It's Not Just The Siding, It's The Exterior Envelope

The term "Exterior Envelope" is very useful when thinking about siding issues. It turns out that most siding problems are related to other parts of the exterior envelope of a structure. Siding problems are often related to the location and exterior design of a home, the roof, flashing systems, vents, drainage, wall insulation, windows, doors and all of the components that make up the exterior envelope of a structure.

Here is an example. Log homes can last for centuries but some deteriorate in just a few years. Part of the problem maybe in the quality of the logs. The more important issues are often found in the design of the foundation, the log structure and the roof. If the bottom logs are anchored to a good concrete foundation and are not in contact with the soil, they will not rot. If the entire log structure is protected from the rain by a wide roof overhang the logs will not rot. But if some of the logs get wet and stay wet, they will rot and will not last no matter what the quality of the wood might be.

Similar concerns exit with all siding systems. Almost all siding can last for a long time if it is part of a good exterior envelope. Conversely, most siding issues are part of a larger problem and not just the fault of the siding material, installation practices or maintenance.