Exteriors are Getting More Expressive

On this blog we've talked many times about the popularity of dark siding colors. Today we're taking a look at another exteriors trend we've seen recently with siding in new construction: an increased mix of siding styles on the home.  We interviewed Eric Camilleri, Territory Manager with Royal Building Products, for this feature.

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For years, it's been common for builders to mix two or three cladding materials to create a dynamic exterior. A house clad mainly in double 4" vinyl could be dressed up with brick or stone used as facades or kneewalls; shake-look products in the gables have also often been employed. This year we're seeing an increased mix of vinyl siding, including a resurgence of board & batten, mixed with all of the above - up to four or more siding styles on one house!

Builders Mix & Match Styles to Create Today's Dynamic Exteriors

Today's larger homes have a great deal of exterior cladding, and to make those large facades look dynamic, builders are dividing them up with trim and installing mixed styles of siding in complimentary colors. The increased availability of dark colors in vinyl allows for exciting new combinations.

Wimsatt: Do you see any major changes or trends coming in the upcoming months or year?

Eric: I have talked to a few progressive and design-oriented builders over the last year, and have gotten some interesting responses. One thing that always comes up is the value of the dark colors. It has really helped builders and contractors bring a different value to themselves in the market. Builders who are taking advantage of the dark colors are seeing happier customers. Homeowners are tired of having their house look like everyone else’s.  ...[It] has been an incredible increase. In the last few years here in Michigan alone we have seen our dark colors grow to 35% of overall color sales. Our growth projection could see it being close to 50% by the end of this year. 

Another trend that has been coming around is the play of multiple styles on a home. It is almost rare to see a home with just a Double 4” clap board on it. Many homes are utilizing multiple offerings that are available to them. It is becoming trendy to have clapboard, shake, and board and batten all on the same home.  I am seeing homes taking advantage of the different styles and using three or four colors on the home as well.

Wimsatt: What have you seen in the way of demand for board & batten siding?  Is it typically whole-house application, or as an accent?RoyalBB

Eric: In board & batten, just this year here in Michigan we have seen an increase of 63% from last year. We have seen a constant double digit increase of board & batten sales over the last 3 years. I have talked with builders and designers who love the look of it in multiple areas on the home. I have seen a lot of it used in the front porch/entry area on the home. It helps give it a welcoming feel. I have also seen customers use it as in accent in their gables. I have seen where they will do the entire gable with it, and in some instances they will use another panel about 2/3 up the gable and then finish the very top with the board and batten. Both looks just help give the home character, and from a design aspect it opens up the opportunity to use a complementary color. However, I think the next big thing is using the board and batten all over the house. I have seen a few “modern farm houses” over the last 6-8 months. That has been a very sharp look. The home has typically used a solid color around the entire home, and used an offset color for their doors, windows, and shutters. I have seen a few all white board and batten homes with black windows and shutters, it really makes the house stand out.

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Wimsatt: Tell us about Royal Building Products’ offering of dark colors in vinyl siding.  Why dark colors, why now?

Eric: I feel that the customers have always wanted more colors, and dark rich colors have been high in demand. It took the industry some time to get the technology in order. It wouldn’t do Royal or Wimsatt any good if we launched our incredible color offerings, only to have them fail out in the field. This is where Royal is different compared to everyone else. We are actually part of a large chemical company called Westlake Chemical. We have a lot of research and development people who help push the envelope of what technology can do out in the field. There is rigorous testing ofresins and chemical compounds and how we can battle the harmful UV rays. Because of this process we are able to give a Double Lifetime Warranty.

The other part of our dark color success is with our upper management team. There is a two year research effort to pick the right colors, not just to put colors out in the market. We have people working directly with the AIA (American Institute of Architects) and VSI (Vinyl Siding Institute). They continuously work to get their finger on the pulse of the industry. They strive to find out what is new in design and to bring those colors out to the market.

IMG_3581Wimsatt: Thanks for your time today Eric!  To close, tell us a bit about your industry experience.

Eric: I have only been with Royal for two years, however I am not new to the building materials industry. I was born and raised here in Metro Detroit and started swinging a hammer when I was 19. I am not going to tell you how old I am, but I have been in the business for 20 years. You do the math :)

Remodeling Brings Old Homes Up-To-Date

The opportunity here isn't just for builders to stay on-trend with current home buyer tastes. Remodelers can follow suit to help homeowners update their current homes with a more modern look.  For example, an 80's or 90's colonial can easily be updated by replacing whole-house (and typically light-colored) lap siding with vinyl using rich darks in double 4" on the first story and complimentary color board & batten and/or shake siding on the second story and gables.

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In anticipation of increased demand for vinyl shake and board & batten, we've increased our stocking position on both styles to offer over two dozen colors - including a dozen rich darks. We've also remodeled all of our showrooms to display double 4", board & batten, and shake together in various combinations of rich colors to demonstrate the possibilities. Stop by your local showroom to picture the possibilities, and send your clients in to make product selections. We're happy to help you craft beautiful, modern exteriors!

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Wimsatt Building Materials stocks double 4" vinyl siding in dozens of colors from CertainTeed, Mastic Home Exteriors, and Royal Building Products, as well as board & batten siding from Royal and shake from CertainTeed and The Foundry.

Tags Dark Vinyl Siding Board & Batten Vinyl Shake New Construction Remodeling Exterior Cladding

About Dave Karras

Dave Karras

Dave Karras is the Marketing Manager at Wimsatt Building Materials.

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