legend is available in three styles, and features a wood-grain appearance plus GripLock, which uses larger-than-average locks for secure, snap-fit installation.

“CertainTeed offers the largest color palette in the industry, so we expanded the available colors to provide even more freedom of choice that spans a broad range of project budgets,” says Brian Kirn, product manager for CertainTeed Siding.

In May, CertainTeed introduced Restoration Classic, a premium-thickness cladding available in five styles—three profiles in a Select Cedar finish with a natural wood-grain appearance, and two smooth, architecturally accurate profiles designed in the tradition of 17th-century American craftsmanship to replicate the look of sanded, sealed and painted wood.

Also hitting the street is APEX’s pultrated Fiberglas system called Ultrex, which resists extreme heat, extreme cold, high humidity, saltwater, and major storm systems and boasts a 50+ year life expectancy. It comes in 10 colors and in 4- and 7-inch widths, with either a smooth or wood grain finish.

Factory-applied clips hold the siding away from the weather barrier, creating a natural evaporation and drainage plane where air is free to circulate. In the event water gets behind the siding, the moisture barrier prevents it from penetrating walls, allowing it to drain, while air continues to freely circulate, keeping the space dry while significantly decreasing the occurrence of trapped moisture.

Kleer Lumber Inc., an American manufacturer of cellular PVC building products, recently introduced KleerWrap Post Wraps to improve the appearance and durability of exterior posts. It claims to be faster and easier than previous products to install.

“With KleerWrap Post Wrap, a contractor cuts the assembled wrap to the desired length and wraps it around the post,” says Jack Delaney, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Kleer Lumber.

“He then applies a small bead of Kleer Cellular PVC Adhesive to each of the joints along the length of the KleerWrap Post Wrap and snaps it into place,” Delaney says.

Manufactured from cellular PVC to look and feel like painted wood, KleerWrap Post Wraps are available in nominal 4-, 6- and 8-inch sizes to wrap 4-by-4 and 6-by-6 posts. The product resists moisture and insects and can be installed in direct contact with the ground.

Foundry Stacked Stone, released by Tapco in November 2012, moves vinyl siding away from the plank look.

The siding features a texture cast from North Carolina quarried stone, an enhanced coloring process that delivers undertones and tonal differences and a textured grout line. Foundry Stacked Stone may be cut with snips and hung like traditional vinyl panels. It claims a low, waste-minimizing scrap rate of less than 2%.

“The Foundry Stone Collection is all about versatility and easy, terrific curb appeal,” says Jonathan Wierengo, vice president of marketing at The Tapco Group. “With Foundry Stacked Stone, you get an attractive, contemporary look that goes great with a wide variety of siding material like fiber cement, vinyl cedar and stucco.”