Updating historic Washington, D.C. homes with vinyl siding

The residential architecture of Washington, D.C. is like a study in American design. Not only do some Georgetown homes and neighborhoods date back 250 years, but there are an amalgam of other styles, types and periods ranging from row houses and Victorians to Arts and Crafts bungalows. Dominating the city and the surrounding area is the quintessential home design: American Colonial.

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About one-quarter of all Washington, D.C. area houses fall into this category, characterized by detached two-story homes with a center hall and a gabled roof. This style is split between the wood-faced colonials built between 1880 and 1945 and the brick-faced, neo-colonials built after 1945. Only a few years ago, it was frowned upon to re-clad these historic homes in vinyl siding. Due to recent strides in design and profile, however, the District of Columbia Historic Preservation Division allows the use of vinyl siding with prior approval. Historic preservationists recommend siding, rather than existing wood exteriors, in lieu of tearing down and starting over.

Looking for historic-looking vinyl siding?

Washington, D.C.'s historic clapboard wood siding comes in a variety of styles including: beveled, German, shiplap, V-Rustic and simple drop. These profiles can be matched with thicker, vinyl siding that comes in a variety of laps and spacing. Besides these new profiles offered by popular Washington, D.C. vinyl siding manufacturers like CertainTeed, there are a number of foam-backed vinyl siding products, such as trim and corner pieces, which add depth and maintain character. Crane sidings and Royal Building products have products that match the traditional American Colonial look.

Thinking beyond the look

Consider the following, when discussing options with Washington, D.C. vinyl siding contractors:

  • Vinyl siding is available in thicknesses, ranging from .038 to .055 of an inch. The thicker the siding, the more durable it is. Mainly, because it is better designed to withstand all types of seasonal weather extremes. The quality of the nailing hem is another key factor. Thickness indicates quality, so thicker siding is usually more expensive siding.
  • Vinyl siding is attractive from the outside, but consider the unseen parts of the building envelope. Investing in quality insulation behind the siding will enhance your home's value and might lead to energy savings.
  • Ask about UV protective coatings and warranty-life, both of which may impact upfront costs, but will likely save time, money and headaches in the future.

Hallmark Windows and Siding, a D.C.-based vinyl siding contractor sells CertainTeed vinyl siding, which is a well-known brand with a great warranty. There are plenty of other Washington, D.C. vinyl siding contractors and retailers that sell a number of the nation's leading brands, leaving you with an abundance of choice in terms of cost, looks and quality.

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