Fiber Cement siding has changed a lot of the problems attributed to cedar and other wood siding. But with change comes new issues and problems. What we see more often than not on a home that has been sided using fiber cement siding is large amounts of failing caulking. Typically, the failing paint is at butt joints but more than likely if its failing at the butt joints it is also failing at the corner boards, around window and door trims, and anywhere else the installer caulked. In order to prepare your home properly for paint we will need to remove all caulking, sand edges, and then apply a high performance elastomeric caulking.
Just like wood, concrete likes to expand and contract with the different temperatures of our Portland seasons. What looked like a 1/4″ butt joint gap in the winter could double in size on a sun exposed wall in the summer. No joke, this stuff really moves. At Painting Oregon we take the time to remove all of the existing caulking so we can inject enough to create the “T”.
What is the “T” method?
If you look at a “T” and imagine a butt joint on your siding being the bottom of the “T” and the “T” representing the caulking that is getting injected into the butt joint should be able to imagine the benefits of this method. Building technology has taught us that with caulking if one edge adheres but another does not you will have failure. The same goes with fiber cement siding also commonly known as “Hardie”. Will this permanently fix the butt joint from cracking? No, caulking will eventually fail again as it was a bad design from the get go. Preparing and applying the caulking properly will assure that you get the longest life from your paint and caulking job as possible.
So what do siding installers do now?
Now most quality installers will put flashing behind the butt joints when installing fiber cement lap siding. This protects your weather barrier that lives behind your siding. It also allows the siding to expand and contract as it was intended to do. Unfortunately, for the majority of us who have caulked butt joints on our fiber cement lap siding we are stuck with the situation. You can of course have your siding removed and resided but this is quite costly. The other option is having a quality painting contractor like Painting Oregon prepare and paint your home this year. Then maintaining it every year or every other year depending on where you live to keep on your home maintenance on a yearly schedule.
Most homeowners will get their home painted this year and then never do anything more until its ready to paint again in nine to 10 years. What is not understood is that with the proper amount of home maintenance you can prolong the life of your paint job by an additional 5-10 years. A soft wash, minor touch-ups, and re-caulking here and there will assure that when your next paint job comes around you wont pay more than you did this year.
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