April 23, 2020| Lester Yat
Like it or not, a building’s exterior surface speaks volumes to all who pass by — and if that surface is faded, dingy, dirty or damaged, the message sent about the building, its residents and management is a negative one.
But there’s no way around it: wood clapboards, vinyl siding, even seemingly solid stucco, will eventually show their age. Wood may splinter or warp; vinyl may fade or crack; stucco may flake and peel. At some point, building boards and managers will realize that it’s time to bite the bullet, give up on the never-ending rounds of maintenance, and replace the well-aged cladding.
That gives rise to the quandary: What’s the best material to install today in order to give a building the bright, new look that will make residents happy to call it home?
Unfortunately, as with so many things in life (and in construction), there’s no single or easy answer. Every material has pros and cons, costs and benefits to weigh — and the considerations go beyond the building’s skin-deep beauty. Factors to consider include ease of maintenance, fire resistance and anticipated lifespan.
As owners and boards debate ways to get the biggest bang for the buck, questions that arise can include: What’s the material’s track record? How much will regular maintenance cost? Is the product environmentally-friendly?