Home Exterior Finishes…

Justin and I have been thinking about houses.   We’re about to put our Fort Worth home up for sale, and are looking into options for our next home.  

  • Do we want to remodel again?  (Asks the remodelaholic… you think this question is a given, right?)  
  • Do we want a small house that we can fix and then rent?
  • A forever/ dream home?
  • An inbetween home?

Um, probably none of the above.  Well, maybe the closest possibility is the forever home…  The truth is, we are leaning heavily toward building!  My reputation as a self proclaimed remodelaholic just shattered!   The truth is after remodeling the last 4 homes, at the end of the projects, I am still left with a lot of things that bother me.  Be it the look of the home, or a poor existing floor plan, or the location.  So I really want to see if building makes me happier…I don’t think it will be our final home, I think it will just be our first experience building.  I KNOW we will learn a lot, so I don’t want to assume this will be my forever home.

But staying within budget is another goal.  We learned in our second home the stress of buying a home above our income.  I never want to feel that stress again.  We were lucky that we were able to sell it for profit, but I don’t ever want to be house poor again, now that I know what that felt like.  When we are building, while we want the house to look and be fabulous, also we want it to be as budget conscious as it can be.

So today, let’s talk about exterior finishes.  I will say upfront that I am leaning toward vinyl siding, maybe with a little brick, but overall I have three major concerns: will it fit our budget, is there a lot of maintenance, and is it stylish, (does it look good)?

22 Georgian 2 B

5 Federal 3 B


Like I mentioned above, budget is a big concern.   I want to LOVE my new home, but not be a slave to it.  So, I thought this was interesting, the R.S. Means 2014 Residential Cost Data, estimates the total installed cost per 100 sq. ft.:

 $201 Vinyl Siding,

$300 for Fiber Cement,

$550 for Wood Siding,  

$935 for Brick

Also, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2013-14 Cost vs. Value Report, vinyl siding and insulated siding will recoup more than 78 percent of their installed cost.  Recouping cost is important to me, since I am not planning on living in this home forever, and I don’t want to overbuild and not earn anything back.  The price comparison is pretty obvious here.  

I like that vinyl siding manufacturers generally offer a lifetime warranty for the original home owner and typically carry a prorated warranty of at least 50 years to subsequent owners because that will just be good peace of mind when/if we do sell.

7 Cape Cod2 B

41 Craftsman4 B

36 French colonial 2 B


We have some experience with different types of home cladding.  We’ve had 2 homes with vinyl siding (loved), and 2 homes with brick/composite siding, with wood trim.  One thing I have learned about myself is that I don’t like a lot of upkeep on the outside of the house.

I want something that lasts, and that I don’t have to scrape and paint every few years, not to mention the additional cost of paint, supplies and time (or paying for labor to do that for you!).   Vinyl siding does not require painting, staining or caulking, it does not chip, peel, rot, or absorb moisture, which saves time.   The durability and ease of maintenance make it my kind of product!  Minimal maintenance does more than save time, it saves money, I like keeping my money, not gonna lie!!  With fewer materials to purchase, vinyl siding reduces the life cycle cost of maintaining the home. 

I love that vinyl siding only needs a quick wash down in the spring or fall and I am good.  On our second home, I remember how dirty the vinyl siding was when we bought it.  One quick pressure wash later and the house looked brand new, it was a great day!  However, on our third home, we had some staining on the composite siding, I scrubbed for days, but the staining had absorbed into the paint, hence the stain is still there to this day (the house was painted right be fore we bought it)!

How does it hold up?   While light weight, today’s vinyl siding is engineered to optimum stiffness and stability to withstand winds of at least 110 mph and resist impacts and the weathering effects of heat, cold, and moisture.   Certified vinyl siding will retain its great looks, guaranteed. If installed according to manufacturers’ instructions, vinyl siding certified through the Vinyl Siding Institute’s (VSI) program for quality will meet or exceed the industry standards for color retention, resisting major color changes in a variety of climates.


 So how does it look?  Actually, I am really impressed with all the new types, textures and options in vinyl siding!  I LOVE the cedar shakes version that comes in several colors, it has such great texture:

8' Cedar 

These houses, are great styles that look great, minus the maintenance and a great price:

7 Cape Cod2 B

Cape Cod

I love cape cods!



Great mix of stone, brick and vinyl siding!  


I love the board and batten look!  With all the different varieties, I feel like your house doesn’t have to be boring!    


I love the color of this one!


How cute are the gables in the decorative siding option above!


I triple love, love, love this house!  It is exactly the style I dream of!

VSI Homepage

My style leans toward a traditional looking home.    And I love that with vinyl I can have character and charm of wood siding without maintenance worries, rotting, splitting or insect damage. Now, almost any type of trim or accessory that has been traditionally produced in wood is now available in vinyl and other low maintenance materials.

Now, we just have to sell our house, find a lot to build on… and pick a floor plan!  Cue scary music, dun, dun, dun!!

*I partnered with the Vinyl Siding Institute to write this post.  However all opinions shared are my own.

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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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  1. We just built a home and did the Pacific Blue siding that you show, with thick white trim and window casings. We also paired ours with a wood front door and it all just pops. We get so many compliments on the house color. Our neighborhood is a sea of beige and our house definitely stands out, but in a good way:)

  2. Vinyl siding has come a long way! I love the cedar shakes look. I think it’s my favorite.
    My son used it on his lake house. Of course then he sold it. But it was pretty while it lasted.

    Good luck in selling your home! And whatever you guys do, I can’t wait to see what you come up with. Exciting!

  3. We have a 1918 farmhouse east of MCKinney and have the vinyl siding on it- we love the look and maintenance of the vinyl though we did get slammed in the past storm- we are going back with vinyl, but want to find the insulated hail resistant product.

  4. Oh how exciting!! AND how wonderful you have the background to make sure the build is of good quality both in finding a contractor, style, builder and so on. That is SO much more than the bulk of home purchaser/builders have in the way of resources.
    I say cue “We’re off to see the Wizard..”! Expect the very, very best!!! With BOTH selling AND building!!!
    Rock on!!

  5. First time commenter, new-ish reader 🙂 love all of these examples!

    I wanted to caution you about fiber cement and synthetic stucco (I know you didn’t mention stucco, but it factored into a big decision for us.) We had just bought our dream house, in our dream neighborhood, when my husband’s employer closed up shop and transferred us. We had a relocation package that included buying our home-unless it had fiber cement or synthetic stucco siding. We had about 10% of each on some decorate accents and gables. They refused to buy it, even if we pulled it off & replaced it. Total nightmare that ended in a year with two house payments and a gigantic loss on the sale of the dream house.

    All of this is to say that I totally agree with vinyl. It’s gorgeous and completely at home on almost all architectural styles. Can’t wait to watch your home building/buying journey!

  6. Cassity, best of luck in building your home. You two will be fine. Geesh, you guys are going in with so much knowledge already. Three years ago, my husband and I decided to build. While we kind of knew what we wanted, I wish I would have known about your blog back then. 🙂 The layout of our home works for us and we added upgrades to stuff that we did not want to have to worry about later. However, we still needed to stay within budget. Now, we are very slowing adding different elements and upgrades that we could not afford before.

    The exterior of our house is fiber cement siding (we have lots of woodpeckers here) by James Hardie with some stone work. If our budget would have allowed, I would have done all exterior stone and added a turret. 😉 Make a wish list and then go from there. 🙂

  7. We too built last year. It was a process…too many choices for tile seemed to be my downfall. That was probably the only hang up we had. We also used the Pacific Blue siding by CertainTeed with white trim. Our exterior doors, roof and exterior lights are all black. I am now considering painting our garage door black as well. I love it!!! We wanted something completely unlike anyone else and we definitely achieved it!

  8. How exciting! I hope to build someday, but I dread making SO many decisions. I can’t wait to follow your journey, though! Good luck in the sale of your home. No doubt it looks terrific.

  9. Last spring, after MONTHS of indecision, we decided on Certainteeds vinyl shakes, in the color Clay. I had brown Anderson windows to deal with, and a grayish roof, hence the color choice. It is clay, but has a purplish undertone in this line.
    Anyhow, I combined with white Azek trim around every door, and white vinyl around the previously untrimmed casement windows. Topped off with black (vinyl) shutters and burnished barn lights…. I am in L <3 VE!!

  10. Vinyl cheapens a house. It’s fine if you’re in a lower price point but above a certain level premium buyers will walk away. Myself included.