Credit: Andrea Rugg
“The only drawback [of fiberglass siding] is the cost. But if you have a value-conscious buyer, that’s not a drawback,” says Bruce Peter, Just Exteriors, N.Y.
A few years ago a friend sent Bruce Peter, owner of Just Exteriors, in LaGrandville, N.Y., a link to an online slide show. That’s how Peter found out about fiberglass siding. He says that he “immediately got on the phone and said: Tell me about this product!”
Four years and 50 fiberglass siding jobs later, Peter is more than a believer. “From a visual standpoint, it’s the most luxurious product on the market,” he says. His company’s before and after photos back up his claim.
Looks & Performance
Fiberglass siding, like fiberglass windows, is 60% sand; the rest is resin. That fits well with Just Exteriors’ profile as a green contractor installing energy-saving products. Fiberglass siding doesn’t burn, boasts strength, low to no maintenance, and little to no product deterioration. It creates only minor dust when cut and can be used with any number of architectural styles.
Siding contractors who carry it say that strength is its calling card. “The sun causes vinyl siding to deteriorate,” says Arlo Cook, owner of Above & Beyond Construction, a Twin Cities company specializing in exteriors. Fiberglass, on the other hand, “is in a different realm. The material doesn’t hold the temperature,” which means that darker colors are available.
“The only drawback is the cost,” Peter says. “But if you have a value-conscious buyer, that’s not a drawback.”
The Mercedes-Benz of Siding
Market studies show fiberglass siding as barely a blip in a field dominated by the overwhelming favorite, vinyl siding, one where fiber cement has steadily gained market share for the last decade, positioned as an upscale product targeted to homeowners who want a siding replacement solution that lasts as long as the house, or at least as long as they’re living in it.
David DiGiorgi, owner and president of DiGiorgi Roofing & Siding, in Beacon Falls, Conn., says that his company’s experience with fiberglass windows pointed the way to the siding product, which the company can use to differentiate itself. What DiGiorgi likes, in particular, is that the product doesn’t absorb water, seams are easily concealed, and it appeals to the homeowner looking for “an alternative to vinyl” — especially the homeowner who needs to replace wood siding.
Above & Beyond Construction recently set up a booth at a Minneapolis art fair, guessing that art buyers paying thousands for art would be exactly the kind of customers who would be willing to pay for fiberglass siding. Cook says he has sold the job into neighborhoods that his company couldn’t get into with other products. The downside: “It goes up slower,” Peter says. “You have to be fussy with this stuff. It’s a dry system with no caulking, so your cut has to be tight.”
—Jim Cory is editor of REPLACEMENT CONTRACTOR.