Siding - Everything You Need to Know When Building a New Home
Rob: I'll just give everybody maybe one more minute here. Everybody's rounding out their last, hopefully meeting before lunchtime and now hopping on to this one. We didn't interrupt your lunchtime. Did we, Peter?
Peter: I haven't taken it yet.
Peter: No worries. Sure, I can skip a few lunches. Darn.
Rob: All right. Well, let's get started.
Peter: All right.
Rob: Hopefully, I think we've got a pretty good attendance now. First of all, thank everybody for joining. I'll start just by saying that we're going to keep it really conversational and free flowing throughout the course of this. Yeah, we're really just thankful that everybody made the time to join us and hopefully, you will, in fact, leave today knowing everything you need to know when building a new home as it's related to siding, at least most of what you know, anyway. And we have the right person for the job to help us really understand everything we do need to know. Getting into it, kind of just how we're going to go through this so that everybody has an idea who is attending. I'll quickly talk about Livio, what we do. I'll give Peter the opportunity to talk about Peninsula Siding and discuss more all about really what his company does and where they excel.
I'm then going to go into a quick overview, where we can talk kind of at a high level. There's a lot of content there for everything there is to know about siding. So unfortunately, we won't be able to maybe dive into every last topic, but hopefully, overview gives everybody a good idea of what siding is and where it's used and everything else. Durability and maintenance, being another agenda item that will dive into. Design and aesthetics being another. Installation and then pricing. And then we'll try to leave as much time as we can for kind of a Q&A session. And there's two ways to do Q&A. So, participants, you guys can raise your hands and I can promote you to speak on live camera. That's one way to do it if you feel comfortable in doing so. The other way to do it is to message using the Q&A section there at the top of the screen. You should be able to submit any questions just via writing as well if that's where you feel more comfortable doing. So, either way, but hopefully we'll leave plenty of time to answer any sort of questions that might be there.
So, diving right into it. Livio, who are we? What do we do? We are a general contractor based out of the San Francisco Bay Area. And we have a fairly unique business model. We specialize in building custom single-family homes. And we do so in a way that's a vertically integrated model where we have a lot of in-house resources to best facilitate and cater towards providing the consumer, in which case a homeowner, the best experience possible. And one of the ways we do that is we partner with some of the best and most renowned and accomplished subcontractors in the Bay Area, one of which we have with us today Peninsula Siding. For those of you who have joined a little bit late, we'll give Peter the opportunity to speak next about Peninsula Siding and everything. They've been able to accomplish in their tenure and more.
Getting a little bit more into our business model. We have a distributed model that enables us to have everything from, you know, really high-grade procurement process and a very engineering driven approach in modelling everything in the forefront and a dedicated project manager who ensure that all the clients that we're serving are really trying to have an A plus experience throughout the entire process. That's what we're about and that's what our model is all built around. Navneet Aron is our principal and CEO, Rob here, I'm the head of operations and I oversee really all the field work that there is to make and also some of the pre-con efforts. Jason, who heads up our acquisitions and Manju, who's our director of design and marketing as well.
And we have a large team, right? And the team is dedicated to making sure that again, you as a client have the best experience possible. Or for those of you who are joining us from a different maybe the design field or architecture field, really the goal is to get everybody involved early on in the process to mesh and produce ultimately the best product possible by creating a really integrated process in vertical integration through the course of modelling, material selections, procurement, you name it. With that said, I'll introduce Peter. Peter with Peninsula Siding company. Peter, you want to give everybody a rundown of who you guys are?
Peter: Well, obviously we're Peninsula Siding Company, we do install siding. We really live in the James Hardy, the pre-manufactured world of siding. Most of our work is taking older homes, taking off siding and restoring them to just beautiful exterior siding with using either a manufactured product or real wood. It's really rare how much real wood we don't use but we have our own installers. We have a team of nine that install siding and I'll do fiber cement, wood shingles. We've been in the Bay Area. We've been attached to a contractor, SCA Construction for 30 years but we finally spun off that company and started this division, Peninsula Siding. Pretty much brand-new homes, retail, you know, older homes. Very little commercial. We kind of stay away from commercial. But yeah, we're a small niche. We love the end result. We've become more of a design firm just to help designers pick siding, what makes sense what doesn't make sense. But yeah, we just love what we do and we kept it small so that we can really cater to every single house. We treat them like their own house. But yeah, that's pretty much Peninsula Siding.
Rob: Awesome. Peter, what's your background? If you don't mind.
Peter: Years and years I've worked in the trades, but my background is home finishing, painting.
Rob: Oh, finishing. You do all the work that everybody sees.
Peter: Exactly, exactly. My whole life they said don't worry, the painter will fix it. But yeah, that's my background. I enjoy the finishes.
Rob: Great, great, great. If you don't mind, can you tell me a little bit more about Peninsula Siding Company? Where are you guys located? How long have you been around?
Peter: Yes, we are in San Carlos, California. We were originally in San Mateo. This is our new office here that we've opened. We're building a new showroom here in this office so clients can come in and actually see siding. And we focus only siding. We will do window installations. My boss of 30 years has been a builder forever, so he's a design build company also. So, he knows the pitfalls of not having very, very good subcontractors. So, we want to be a very good subcontractor, we want to treat you as part of our team.
Rob: Great, great, great. Now, that's really helpful. Thank you. And just kind of getting into an overview for those of you... I know siding is what you guys do in Peninsula. What is siding for those of us who are joining who maybe this is their first-time hearing about siding? Kind of give a brief overview of that.
Peter: Well, the funny thing is that siding is just there to protect your waterproofing. There's a waterproof layer on the house, and then the siding protects that waterproof layer. What could siding be? It could be anywhere from stucco to steel, the wood, anything. Today, 2021, siding has become art. And by saying art, I mean, we're mixing a lot. We're mixing stuccos and we're mixing real woods and we're mixing manufactured products to give this visual effect of art. Siding has become an interior item also. Both very nice options.
Rob: I know you mentioned siding kind of as a universal [unintelligible 00:10:03] term for really any exterior facade material that goes on top of the exterior of the house, right?
Rob: You know, typically when I think of siding, I think of kind of the pictures that I see here. And when it comes to alternatives for, let's say, "siding" of at least the products that I see here, you mentioned, stucco being one, I guess stone veneers would also be kind of considered a next to siding element.
Peter: Exactly, yeah.
Rob: Brick, possibly, and then really where you guys are special in and what your crew install and have a ton of experience doing so is primarily the siding materials that more or less you see on the screen on the right. Is that fair to say?
Peter: Yeah, exactly. Engineered products you know. Siding is siding. It installs the same way whether you're using a real piece of wood or a fiber cement product. It's basically the same step all the way through, so yeah. I think you're pretty good there with that range siding that's on the screen. I mean, sure, there's 10 times that available. You know, where do you stop? But no, I think you're good.
Rob: Is there a best siding product that's out there? If somebody were to come up to you and say, "Hey, I want the best one." What would you say to that?
Peter: Well, okay, so yes, there are the big companies out there that claim they're the best. I think the best siding company out there right now is James Hardie, a fiber cement product. For us in California, we've got our sun and we've got our fires. So, this fiber cement product really is a good deal. James Hardie has perfected the art of making siding. There's a lot of ways to deal with it and the product that they produce. And they've really become a marketing company that happens to make siding. So, we use it everywhere. California, we burn every day so we must have some fire-resistant products. And we're able to get the fire resistance and some great colors from the James Hardie world. They limit us to what we can do but I think if you were to categorize siding, and I know we'll get to that a little later so I don't want to get into that right now. Fiber cement siding is the way to go these days.
Rob: Yeah, yeah. Okay.
Peter: How we treat it, we'll figure that out as we go.
Rob: What sort of projects? You mentioned you do residential projects, you do...
Peter: Yeah, residential crew. I would say better than three quarters of my business are residential homes. And that would be taking off the existing 50-year-old Redwood that has just failed or taking off the siding from 1980 from a track home builder that just blew through building homes and they have rotted to the ground already. So that's what we do. That's what we thrive on. I enjoy working with homeowners on their projects. That's our niche.
Rob: Great. And when making a consideration of a siding material, are there any other building elements to consider or inner correlation between other factors that are going to be on the exterior that need to be considered when making a decision on siding?
Peter: Well, yes. You know, of course, now, we see a lot of plans that have multiple sidings on buildings. So, you know, now you're creating an accent wall, you're dealing with stucco, you're dealing with steel, how they interact with each other is pretty easy, it's pretty easy to control the reaction between the metal or the two products touching each other. So, it's just more of a design thing. You really don't have to worry about how one siding touches another or vice versa. It's really with technology and the building trades. We know how to separate these two elements. I live in the stucco world with accent siding, so it's not unusual to mix. I would do as much of that mixing as possible, soffits, siding, different types of material for all those areas.
Rob: Got it.
Rob: That makes perfect sense. And you touched on this a little bit but people think of siding also as just an interior product. But can you tell me some of the interior use cases?
Peter: I know, I mean, siding has actually worked its way inside the house for accent walls. You know? I stay away from the ceilings, it could be used in ceilings also in houses, but that's not my trade. I'll do lap siding on a wall. I just finished doing lap siding for Google in their lunch rooms because they wanted the outdoor look inside. So lots of opportunities, lots of prefinished opportunities where you can go and put siding in the house, it's prefinished, I walk out, it's done. Lots of fun, lots of fun. Bathrooms are very popular for siding, all four walls, master bedroom accent walls. I've yet to do all four walls of a living room but mostly accent inside. So, in anything from stone, fiber cement, real wood, yeah. It's wide open.
Rob: Yeah, partly because of the influence of HGTV. I think a lot of shiplap that we see on--
Peter: Well, you know, that's where everyone's seen. That's your visual. It's either Pinterest, something on the DIY programs. You really need a visual and then it's like, "Wow, I can do that," then yeah, it's fun.
Rob: Well, makes more work for you guys, I guess.
Peter: There you go.
Rob: So, jumping into the first topic, durability. Obviously, something that there's a lot of considerations to make that we're going to get into but outside of this, of course. But, I guess, first jumping into kind of the different materials that siding can be made out of and kind of how they would stack up. The list that I have here is in no particular order. I'll let you kind of speak to the each and talk about the durability.
Peter: Okay, well, let's start with durability. Okay, so if we're just talking residential, durability, take vinyl out of the picture. You don't want vinyl, forget that.
Rob: If you don't mind me asking Peter, why do you say that?
Peter: Vinyl is a layer of product that goes over your existing siding. It is a flexible product that it gets a foam backer so when you lean against it, it doesn't move like a soda can, it doesn't squish like a soda can. It's woven together, there's no real window trim to it. There's no real lifespan to it. If you have it in a super sunny area, it'll slowly start to cup. There are parts of the United States it's ideal in. You can never paint it, so once it fades, you're done. Price value, you can do fiber cement for slightly more than you could do vinyl.
Rob: All right, you convinced me. We're taking vinyl off.
Peter: So, a fiber cement would be number one. Why fiber cement? Durability, meaning it is a fantastic factory warranty. It's got a perfect performance record. This does not expand, contract. It doesn't flex, crack. It's beautiful. It takes paint beautifully. Or you can buy it with a color on it that performs beautifully. You're never going to get a paint job from a painter that last 15 years on wood siding.
Rob: Even if you were doing it?
Peter: No, even if I'm doing it, sorry, I'm only going to give you a seven because I want to come back and paint it again. So, the fiber cement, the factory color’s good way to go. Most of the big trades now are using fiber cements for condos, townhomes, things like that because it's on, it's there for the lifetime of the building unless a car drives through it. It'll take baseball bats to it, the kids running into it with their bicycles. It performed beautifully. So, fiber cement, engineered hardwoods are fantastic because they figured out a substrate behind the hardwood. Sometimes the hardwood is a veneer product put over a backer of hardwood because they're trying to be friendly to the earth. There's only so much cedar out there and how do we get the best no knot cedar? Maybe we make a veneer and we attach it to some backer that performs. A really good product. Natural woods are fine. Sure, why not? You're married to it. You're married to it in cost and you're married to it in maintenance. You got to maintain it. You must. If you're staining, you're going to stain it a lot or it's just going to turn--
Rob: We're going to get into that one.
Peter: Yeah. So natural woods are maintenance. Steel, I don't do it, but there's beautiful extruded steel siding coming out that is fantastic. I've seen a few at the home shows. I have some samples in my cabinets here. I really dig it. I kind of like it. And it's almost like the erector set of siding. You have clips and clamps and oh, it's very nice.
Rob: What about from durability standpoint, do those products dent at all? Do you know?
Peter: No. Because it's extruded aluminum, it's got channels in it that help support it. It's like a honeycomb system. It's not just a U-shaped product that you could push against. It's actually extruded out where it has structure to it. It's fantastic. I mean, I haven't seen pricing on that but I really dig it. I would use that in soffits all day long and accent wall. I think that's the future of fiber cement and some sort of steel siding or aluminum type siding.
Rob: I mean, obviously, we're lucky that we live in San Francisco Bay Area. Probably not as many elements to consider when choosing siding than maybe other parts of the world. But when you are advising clients in the Bay Area since that's the majority of our audience today, do you look at orientation of the house, for example, when it comes to sun? What sort of considerations do the elements play in making the decision for siding?
Peter: Right, right, right. The type of siding is always a consideration if you're building on the coast. You definitely have wind and sun and weather to deal with. We'll always try to push a manmade product in the coastal areas to help with performance. People still want that cedar shingle to turn silver as time goes on. People want different types of siding to perform differently. So, me, yeah, wind is important. We have our standard operating procedures on how things get fastened to buildings. In the ocean area, am I going to use stainless steel hardware? Most likely. Wind is really not an issue, it's never going to lift off. That's not even a problem. Sun though is. We all have maybe one or two sides of our house that take a beating more than the other sides. So, what to consider; manufacturing products, the color you're going to use. The darker the color, the more UV comes into the color, the more fading, the more heat it holds, the more damage it does do your siding. So yeah, when I get to my customers outside and talk about elements sun, we really talk about colors. The lighter colors don't cause as much problems, don't cause as much fading as you would notice normally. Between coastal and inland, it's about exactly the same. Yes, I wouldn't use stainless steel nails here in the Bay Area but the material would be the same.
Rob: Got it. Okay. Was there anything else you felt like we should touch on the durability?
Peter: I don't think so. I think purchasing material that has a factory finish is what's going to keep you from not getting your house to look like that picture there. Yeah.
Rob: No doubt. Yeah, that's what we're trying to avoid, right?
Peter: There you go.
Rob: Design aesthetics, everybody looks at that beautiful house on Pinterest or maybe they're watching a design show on TV and they say, "Man, that siding looks remarkable. How do I get it to look like that?"
Peter: Right. Right.
Rob: So, kind of the different design and aesthetic. I guess, what distinguishes between the two? Obviously, one of them is material, which we'll get into. But as far as like the most visual elements, staining versus painting or prefinished versus finishing on site, can you talk to me a little bit about that and what consideration...?
Peter: So, let's go with the first, staining or painting? You know, painting, primer, primer two coats of finish, seven to 10 years if you keep your house clean, that's how long latex paint is going to last. Paint is your savior. You just spent 50 grand putting siding on your house. Paint is a fraction of that number but it will save that 50 grands with the siding forever if you paint it properly and maintain it. So, once you paint, you clean your house, you're fine. That's going to be good. Staining is live wood. With stain, you must maintain. There's good UV value to stain. So, let's say soffits are going to last forever. You probably never touch a soffit once you stain it, but your sunny walls, you want to be careful where you're putting your real wood products in over the super sunny wall. You're going to visit it every three years and maintain staining. So, painting less maintenance, staining little more often.
Rob: I know the biggest reason people choose staining is so that you can bring out in those natural products.
Peter: Oh, right. It is exactly.
Rob: Those beautiful wood grains you see like the home you see on the top right here?
Peter: Correct? Correct. Now, I can do that home right there in a fiber cement product and make it look exactly like that, where you can get 15, 20 years of the warranty from a painter from the manufacturer. So, it's kind of cool. Yes, live wood is so much fun and there's so much staining, but you know, what? What's your budget for maintaining painting? I mean, you better put it in your household budget that you know what, I'm going to visit that wall every couple years because I want it to look as nice as it does the day that my builder walked away.
Rob: Is there any paint product that'll emulate something similar to what a stain will in a natural wood?
Peter: Because paints have solids. So, you won't be able to do that.
Rob: Okay. And what about the next question, the prefinish versus finishing on site?
Peter: Well, okay. Prefinished, the good news is when the siding guy's done, the house is done. This is what I tell my clients, if you're thinking about prefinished siding, you're still going to have to paint something on the house. You're going to have to paint eaves and fascia and doors and maybe foundations and dryer vents and things like that. But you'll never paint window trim, door trim, or siding. Just because you're buying prefinished siding doesn't mean you're not painting your house. And I can't believe I'm going to say this because I'm a painter by heart. If I were looking at buying prime siding on my house versus prefinished, I'd be going, okay, we'll just use this number. Let's say I come into this house, all prime there's $30,000 for siding. All factory finished is $8,000 more. You can't paint the house for 8,000 bucks. Plus, I'm not going to get 15-year warranty out of that factory paint. So, I would always try to do prefinished before painting on site. But not all houses call for that, of course. Budgets don't call for that. But yeah, if I was doing, let's break this in categories prefinished latex paint, solid paints, if you can buy it prefinished, do it don't paint it on site. Material that is prefinished, stained from a factory, try to get it that way. Not everyone's doing it yet. Because with the stain products, you need to stain all four sides and put it on the building. With the prefinished factory paints, you don't have to do that.
Rob: And that's pre-stained natural wood products?
Peter: Correctly. You can do pre-stain natural wood products, right. There are a few vendors now that offer that. It's a little tricky because when they hand out paint samples or stain samples for western red cedar, they want you to get a sample today and next year when you build your house, they want to give you another sample because the sample I have is now different than what you're going to order. So, logistically, it's a little tricky with getting prefinished and making sure the color that you saw is the color you're getting. But yeah, totally fine.
Rob: Corners, mitered versus non-mitered. This kind of comes up quite often.
Peter: Yeah, it's the designer.
Rob: Peter, before we jump into that, can you give everybody just kind of a brief overview of the difference between mitered and non-mitered?
Peter: Okay, so mitered corner is obviously to outside corners coming together at a 45, we'll call it 45-degree angle. They meet at a corner, there is no corner trim. It is siding going one way siding going another way, a perfect angle. Versus non-mitered, where you have a piece of trim that your siding goes straight into the corner. So, you make a corner trim, which is kind of a V that goes on the corners that gets applied to the building and then you butt you're siding up to it. Are there advantages, watertight, water resistant, maintenance? A non-mitered corner is going to perform way better than a mitered corner. Because when that would start to move a little bit, the corners could possibly open. There's only so many ways to fasten it. It's a fantastic look. We have to get used to that look, we have to get used to doing that. It's an expensive way to do corners because every single board has to be handled because not every wall is a perfect angle. Well, every cut is different. Budget wise, non-mitered. If it fits your budget to do mitered, it's a fantastic look. It's just a matter of your preference, your eye, you need to see it. And then of course, if you're doing vertical siding versus horizontal, you probably want mitered and vertical siding because you've got all those smooth lines going up. You really want your corner to kind of blend into all that. So yeah, it's really design thing. Obviously, we all look at stuff and we're like, "Oh, that looks fantastic. I want that." And then you see how much it is and you're like, "Okay, what's plan B?"
Rob: Sure. And what about soffits when it comes to design? And can you explain to everybody what are soffits?
Peter: Yeah, well, so you all have the eave hanging off your house. So, normally what happens is when they build the house or they put the shingles on the house, before they put the plywood on the house, they'll decide what's going to happen, what's the soffit detail. So that's the eave coming off your house, it's what you see. Your fascia is connected to it, your gutter is connected to it, so when you look up to the roof of your house standing next to your wall, you see your roof rafters coming out then which then make your eaves. That's where the soffits are. So, what happens there is the builder is either going to put some nice V roof siding there and then finish your roof in plywood. So, when you look up to see your soffit, you see your rafter tails coming out, and then you see a decent V groove product there. So, you see the framing and you see some nice soffit material.
Now, what people are doing is they don't want to see the rafter tails. So, you have your fascia board coming down, you have your rafter tails coming into it, they don't want to see them, so they want to cover them. So, whether you cover it in an angle or you make it a nice straight line, that's what the soffit is. You're going to hide what the framing is from the roof structure. Because you're going to see the rafter tails no matter what unless you build a soffit around it. So, soffits, what can you do with them? Okay, I mean, depending on our design, what we're doing on the house and what soffits have become another statement, you know, so let's look at that and see what we're going to do. Am I going to do a V groove western red cedar siding there or am I going to do a paint grade siding there? A paint grade meaning it's only going to take paint. And of course, we've talked the groove cedar will take the stain. Now, there's ways to do solid panels at a fiber cement. Most soffits depending on the insulation that people are putting in homes, whether it's a foam insulation or an actual normal fiberglass insulation, foam doesn't need venting, so you don't have to install vents and soffits. Regular insulation needs vents. So, you got to install a vent in the soffit. Fiber cement is fantastic.
Rob: So, the only instance where you don't need a vent in the soffit is if you have spray foam.
Peter: Correct. Other than that, you've got to vent.
Rob: Okay. Okay.
Peter: So, that's soffit. Soffits have become an accent wall also and they go on forever. I mean, there's a lot of soffits.
Rob: And how often do you see just from a design perspective, you do a lot of houses in the Bay Area, your installers do a great job, obviously. But how often do you see a material differ from where a wall meets a soffit that's exposed? How often you see...?
Peter: Yeah, if we're doing a stain grade house, the soffits are going to be stain grade.
Peter: If we're doing a paint grade house, the soffits are going to be paint grade. It's rare that they'll mix the two items because a stained house with a paint grade soffit doesn't look good. You might as well just have the rafter tail showing. Yeah. A stucco house, that's your wood element because you're looking for a little extra something. So yeah, stucco, you're probably going to see more stain grade element soffits than paint grade. And any latex painted house is going to be like for like, they're going to paint the soffits also.
Rob: Got it. Obviously, this might come in trends. But what are some of the trends you're seeing right now from either your clients or designers that you get to work with? Can you talk a little bit about kind of what's popular right now?
Peter: So, right now in the Bay Area, I love it too but it's white board and batten with black windows.
Rob: Got it.
Peter: Board and batten--
Rob: That's that farmhouse, modern farmhouse.
Peter: Yep. All day long, give me my California bungalow and make it into a farmhouse.
Peter: Okay. You know, I'll do whatever you ask me to. So, that's really the most popular right now. The next option would be colors. Lap siding is fine. We are familiar with what lap siding is. I'm sure this isn't anything we spoke.
Peter: Very well. So, lap siding is siding that kind of goes like this. It laps over each other. Lap siding has become super popular but it's super boring. And now the manufacturers caught wind of that years and years ago and decided, let's come up with some custom colors for this. So, the fact that we're adding lap siding and doing accent walls of lap siding because our budget doesn't call for western red cedar [tall 00:37:10], it's beautiful. So, fiber cement board and batten, even when people ask me for wood siding, I talk them out of it. I talk them out of there, wood board and batten. There's too much maintenance. The clients, you know, this may not be their forever home. So, they're just looking for that, you know, what they saw on TV and what they saw on Pinterest. So, board and batten, lap siding, and then V groove, shiplap, that's popular also. But those are kind of the higher end because in order to get V groove and shiplap in a manmade product, they understand, Hardie understands it's a thicker product because the basic lap siding is like five sixteenths thick. Where V groove siding is five eighths thick because the mitering has become part of it. So, you need thicker material, it's more expensive. But as the popularity is right now, board and batten, lap siding, custom colors.
Rob: Great. Well, I spent way more time on design and aesthetics than I was planning on it. After we jumped into the topic, I think that's a lot of what people care about. One thing we didn't talk about, which you touched on briefly is kind of the joinery between the boards and all of the different options that are there. You can really get into the weeds on that alone. But maybe that's something that our audience can maybe--
Peter: Yeah, we could do that again.
Rob: ... explore on their own or we can have you back to talk about that.
Rob: So, pricing, the other thing that people definitely want to have as a consideration. Maybe this is might make sense to start here before getting into anywhere else. I don't know what you advise the clients who come in and talk to you. But I did a rough kind of breakdown of what we've seen, but would you say that this is more or less how it falls?
Peter: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah, because fiber cement whether it's fiber cement lap side, anything across the board and fiber cement or a Louisiana Pacific which is an engineered siding, it's not a hardwood, it's just an engineered siding, they're going to be about the same. The engineered hardwoods, yes, depending on thickness, but yeah, that's probably good. Steel, because I don't deal much with steel, I think you're there with that number. I think you're pretty good. Natural wood, yeah. And I would add another dollar figure because of maintenance on natural wood. Yeah.
Peter: And I don't know, I just take it off buildings.
Rob: What about the installation difference between them?
Peter: Well, okay, so installation is quite interesting because there's options.
Peter: What am I doing? Am I just doing a basic window detail? Am I doing a basic siding installation with outside corners? That's the most efficient, that's the cheapest install, it's a beautiful install. There's nothing wrong with that and I will repeat that again. It's a fantastic thing. When you start getting into custom five or seven-piece window details and you get into mitered corners, it's not necessarily the material, it's the cost of labor. You know, the amount of hours it takes to put a picture frame style window together, window trim on a house versus a five piece which has a shoe and a skirt. You know, the carpenter is there a lot longer. So that's really about as basic as it gets. It's the designer telling me the details of the home versus a simple detail. It's all about what the end result wants to be. Straightforward, you can do $26 for the most fantastic fiber cement siding project you've ever seen with color in it or you can spend 36 to 50 on a beautiful wood siding.
Rob: Right. What about, you talked about it a little bit, but is it safe to say that finishing on site is almost always more expensive than prefinishing?
Peter: Yes, yes, yes.
Rob: Okay. We'll raise over that one since we're not at that.
Peter: So, we can mix around that. Don't be afraid not to do that. But if you can get the bulk of it, you know, you're all trying to work in a budget, you're trying to get the best for your dollar. If I can get so much prefinished and then do my custom work, win-win.
Rob: So, when we have a client and we're the general contractor on a house, how do you typically work with the client in that regard? Are they buying the material through you? Do you ever have clients who say, "Hey, I really want to bring in my own siding to do the install?" How does that work?
Peter: Yes, because I try to satisfy everybody, I'll give you that option. So, let's go to me first. I purchased the siding, I purchased the labor, I do the whole packet for you. I don't let you worry about a thing. Let's pick out colors. You're already went through the heartache of trying to pick out colors and styles, why do you want to shop for siding? Let me take care of you. I'll take care of everything. But your uncle owns a mill and he's giving you all kinds of free siding. All right, I don't warranty anything that has to do with material and if you run out of material while I'm doing the siding, you're paying the crews' wage for the time they wait because we made a time slot for you. But I don't mind. You know, you want to buy your own siding? I'll put it in. Yeah, I'm here to help. I'm here to please. It's what we do.
Rob: Sure. Makes sense. And we can breeze over this one pretty quickly, I think. But install, I mean, you mentioned, especially when it comes to mitered corners and everything else, probably more and more important to have a quality installation.
Rob: You as the installer where you see a house and you're like, "Oh man." What's the one thing that really is going to be most critical or maybe that homeowners complain most to you about?
Peter: Yeah. Well, so you've got, "Why is the bottom my siding all rotten? Why is the bottom so rotten and what's going on?" All right, well, originally, in the world of siding, in the world of wood siding, fiber cement siding, there's details you must maintain. Meaning, if from the garden, anything from dirt to your siding, minimum six inches of clearance from the garden. And you know how we go. After years and years go on, you start fixing your garden, everything's beautiful. Next thing you know, your sprinklers are hitting your house and the dirt's touching your siding. You just started the clock on your siding. Maybe 10 more years and it's rotted. Same thing with the roof. Don't let the siding touch the roof. All that water running down that roof is just going in the bottom of your siding and it's just wicking up the siding. Poor installation, meaning you got your gaps too tight. When that wood siding expands and wants to go somewhere, so it pushes out. It can't go left and right. It can't expand and contract normally.
Rob: Is that only the case on natural products?
Peter: Oh no, that's even in manmade products too. They will expand and contract. You know, they still will move, they'll take moisture. It is what they're supposed to do. I don't know what happened in the early 80s, why flashing wasn't so important. Because when siding cannot dry out, that's where your mold, that's where your dry rot comes from. So, water is going to get behind the siding. That's why there's waterproofing behind the siding. It's natural. It's what it does. But you want it to get out and you want the air to get through and dry. So, that's why you make these Z metals that go over the top of openings, window trim, dryer vents, hose bibbs, gas pipes. You want to protect. You don't want the water going in the pipe or in the dryer vent. You might need to get it to move around. So, you see that but all of sudden you decided, well, you know what, I don't like that line that's above the metal on the Z metal here. Let's see, I guess if you're looking at this diagram, right where that is, yeah, right there. See the little metal? Right there is Z metal on top of that window. So, where that siding touches the top of that window, you want to have a gap there. I see those gaps cocked. So, you've blocked the water from coming out. You've made a dam. So that [crosstalk 00:46:47] what happened. Why they did that. So, that's how your house fails. Keep the sprinklers off your house, install it properly, good metal flashing, good waterproofing, the correct gaps between boards so it can expand and contract and you're set for life.
Rob: Awesome. I'm going to keep going here. You touched on a lot of these already. Cleaning.
Peter: Cleaning. Yeah, hey, just remember I love my gardener but he's my enemy. You know, that leaf blower ruins by window sills? That dirt blows off that window sill and their morning dew gets on it and starts staining your beautiful white trim. Always on your house once in a while.
Rob: The hose down, you wouldn't recommend that? No brush, no pressure washer.
Peter: You can pressure wash. Now, we're not pressure washing where we could write our name in the wall. We're pressure washing to clean. Fiber cement? Three to five years washing, beautiful. Yeah.
Rob: Staining. I think in painting we've talked about kind of the major--
Peter: Yeah. Yeah.
Rob: Water intrusion.
Peter: Water intrusion, I think we've just dealt with that. Good waterproofing, good flashings, the correct distances between soil and hard surfaces, you're good forever.
Rob: How often do you recommend after an install? Somebody walked the perimeter and just check to see how things are looking.
Peter: Keep an eye on it. We should never have to inspect it.
Peter: We should never. But while you're out there hanging out and playing, take a look. You never know what the sun's done to your siding. You shouldn't have to worry about it.
Rob: Can homeowners maintain siding themselves for the most part or do you recommend that they hire somebody?
Peter: Oh, well, yeah, yeah, yeah. If you built a tree fort when you were a kid, I'm sure you can do that. I'm sure you can maintain your own siding. If you never built a tree fort, don't touch your siding.
Peter: It's just, you've got to be careful. Be careful with what you see on TV.
Rob: Sure. I mean, I wanted to leave enough time here at the end for some Q&A here from everybody. I'll leave a few minutes here at the end and just see if any questions do come up. There's the opportunity again at the top of your screen here for anybody who's attending to raise your hand in which case I'll get notified and I can give you the opportunity to speak. There's also a Q&A section at the top. I'm probably going to stop sharing so that I can actually view that. So, I'm going to stop sharing here for a second and see if I can find that portion. But otherwise, I'll try to keep an eye on some questions. Here we go. So, I've got some here. Priya asked, how does siding stand against fires? We didn't really touch on that much. But if you can speak a little bit to it that would be great.
Peter: Obviously, California, urban wildlife interface has become a big deal. Okay. We've built into the mountains. Fiber cement siding is fire resistant. Please go on Peninsula Siding's website and take a look. Santa Rosa Fire District they did a test on what your house looks like on fire and wood versus fiber cement. Now, let's all remember it's fire resistant. It's not proof.
Peter: It's going to give you more time to get out of your home in case of an emergency. Blowing embers and the grass on fire next to your house is not going to catch your house on fire anywhere as quickly as wood would. It's the way to go. If you add wood siding to your house, you must have a fire layer behind the wood siding. And that's an additional cost. where a manmade fiber cement product you don't have that cost. You could put that right over plywood. So, yes, WUI, that's what you want to look for. Siding that's WUI approved.
Rob: And we've had projects where actually a city's mandated that the product be WUI--
Peter: Correct [unintelligible 00:51:08]. If you're building, you got to do stucco, metal, or cement.
Rob: Got it. A couple of other questions that I'm going to run through. Ipe, what is Ipe first of all? How expensive is it?
Peter: Yeah. I'm really exactly not sure what Ipe is, but it's a super hard product. I don't know if they mill that out of a tree or it's a rock they cut into it. But it's nice. It's very, very good product. It was super great in the decking world because of its durability. Yes, you can put it on your house. You can miter it. You cannot hammer a nail through it. You must pre-drill everything or use a clip system. This is a piece of Ipe and it has a clip that goes on it. Because you can't nail into it. Plus, the price of this, you do not want to put a lot of nails in your beautiful siding. So, it's a clip system that goes to next to the house. So, you must have air movement behind it, and then when you put your next board on top of it, it fits inside the clip system like so. It's nice.
Rob: How expensive is it?
Peter: It's pricey. It's the top of line. Now, you can oil it, it won't absorb anything. It's like concrete, it doesn't absorb it. People put Ipe on houses and then they're like, "Oh my god, seven years from now it's turning grey." That's what it's supposed to do. So, you got to know that. You got to know that I just spent $36 on linear foot for my Ipe and it'll last forever but the color is not going to last forever. Keep that in mind. You can oil at once. Maybe there's a maintenance oil out there, but be careful where you put it. Don't put it in a super sunny side. Use it for accents. Don't do the whole house. Soffits? Yeah, but there's better options for soffits than Ipe. But it's very nice. Yeah, it's
a good product.
Rob: So, one thing that matters to me and it matters for us, we take care of the clients not just during the building process but after the process as well. One question that came from the audience was, what sort of warranty would you as the subcontractor be able to pass them on to a homeowner.
Peter: This is what I do. Let's go to manufactured products. You're going to get the factory warranty. James Hardie offers 15-year warranty on their color, 30-year warranty on their product. I as a builder or installer offer a 10 year on my work. And there's advantage plus prime products that also offer warranties. The manufacturer of each like Ipe and this and that we'd have and just see who's offering a factory warranty. Raw material. The only one that I know it's a [unintelligible 00:54:14]. It's an advantage plus prime product or cedar product. It's a manmade finger jointed product that we leave for soffits, window trim, skirts, they offer a warranty. But you must install it correctly in order for them to honor the warranty. So, if you're a builder, make sure if you're using it, you're asking that question to your subcontractor or your contractor, "Do these guys know how to do this? Are they trained by Hardie?" Because if you don't install it right, they're going to avoid it right away. Be careful. Stick to siding guys. I was going to say I lose a lot of work to contractors, obviously, who can install cheaper than I can install, but are you installing it right? I've gone back to houses where I lost the bid because the builder wanted to build it. I just replaced two walls on a house that's not even a year old because the siding was installed incorrectly. And the homeowner has to pay for that. The factory is like, "Sorry". So, warranties are out there but there's a lot of fine print. Be careful.
Rob: What about any difference in costs between different joinery methods; V groove, nickel gap, tongue and groove, shiplap either from an install standpoint or initial product standpoint?
Peter: No. I don't believe I've seen a big price range between V groove, nickel gap, shiplap. Basic material is going to be basically the same price. The install is pretty much going to be the same price whether you use V groove siding that connects to each other all the way up. Remember, just because it connects, just because it goes together by these grooves doesn't mean you're not nailing in that groove. The labor is still there. The only difference would be how you do the details, the corners and the window trims. Siding, there's no price difference for install.
Rob: The one question we got, and I'm actually not sure of this product but it's a product called, it seems terracotta, terracotta rainscreen, terracotta wall panels, terracotta siding. Are you familiar with any of those?
Peter: I am not. Is it terracotta or Terratek?
Rob: I'm reading terracotta.
Peter: Okay. Okay. Yes, there's a bunch of brands out there. I'm holding a piece of Terratek here.
Peter: This is a manmade product. That is a veneer layer on this. Because the goal is, all trees have nuts. And when you're trying to get siding with the minimum amount of knots, they've had to come up with some sort of system or some other way. So, they use a cedar one [biomaterial 00:57:07]--
Rob: That's like an engineered product.
Peter: Yeah. And they glue cedar veneer on top of it. It can be sanded one time. It's fantastic and it performs beautifully. Terratek, fantastic stuff. I've never heard of the other company yet. Doesn't mean it's not beautiful. I just haven't dealt with it yet.
Rob: Okay. What about building paper? That was another question that came up. Any requirements there as far as...?
Peter: Yeah, Hardie of course, is a branding company. So, they would love to see you use their wrap every time. So, that's fine. Hardie makes a great product. Henry is the leader of the market out there in home wraps systems. Plus, Henry has warranties if you use their three-part system, they'll give you a warranty on their wrap. I like to use a moisture barrier that's drainable. Meaning it's got a bunch of little dots all over it. It helps the material breathe behind it. Not all projects get a weather screen behind it. And a weather screen would be like a half inch material where your siding is out from the building a half inch and the air is just blowing behind that.
Rob: That allows for that drainage.
Peter: Exactly. But it's very important. You know you're going to use that type of waterproofing on your house because your windows have to change, because you're spacing the siding farther away from the building. So, really when you order windows, you better know what siding you're putting on your house so you know how that window is going to--
Rob: That's when you're mixing different materials that could become--
Rob: So, it's stucco and--
Peter: But today's technology, you know, sure. You can go to Home Depot and you can buy Tyvek all day long. It's fine. It works. But there's better levels there.
Rob: I'm going to ask you a tough one here to finish it off. Typical labor costs. That was...
Peter: Okay. Labor to just to install?
Rob: Labor just to install.
Peter: Don't haul any garbage, don't do any of that, just a whole...
Peter: I would say a range to install fiber cement could be anywhere from six to $9 a square foot.
Rob: Okay, that's fair.
Peter: Wood depending on the detail could be 12 to 20.
Rob: 12 to 20, okay. All right, that's fair enough. And what about the--
Peter: Okay, remember the install also includes window trims.
Rob: Yep. Yeah, you touched on this a little bit, but you've got one product, you've got your own house, what do you use?
Peter: Fiber cement.
Rob: Fiber cement, okay.
Peter: Fiber cement, I'm going to do some fantastic accents.
Rob: Are you going to go prefinish or you're going to finish on site?
Peter: Oh, no, prefinished.
Peter: Prefinished, yep. I'm going to prefinish exactly. Remember, kerb appeal means something. Here we are in California. We want the front of our house to be wow. I'm driving out to my house. I work so hard on my house. I work so hard. I want to drive up to the coolest house on the block. And then when I'm hanging out my backyard, that's now my living room also, I want to see the coolest house from the backside. So, maybe the sides of my house I don't do too much to it. I just do basics. But on the back and the entertainment area, I upped the bar. I go with as much pre manufactured products as I get my hands on because you know what? I need to take the kids to baseball, and I need to make sure my wife is super happy. I'm not working on the house. She'll kill me.
Rob: Well, I think that we're just running out of time. I think we've made through almost all of the questions that were there. I think some of the other ones maybe we can take up in a follow up session.
Peter: Fully available, you could even call me.
Rob: Excellent. I'm going to throw back up if I can. Let's see. You know what, I don't know if I have the presentation open anymore. I was going throw up the contact information for... Oh, here we go, I've got it. Let me throw up the contact information for Peter. So, anybody who's interested in contacting him directly to go look at their excellent showroom in San Carlos, feel free. I'm also going to... let me present this so everybody can hopefully see. This a little bit better. And hopefully, if you're attending this, you have Livio's contact information as well. But otherwise, Peter we gave hopefully not your cell phone number or anything here.
Peter: Yeah. That's okay. Not a problem guy. I'm here for everybody whether you're my customer or not. I love to get advice because you might tell your neighbor how nice I am.
Rob: Great. Well, Peter, I want to thank you again for taking the time and informing a lot of curious homeowners about siding and all the decisions that are there.
Peter: It was my pleasure. It was actually my pleasure. I enjoy talking siding if you couldn't tell.
Rob: All right. Well, thanks again Peter and thanks everybody for attending.
Peter: Wonderful. Thank you.
Rob: All right. Take care..