offers the gamut of low-maintenance vinyl siding choices,
from value priced options to simulated shakes.
Time-Saving Products for your Home
What’s behind the trend toward low-maintenance products for
the home? Her Home went one-on-one with home buyers and builders
to discover the perceptions and values behind the surge. The insights
just might surprise you!
With warm weather settling in, Cindy’s thoughts turned to
her spacious backyard deck where she and her family love to spend
time. Every couple of years, she and her husband face the hassle
of power washing and re-sealing their wood deck.
Cindy says a low-maintenance alternative would be mentally freeing. “Installing
a low-maintenance deck would bring the freedom of knowing you are
completed with the project. I would never have to do anything with
it again. I could sit and enjoy my deck without constantly thinking
about the work it needs. It would bring closure to an otherwise ongoing
Like Cindy, most of the women we talked with described maintenance
as emotionally burdensome. Some felt guilty about not getting everything
done. Others worried that bigger problems might arise if they didn’t
get little upkeep projects done in time. The tasks intimidated some
who feared they couldn’t do the job properly or that they would
hire the wrong contractor and get “taken.” And, of course,
most were concerned that their homes appeared well kept.
Recently widowed, Delores provided a unique, new perspective on
low maintenance that will likely only grow in importance. “When Steve (her husband)
was around, we shared the maintenance issues. Now all of the home maintenance
has fallen on me. There’s so much to be done; I don’t have
time to do the things I would really like to do.”
Other women concurred, dismissing the notion that exterior maintenance
and upkeep is primarily the man’s responsibility.
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Sharon loves her new vinyl siding, saying it made her home look
like new. “Now I get satisfaction every time I drive by my
home,” she remarked. “We have an older home and my husband
doesn’t paint. That meant every few years I had to paint the
outside, which took time away from my garden and fish ponds. And
I don’t like heights. The only way to reach one part of my
home when painting was to climb up on the roof. I just didn’t
Whoever said “time is money” could have been thinking
about home maintenance. In Just Ask A Woman, author Mary Lou Quinlon
answers the question, “What do most women feel they deserve,
particularly women with families and job responsibilities? TIME.” It
has also been said that time is the new currency directly competing
with dollars for our attention.
Still, dollars spent for maintenance are a significant issue. Arloene
lives in the same house she and her husband built 43 years ago. She
is on her fifth roof. “Living in the Midwest,” according
to Arloene, “means living with thunderstorms, high winds and
“After a hailstorm four years ago, I called my insurance agent.
He sent an adjuster out and, even though the roof did not need to
be replaced, the company raised my insurance rates. Just because
they had sent an adjuster out! When I did replace the shingles last
year, I chose top quality shingles that will withstand hail and wind.
They cost a little more, but I shouldn’t ever have to replace
the roof again.”
Julie recently replaced her old windows with low-maintenance windows
that tilt-in for easy cleaning. “I like having things clean
and I can clean the new windows four times a year, whereas the older
windows only got cleaned in the spring and fall. And I still have
more time to get other maintenance tasks done that otherwise wouldn’t
get done at all.”
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Next on Julie’s list: gutter covers. “We have a two-story
home. The gutters overflow if we don’t clean the leaves and
gunk out of them. But it’s such a hard job, especially in late
fall when the trees shed their leaves and temperatures drop into
the 30’s and 40’s!”
Unexpectedly, most of the people we talked with concentrated on
their home’s exterior. Yet, for Jane Davis, owner of Village
Builders, a custom homebuilder in Michigan, low-maintenance exteriors
have been a selling point for years.
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“People are very busy
and don’t have a lot of time for maintenance and upkeep. Buyers
are looking for low or no-maintenance products within their budget.
“With our weather changes here in Michigan, buyers want to
eliminate exterior painting. Hence, the popularity of brick, stone,
vinyl siding and aluminum soffits. No maintenance exteriors helped
set our company apart from other area builders years ago. We offer
insulated steel exterior doors, clad windows and 30-year dimensional
shingles – with fifty-year shingles as an upgrade.”
Fox Homes, of Gig Harbor, Washington, builds 50
to 75 homes per year averaging $130,000 on their customers’ lots.
For their buyers, practicality and price dictate low maintenance
According to company spokesman Brian Cochran, “Fiber-cement
siding is standard because painting wood siding every five years
is a nuisance and expensive. We also use a good, continuous ridge,
roof venting system that helps attics breathe and reduces heat build
up, extending the life of our homes.” Cochran went on to say that in his area, moss is a real problem
for wood porches.
Fox Homes’ standard approach is to pour concrete porch slabs
that require almost no maintenance. “Composite decking is great
for our customers who can afford it,” he adds. Zero-maintenance,
vinyl windows, fiberglass doors and steel garage doors round out
Fox Homes’ surprisingly affordable low-maintenance approach.
The combination of aesthetics, performance and
practicality have helped make low-maintenance products an easy
decision for buyers
and builders alike. Whether the appeal is “easy to clean” or “lifetime
warranty,” is it any wonder so many homes are being touted
as low maintenance?