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Exterior Siding: Smart Choices with Lots of Options

     Alaskans who are remodeling, planning to add insulation or building a new home are choosing exterior siding more often than ever. Exterior siding is an easy choice, given the various types of products on the market, and the fact that once you've installed the siding, it requires little or no maintenance for years to come.
     While a novice might think the only differences between types of siding are the color, it's only one aspect to consider. In fact, there are many advantages and disadvantages to the types of siding available today - from fiber cement to engineered wood, vinyl or metal. Following is an overview of the four most popular exterior siding choices available at Spenard Builders Supply (SBS), and details on what makes each a good choice, depending on your project, personal preferences and budget.

      Low maintenance, moisture resistance and a handsome appearance are some of the reasons many Alaskans are choosing "MaxiPlank" and "MaxiPanel". Manufactured by MaxiTile, this siding is a durable, fiber cement siding that has the long life and low-maintenance characteristics of concrete materials, yet the beauty and workability of timber materials. MaxiSiding products won't rot or warp and resist damage from moisture and salt spray. They come with a 50-year limited, transferable warranty. Both MaxiPlank and MaxiPanel come with smooth or textured surfaces to give the appearance of wood, but without the flaws and knots. The product can be painted on-site or pre-painted.
      MaxiPlank lap siding works for a variety of applications including siding, fascia, fence boards and deck skirting. The planks come in a variety of sizes, with the most common size of 8-1/4 inches by 12 feet. Classic Cedar offers a natural raised grain that looks and feels like real wood. Other choices include Smooth (smooth sawn texture), Rustic Roughsawn (rugged cut cedar texture), Woodgrain (a bold weathered Pine texture), Colonial Cedar and Colonial Smooth. The "Colonial" adds character to the architecture with a smooth channel at the top edge of the lap siding. A Scallop Cedar and Scallop Smooth "Accent Series" also is available for scallop and shake styles for Victorian and architectural embellishments.
      MaxiPanel is designed for use as a vertical siding, but also can be used for soffit, gables, parapets, porches and deck skirting. MaxiPanel is available in 4-foot by 8-, 9- or 10-foot sizes. Style choices include Fiesta Stucco, perfect for Tudor-style homes or Cedar for accent affects. The V-groove panel is the preferred choice for manufactured housing. A primed Smooth panel also is available, that can be treated for a stucco look.

     Another popular option for exterior siding is "SmartSide", a treated engineered wood siding from Louisiana-Pacific Corporation, and a part of the SmartSystem of exterior products. This is a system that combines the natural beauty of cedar with the consistency and performance of treated engineered wood. SmartSide looks like solid wood, yet performs better. And come from an environmentally sustainable source of fast-growing trees.
      SmartLap is affordable, strong and stable and comes with a protective edge coating. It resists rot, insects and moisture, as well as checking, shrinking, cupping and splitting. SmartLap siding lays flat on a wall and is easy to install. The product is available in various thickness and width sizes and a convenient 16-foot length. Custom sizes are available by special order. The surface is generously pre-primed, ready for paint.
      SmartSide has the look, warmth and workability of natural wood without the raised grain and splits in the veneer. The product can be nailed directly to studs and features a paint-ready, primed surface. SmartSide is available in various thicknesses and in a 4-foot wide by 8-, 9- or 10-foot length.

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