Sunday, July 27, 2014

What will survive the high winds that come off the great lakes on the outside of my cottage?


I’m having a cottage built on the water of the great lakes and I’m worried about the high winds. Can you give me any advice on what type of siding or other products that I should put on my house so that it won’t get damaged?


There are several types of material that I would recommend installing on the outside of your cottage and
there are materials that I would strongly recommend against installing on the outside of your cottage. Let’s start with the material that I would stay away from;

Vinyl Siding

There are many different types of vinyl siding, degrees of thickness, colour, shape, installation methods and availability. I would recommend against all of them, especially on a cottage that is going to have to deal with the extreme winds that are coming off the great lakes.

Vinyl siding must be installed loosely, that means that the nails that hold it on the building are not nailed tight. This allows the vinyl to shrink and expand in the summer sun, vinyl actually moves so much that if you don’t install the fasteners in this way it will buckle and come apart from the siding around it.

Because vinyl siding is installed loosely, it can catch the wind, if the wind catches the underside of it then it will be ripped off the house fairly easily.

Vinyl siding is installed with Vinyl trims around the windows and doors. There is no caulking used in the installation of vinyl siding. That means that with a driving rain there is a chance that water will penetrate around the window and get behind the siding.

Wood Siding

Wood siding has come a long way in the last three decades. It is painted in a factory and the finish is warranted for 15 years. That means that you shouldn’t have to repaint the house 15 yrs, as long as the paint is refreshed when it is needed the siding should last a life time.

Wood siding is installed with ring nail fasteners. This means that short of a tornado wood siding should never be pulled off a home even in constant high winds. There are wood siding applications that now tongue and groove all the joints so that there is even less chance for movement.

Caulking is required for wood siding, caulking around every joint, window, door and protrusion. This will ensure that nothing penetrates the siding even in a driving rain.

Steel/metal siding

Steel siding comes in many different shapes, styles and applications. It is becoming more popular to on custom homes. New steel siding is painted in a factory the same way that they paint cars, the siding comes with a long warranty and the finish will withstand almost anything.

Steel siding has the ability to withstand impact at a much higher degree than normal siding. Steel siding does not bend well and as such if the wind was to catch a corner of it there would be little damage to the siding as it resists the urge to fold and be pulled away.
Steel siding is more expensive then wood and looks a lot different but with steel comes one of the best warranties you could ever want.


Putting stone either natural or manufactured is a great way to protect your home. Either product is basically a forever product as long as it’s installed properly.

There’s a reason that castles are still standing after 1000’s of years, stone doesn’t move, bend, shrink or
expand. It stays in one place no matter what the weather is or the temperature.

Putting stone on the windward side of your cottage will guarantee that you wouldn’t have any wind damage no matter how high the wind blows. Flying debris will not damage stone or penetrate it.

There are so many different types of stone whether it is manufactured or natural, the choices are almost endless and it will have more to do with your budget and less to do with the availability of the product.


Stucco should never be put on a cottage. Stucco has come a long way in the last couple of decades but it is still a product that was invented for warmer southern climates where they have to deal with more intense heat and sun and less wind and rain. Stucco will absorb moisture, flying debris or high winds will damage stucco overtime.

Stucco is a high maintenance material and should be avoided in cottage country.

Cement siding

Cement siding is strong and will stand up to high winds and flying debris. The paint warranties are the same as wood siding with you not having to worry about repainting for at least 15 years.

Cement siding will not tear, bend or be ripped off a home short of a tornado. It is highly durable and will last a long time.

Cement siding requires caulking at all joints, windows, doors and penetrations.

The only difference between cement siding and wood siding is that cement siding is a lot more expensive and requires more time to install.

Remember that when picking the exterior product that you want on your roof you should weigh durability, style, and price. Your budget will have the biggest impact on what you place as a finish on the outside of
your home.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

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