No Sweat

Filed in Construction by on June 22, 2014

vinyl siding . org

Vinyl Siding | Photo Source:

Lakeside living means relaxation, not sweating the weekend away painting the cabin or replacing deck boards. The maintenance-free building material market is abundant with ideas and innovations to make that work-free, relaxing time by the lake a reality year after year.


The most striking feature of a home is the exterior siding. It’s like the skin that wraps your wonderful home, and you want it to make a statement without the hassle of annual upkeep.

Vinyl is the good, reliable standard in maintenance-free siding options.

“Vinyl siding is still what we sell the most of and it’s the least expensive,” says Rod Sauer, salesman at ProBuild in Fergus Falls. “I also consider it ‘low maintenance’ because you’ll want to wash your siding from time to time to keep it looking new.”

Professionals also note that vinyl siding can fade over time, making it difficult to match colors if a repair is needed years after installation.

cement board siding timberlandexteriors

Cement Board Siding | Photo Source:

Cement board siding is a popular material right now; it’s extremely strong and resistant to insects, mold and rot. Cement board siding presents the look of real wood, stucco or masonry, and it can be factory-painted after installation. “If someone buys a home with cement board siding and they don’t like the color, they can simply paint it the color the prefer,” Sauer says.

Steel siding is a durable option, as well. Steel siding can be installed in smooth-textured classic colors, wood grain or the industrial corrugated look. Seamless stretches of siding covering your home from end to end is also one of the benefits of steel siding. With proper care, steel siding can last from 40 years up to the life of your home. However, experts say it’s critical that scratches in steel siding be repaired with a coat of paint to prevent rusting.

To help determine the type of siding that fits your needs, here are a few questions to ask your siding salesperson: How long has the product been used on homes? Does the product deteriorate over time? Does the product become brittle? How do I make repairs, and will my repairs match the surrounding siding exactly?


This time of year, much of your time is likely spent outside on a deck sipping a cold beverage and soaking in the glory of a Minnesota summer – and you don’t want your focus for the rest of the season to be the shabby condition of your deck. Take action now, early in the summer season, to replace or update your deck with maintenance-free decking. Over the years, composite decking has evolved to include a variety of colors, textures, profiles and prices.

Composite Decking | Photo Source:

Composite Decking | Photo Source:

Regardless of the decking you invest in, Sauer says, “I live to call it ‘low maintenance’ decking because occasionally you’ll probably want to take a hose to it, rinse it off, go in with a soft broom to sweep it up and keep the decking clean.”

Dan Denardo of Grant County Lumber agrees, adding, “There are many new products in decking. For example, TimberTech makes a decking called XLM which stands for extreme low maintenance. There is no scraping, painting, staining or sealing with composite decking. It does not splinter or warp. It is mildew and slip resistant. It is a one-time purchase for most homeowners.”

One limiting factor with maintenance free products can be cost.

“One could argue the initial higher cost is the downside of low maintenance decking,” Denardo says, “However, imagine yourself spending a weekend scraping and staining your old wood deck versus spending a day at the lake or grilling with your family.”

“Treated lumber is the cheapest way to go but, in the long run, you’ll still be spending money on stain and paint to maintain the wood deck boards.”

Deck railings are also available as a maintenance-free option, giving your deck some personality while providing a safe border around your favorite summer sitting spot.

Other Features

Many of the maintenance-free innovations in siding and decking hav also flowed into home “accessories” such as storm doors, gutters, soffit and facia, trim and more. When discussing your maintenance-free siding and decking options, be sure to ask your salesperson about other features available for your home. Then, kick back and relax and don’t give a second thought to the condition of your deck or siding. It will remain durable and beautiful year after year without any maintenance.

by Amy Chaffins

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