Guide to Typical Colorado Home Siding Finishes

Stucco and stone as replacement finishes:

  • Stucco is a great replacement finish for any of the types of siding I have described here. It is important to have an experienced professional do this type of work because it is quite labor intensive and involves a large amount of scaffolding.
  • Stone is usually used as a detail below another finish such as stucco or siding. The new synthetic stones can be applied anywhere, but look really silly above other finishes, because they simulate stone, which is heavy and must be ‘grounded’. There are many special stones for covering plugs, lights and even used for house numbering.
  •  The pre-flash* rules are doubly important because water behind these products will ruin them or in the case of stone, cause them to fall off!.

I hope you have found this overview of exterior finishes informative and helpful! The process of exterior renovation is a very good way to upgrade the appearance of your home and add value to an element that was formally detracting from the homes value.

Below is an explanation of terms I’ve used in this article that I feel are very important to consider and understand when doing any exterior finish renovation.

*Pre-Flash: This is a very important and often overlooked element of exterior construction. It involves the simple idea that all elements must lap over the element below. Example: If a direct vent fireplace is installed in a home, it is attached to the exterior sheathing (or surface below the final finish); with screws through a flange that is part of the flue. To pre-flash this flue, a piece of approved exterior wrap, such as ‘Tyvek’, etc. must first be attached to the sheathing surface, then the vent attached via its built in flange. The house wrap is extended at least 6” on all sides of the flange. This allows the building wrap, or felts, in the case of stucco to go under the pre-flash material on the bottom and over it on the top and sides. This same procedure must be used for all exterior penetrations such as windows, doors, etc. Windows are pre-flashed with a bitumen product, such as Grace, ‘Vycor’ or ‘Ice & Water Shield’, which adheres to the opening which the window will be placed in. The self adhering surface is covered with a removable film which keeps it from adhering while on the roll. In this case the bottom piece has the film pealed back half way so it will stick to the horizontal surface below the window, but not the vertical one. This way the house wrap can be later applied, under the ‘Vycor’ for the same reason as explained above. The sides of the opening are fully adhered to the face and sides by forming a corner with the material that extends into the opening and over the exterior face. The window is then installed and the final piece of ‘Vycor’ is installed above it and laps over the flange of the window. The idea of lapping over the element below always applies.

*Pre-Caulk: In the above mentioned window installation, an additional step is necessary. Prior to setting the window, a bead of good quality, (I recommend 35 year) caulk is applied to the rear of the window flange. When the window is set in the opening, plumbed and squared and attached via the nailing flange, it is sealed to the three sides of the ‘Vycor’ and to the sheathing on top. The top piece of ‘Vycor’ creates, in essence, a double seal at the top, where there is the most leak potential.

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