Why Polymer Shakes siding

Consumer Reports Liked It

Until Consumer Reports did a review of siding in June 2009, we’d never heard of polymer shakes siding and would have dismissed it out of hand if we did.  Polymer shakes?? Yuk.

In June 2009, Consumer Reports reviewed siding including fiber cement board siding (such as HardiePlank), vinyl siding and polymer shakes siding.   Certainteed’s Cedar Impressions Polymer Shakes siding was the top ranked siding with a score of 95.  Fiber cement siding (such as Hardie Plank) ranked at the bottom with a score in the mid 60’s and vinyl siding (multiple products & types) was in the middle of the rankings.

This was a wake up call for us.  It sure seemed like we should reconsider our HardiePlank decision and take a good look at polymer shakes siding , the top rated siding type.

We had been planning on replacing our current siding (cement fiberboard) with HardiePlank cement fiber board siding, which seems to be a very popular siding and is found on nearly all the houses in our neighborhood.

Polymer Shakes Are Maintenance Free

Polymer shakes are maintenance free.  They never need painting; the color is is baked in as part of the manufacturing process. This was a big factor in our decision.  We really wanted to get to low (read ‘no’) maintenance and had recently replaced our windows with vinyl/aluminum clad exteriors  that never need painting. Going with polymer shakes siding means our whole exterior is maintenance free.  Or about as maintenance free as you can get; we’ve heard that we might want to power wash every few years.

What It Looks Like

The polymer shakes come in panels roughly 14″-18″ wide and varying lengths.  The panels are installed similar to other siding types, with one panel overlaping the other.  A panel looks like a row of shingles.

Each panel looks like a row of painted cedar shingles.  One of my concerns was how ‘real’ and/or ‘classy’ the polymer shingles would look.  They actually look great.  Honest. Even close up  the polymer shingles look like real painted cedar shingles.  The operative word is ‘painted’, as the shingles have a definite painted (vs. stained) look.  (There is a fairly new stained look version that we didn’t look at, so I really can’t comment on).

Touching the shingles dispels any notion that they are real cedar.  The shingles feel nice, but definitely do not feel like painted cedar/wood.   When touched the polymer shingles feel like siding to me.

Six Styles

There are roughly six styles. We went with Double 9″ Staggered Rough Split as we looked at a house that used this style and fell in love.  We’re from New England and it reminded me of houses there.  We actually didn’t like the rough split versions in the samples, but loved it on an actual house. Our original choice was Double 7″ Straight Edge Perfection.  I saw a house that used this and it looked just fine; I think they used the Heartstone color. We also seriously considered Double 7″ Staggered Perfection.  Depending on which style is selected there is something like 25 colors to choose from.

  1. Double 9″ Staggered Perfection:  the shingles are a little bigger; 9″ wide with a ‘rough’, staggered appearance.   Double means that each panel has two rows of shingles.
  2. Double 7″ Straight Edge Perfection:  The shingles are 7″ wide and the shingles are in a straight line (not staggered).  Smooth appearance.
  3. Double 7″ Staggered Perfection:  7″ wide and staggered. smooth appearance.
  4. Double 7″ Straight Edge Rough Split: 7″ wide, rough appearance.
  5. Triple 5″ Straight Edge Perfection: 5″ wide, three rows of shingles per panel.
  6. Double 6 1/4″ Half Round:  think Victorian house with gingerbread trim.

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