Can you help me with an appropriate exterior look?

pamelas_kitchenJanuary 31, 2010

It is time to take care of the damaged siding for my modest 1919 home. The original wood is in poor shape, and some very nice painters have declined to paint it and suggested I go the fiber cement route.

My question really is aesthetic--how do you think I could make make house look most appealing? My neighbors who have an identical house used to have stucco siding (also sadly lost to age) which I though was very pretty and had a cohesive look. Do you think the fiber cement products that mimic stucco would be appropriate? I've never seen it in real life, I don't want a house that has siding like you'd find in a modern development. I'd like to get it done this year (and as you can imagine by looking the weather conditions, will be happy to add insulation). Any thoughts?

I may ask this on some other forums. The people in Home Decorating are very helpful, and maybe the remodelers have some insight. But it's an old house first of all. From House

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

red cedar shingles, weave the corners, vary the exposure and flare the belt line

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 6:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I understand the first part, can guess at the second, but can you please explain vary the exposure and flare the belt line? Thank you!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 7:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Shingles usually have a 5" exposure (the part that is exposed to the weather) but the exposure can be varied withoin the field of the wall. An example would be 5" alternating with 2 1/2".

A the second floor line there appears to be a horizontal "belt" trim. Often the siding above it is flared out to overlap the belt trim.

Sometimes shingles are installed over the existing siding if it is reasonably intact.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 8:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you! I'm not sure whether the whole siding has to come down, but I will know for sure in a few weeks (I do want to insulate) so that may give me some options for varying the exposure, and perhaps even eliminating the belt line. Not every house here has that second floor change in exposure and I might take this opportunity to change it. The house might appear less choppy if there is no line between stories and the siding is consistent (or consistently varied) throughout. I'm still not sure about how it would look best.

I can see there's a lot to be learned here. Interesting. Thanks for the input.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 8:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Our house, built in 1950, has the cement Hardy panels, and it looks like cement stucco. It currently has a dark shingled roof, which will change to a raised panel metal roof one of these days.

We've lived here for 3 years now, and my hubby says it is a very strong house, not subject to very much rot or mold, except for the single glazed windows, which we will have to update pretty soon.

Upkeep on the stucco is minimal, with a pressure wash about once every two years. The house looks white, but is actually a very pale gray to minimize glare in the bright sunshine. I think your house would look very good in a slightly darker shade of gray stucco, with white trim. When the time comes to replace your roof, you can consider the options for a new color there.

You can also find Hardy Plank, which is a lap siding, which does not look anything like the vinyl siding I think you indicated you wish to avoid. I have to give all the cement board options a thumbs UP.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 12:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks moccasinlanding, I think your house looks really nice!

I hadn't seen the Hardi panels in real life, I think they look great. On their web site, it looks like the buildings that use the planks all have lines which make it obvious where the panels begin and end, but I don't see that on your house. Do you know how the change from one panel to another was disguised?

Thanks so much for the picture, that definitely puts the planks in the running. A contractor is coming tomorrow with samples, but I don't know if he knows about this so I will use your picture.

(PS I really like dark gray and white but here in a cold climate I'm thinking of using yellow, just for the cheer factor. But I vacillate--I do really like gray, or gray-blue, or just blue and white too).

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 10:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Great looking house. A good number of the houses in my neighborhood are of this vintage and most have, sadly, gone the white vinyl route. I highly, HIGHLY recommend that you check out some books on Arts and Crafts / Craftsman house colors. They will give you not only some excellent and historically correct colors for the exterior, but should have examples of surface (shingle, siding, stucco, etc.) as well as details (like a flared belt course, which, BTW, I cannot wait to put back on my house after the vinyl comes off)

Two recommended books are: Bungalow Colors Exteriors ( and Moss & Winklers Victorian Exterior Decoration (

Best of Luck !

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 6:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi, old_house, thanks for the link.

So, you think I should keep that belt? I have another thread started called Macv, could I ask you one more thing where I ask for additional input. I was sort of thinking I would put the new shingles all along the house and eliminate that belt. I am now getting more confused, but I guess that's the way to eventually understanding something, isn't it.

Thanks for the complement on my house. It's funny, I was just starting to think it was pretty plain looking (I've been spending time in the Building a House forum to learn about siding options, where there are major mansions on view). I guess I belong here with the Oldsters!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 8:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

With that house you probably do belong over here ;) I LOVE your house! Can't offer any advice, but it's definitely not plain looking. I so wish I had that porch!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 9:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you blackcats, and I do have to admit that my porch is the 8th wonder of the world, but I forget that when winter comes. Think I'll settle into this forum.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 11:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is a great forum, Pamela. I have not been here long enough to be a regular, but I know my house has nothing in common with the newer construction homes. Another good one is THE SMALL HOUSE, which also suits my house. Definitely not all OLD houses are SMALL.

You asked how they merged the Hardi Panels? To the best of my knowledge, they used cement stucco. I woke up my DH to ask.

The Arts & Craft style houses built here in Mobile are generally of stucco but some do have the horizontal wooden lap boards. They could be made of the Hardy board instead of wood. I don't see why the belt (which I have yet to locate on your house, but it will come to me soon) could not be worked into this material choice too.

Oh yes. I thought you had a white roof. HA!! Tonight when I looked, it was SNOW!!! :) Your porch gives a sense of welcome to your house. I can see why you refer to it as the 8th wonder of the world. I feel that way about our sun porch on the south side of our house.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 12:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you moccasinlanding! I appreciate that you woke up your husband to ask (that is so funny, perhaps the spouses of gardenwebbers should have their own forum about sleepless nights due to sudden house question needs--I know mine would sign up).

The contractor brought over some examples of the Hardie stucco and it looked better than I thought it would, more textured, but he didn't know how to connect pieces other than with boards--sort of that Tudor look which I do not think would work on this house, though I have nothing against it.

I love your house, and a south-facing porch sounds like a slice of heaven. On the other hand, I did really respond to Macv's shingle suggestion. That sounds right for this house. I have another thread here called macv, could I ask you one more thing, with additional pictures. You can see the "belt line" there, it is the trim piece between the first and second floor. I have looked around my neighborhood of old houses, and some have the belt while some do not. I am pondering what to do about this feature. So, the decisions continue.

Yes, snow. The roof is a very standard asphalt shingles in "weathered wood." We had a hail storm here that blew part of the roof off and I had to make a quick decision about what to do as rain was flooding the upstairs. So I went with the roofer's suggestion since I didn't have my usual time to perseverate about colors and materials. It's fine, nothing special, pretty neutral.

Thank you again for your comments and help. I bet you're getting tulips soon. Here, it still pretty much looks like the pictures I've posted.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 9:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

old_house_j_i_m, if you're still reading, I took those books out of the library. Love them! Especially the bungalow one. I'm now actually thinking of using contrast to bring out some details of the house (and I am usually a very low contrast person.) Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 9:53PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
stone house
Do any of you out there own a real stone house? Not...
Claw foot
I also posted this in the bathroom forum, but though...
Old-Growth Heart pine paneling -- reused as flooring?
Hi, My new 1939 colonial has a family room and foyer...
Just closed on an older home and homeowners policy was cancelled
Six days ago, we closed on the house of our dreams,...
Need color help with exterior paint on 1902 Victorian with bad siding
We have a 1902 victorian in a small town in Iowa. Unfortunately,...
Jennifer Weinman
Sponsored Products
Stretch Plush Black T-cushion Loveseat Slipcover
Moto Squares Outdoor Wall Sconce
Over Size Bathroom Vessel Sink By MaestroBath
Aqua Greek Key Square Lamp Shade 11x11x9.5 (Spider)
$59.91 | Lamps Plus
Sunnydaze Hammered 100% Copper Fire Pit with Spark Screen, 30 Inch Diameter
Evangeline Peruvian Bronze Eight-Light Foyer Pendant
$950.00 | Bellacor
Designers Fountain Wall Mounted Thatcher Collection 3 Light Wall Mounted
Home Depot
Kichler 340106 12.5 in. Universal Glass Bowl - 340106AMB
$32.98 | Hayneedle
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™