Denese Bottrell, public relations manager for James Hardie, agrees that the traditional look is what the overwhelming majority of homeowners are looking for in siding. Her perspective on vinyl lap siding differs from Skoog’s in that she believes color is more of a deciding factor in preventing the design of a lackluster neighborhood than material is.
“When you look back at the original use of siding, you have your charming historic neighborhoods. One of the things that gave them that look was color. With brick and stucco, you really can’t achieve that look because it ends up giving you that monotone feel throughout the street,” Bottrell says.
Walter Hoyt, director of marketing communications, CertainTeed, echoes Bottrell’s hope for traditional lap siding, saying it lends itself to more color options now than it historically has.
“Homeowners are looking to differentiate; that may be the craftsman style, rear entrances or a painted streetscape. It’s important for builders because it’s something different instead of just offering your standard brick or stucco box,” Bottrell says.
James Hardie’s Color Plus collection offers 12 prepainted colors of fiber cement lap siding, facilitating the historic, colorful look. The company now offers a 1-in. trim product as part of its Hardie Trim line, that comes prepainted and allows the homeowner the same freedom with their architectural details as they have with their siding.
Homeowners who hold to their preference for a traditional siding look have long struggled with maintaining the integrity and color of their siding, which prompted manufacturers of engineered wood and fiber cement to begin offering products that provide the qualities of wood without the same maintenance requirements.
As advances in these technologies surge forward, homeowners are beginning to apply their favorite looks, once offered by previously difficult-to-work-with materials, to their homes using manufactured materials. And cedar shake is no exception.
Paul Mackie, Western area manager, Western Red Cedar Lumber Association, is not surprised by the recent popularity of products made to imitate cedar and cedar shake.
“Everyone’s trying to look like Western red cedar. It’s really the versatility of it, and the natural beauty is unsurpassed. It allows the specifier or the home-owner to create a unique look,” Mackie says.
Mackie’s claim seems to be supported by the variety of materials now offering the cedar shake look. Companies like CertainTeed, Temple-Inland and Collins all offer their own versions of this rustic style of siding.
Collins offers a line of TruWood Cedar Shake, a composite wood product designed to replicate western red cedar shake. Each piece is 10 in. wide by 16 in. long, and is installed in pieces, similar to lap siding.
“I think it has the look of a rustic Western home,” says Jim Sargent, manager of distribution accounts for Collins. “We see the trend coming back around to the Western home look, with lap siding or the look of cedar.”
Temple-Inland introduced its CypressShake engineered wood lap siding in 2005. The product is designed to provide the rustic look of cedar, while allowing the same kind of installation as horizontal lap siding, in 16-ft. lengths.
“In the central part of the United States, shake is used as an accent product, but out West, an entire home will be wrapped in a shake pattern. We developed (CypressShake) for a specific builder in the mountain states; then it caught on from there,” says Pat Aldred, Temple-Inland’s vice president, fiber products.
“The shake look is popular,” CertainTeed’s Hoyt says. “People love the rustic look of shakes.”
CertainTeed also has joined the world of shake products, offering a polymer siding product called Cedar Impressions. The product is offered in a variety of profiles and colors, including 5-, 7-, and 9-in. shake, a rustic profile that looks like it’s hand-split, and half-round or fishscale profiles.