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Siding Guide for Commercial Property Managers

Get All the Details on Siding for Your HOA, Apartment, or Condo

‍As a commercial property manager, you need quality information about siding. You want maintenance-free commercial siding at a decent cost, but when it’s less expensive, will it require more upkeep and not last as long? And before you choose new siding, you must be sure it’s time to replace it! So how do you know when and if you should?

At American Way Exteriors, we want to help commercial property managers make well-informed decisions about siding. We created this in-depth guide to answer all your questions. Read on to learn everything you need to know about commercial siding.

A large brown building with a fence and trees in front of it.

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Commercial Property Siding

As an HOA, apartment, or condo manager, you are responsible for ensuring your buildings are safe, well-maintained, and aesthetically pleasing. You must handle any issues or concerns as soon as they arise.

Siding plays a crucial role in your multi-family property, so you must recognize when it’s time to replace it! It is the outward “face” of the business, and a well-kept, attractive façade improves curb appeal, which attracts more tenants and patrons. Siding also protects a building from the elements. Because it’s exposed to the weather and other wear and tear, siding can deteriorate, compromising your property’s structural integrity.

Here are some signs that it’s time to replace your multi-family property’s siding:

  1. Changes in your energy bill – A sudden increase in your property’s energy bills can mean that your siding is compromising your building’s energy efficiency.
  2. Warping and buckling – Moisture damage causes bulges or raised boards.
  3. Peeling, bubbling, or frequent painting – This may indicate water permeation.
  4. Cracked or loose boards – An excessive number of damaged boards can allow water to infiltrate.
  5. Mold or mildew – This is a clue that water is trapped underneath. Mold or mildew can be black, green, yellow, or rust-colored and flat, powdery, or fluffy.
  6. Damage in the interior – Moisture penetration may cause leaks in exterior-facing, interior walls.

What Commercial Siding Materials Are Suitable for The Climate in My Area?

Dayton, Ohio’s snowy, cold winters and long, steamy summers can be rough on building exteriors, including siding. That is why you must choose a durable material that can withstand these harsh conditions.

Here are siding materials that can stand up to Dayton’s weather:

James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding

Durable James Hardie fiber cement siding is made from a mixture of sand, wood fiber, and Portland cement. Here are its benefits:

  • Moisture resistant so piled snow won’t rot or warp boards
  • Withstands temperature extremes

The proprietary HardieZone system was developed after a study of the long-term effects that different climates have on exteriors. HZ5 products are engineered for Dayton’s temperature variations.

Mastic Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is flexible, inexpensive, and easy to install:

  • Exceptional insulation
  • Doesn’t require painting
  • Cost-effective

LP SmartSide Engineered Wood Siding

Impact-resistant LP SmartSide engineered wood siding has the look of wood with less upkeep and is:

  • Engineered to hold up to Dayton’s freeze and thaw cycle
  • Low maintenance
  • Durable

Brick Siding

Resistant to damage from high winds and heavy snow, brick siding also:

  • Provides exceptional insulation
  • Is low maintenance

Metal Siding

Metal siding can give your commercial property a crisp, modern style. It is also exceptionally durable and:

  • Protects your building’s structural integrity
  • Is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions
  • Is easy to insulate

Common Pests That Affect the Siding on Multi-Family Properties

Termites, rodents, woodpeckers, carpenter bees, and powderpost beetles – oh my! All joking aside, these uninvited, unwanted pests can cause serious damage to your commercial property’s siding. Here’s how:


Termites can chew their way through all kinds of siding, not just wood. They are tiny creatures and can squeeze through a space as small as 1/32 of an inch. In severe cases, termites’ munching can eventually threaten the structural integrity of your multi-family property. If you have termites around your building, you may see mud tubes running up from the ground to the siding or hear a hollow sound when you tap on it with a metal tool.


Rodents love chomping on all types of siding, often seeking a comfortable nesting spot. If they’re chewing on your siding, they will likely find a way inside. In addition to their potential to damage your building’s structural integrity, rodents can leave droppings that spread disease. Splintery pieces on the edge of your siding may indicate rodent damage.


If woodpeckers are targeting your building, you will hear a pounding noise or see drumming holes that look like small, shallow holes in a cluster, or wider cone-shaped depressions along the corners. If the holes are too large to repair, you’ll need new siding.

Carpenter Bees and Powderpost beetles

Powderpost beetle damage is small holes (about 1/32 to 1/16 inch diameter). There will also be very fine sawdust around your siding. Carpenter bee damage looks similar but may also be accompanied by a yellowish tint near the entrance of the holes.  Both can cause serious structural damage.

Which Commercial Siding Options Are Low-Maintenance?

As a property manager for any type of building, you likely juggle many tasks daily. Choosing low-maintenance siding means you don’t have to add constant siding repairs and maintenance to your already long to-do list.

Here’s the upkeep that different siding materials require:

  • James Hardie Fiber Cement – Fiber cement siding is incredibly low-maintenance and only needs washed every six to 12 months. If it comes with Hardie ColorPlus baked-on colors, then the paint is warrantied for 15 years.
  • Vinyl  – Low-maintenance vinyl siding usually only requires a thorough washing once or twice a year.
  • Brick – Brick siding doesn’t require much upkeep, as it doesn’t dent or rot and is pest-resistant.
  • Metal – Metal siding doesn’t require deep cleaning or extensive maintenance since it doesn’t promote mold or algae growth and is resistant to pests. It may require finishing every five to 10 years.
  • Engineered wood – Engineered wood siding doesn’t peel or chip like real wood, but does require repainting every five to 10 years.

How Long Can I Expect My Commercial Siding to Last?

New siding is a major expense for any HOA, apartment, or condo manager. As a property manager, you want a high return on your investment! The more durable your siding is, the more cost-effective it becomes.

Here is a list of siding materials and how long you can expect them to last:

  • Vinyl – 20 to 40 years
  • Fiber cement – up to 50 years
  • Brick – as long as 100 years
  • Metal – up to 30 years
  • Engineered wood – between 20 and 30 years

Why James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding Is Hard to Beat For Commercial Siding

Now that you have more information, you should be able to narrow down which siding is right for your commercial building. The truth is, there’s a reason that James Hardie fiber cement siding is so popular for homes, and those same properties can work to your advantage in your commercial building. Here are some of the many benefits of Hardie siding and how other siding materials stand up to it:

  • Fiber cement siding is noncombustible – Engineered wood is not noncombustible and vinyl siding will melt when exposed to flame.
  • Fiber cement siding is dent- and crack-resistant – Metal dents when it is impacted, and vinyl siding is prone to cracks in cold weather.  
  • Fiber cement siding is rust- and corrosion-resistant – Metal siding can corrode over time.  
  • Fiber cement withstands freeze and thaw cycles – Vinyl siding expands, contracts, warps, and buckles with extreme weather changes.  
  • Fiber cement siding is pest resistant – Vinyl siding is installed with gaps to accommodate possible expansion and contraction, which gives pests an entrance into your building.    
  • Fiber cement siding comes in many colors and styles – Metal siding offers only a few style choices.
  • Fiber cement siding is low maintenanceVinyl siding is vulnerable to weather damage so occasional repairs are necessary.

Questions You Should Ask a Commercial Siding Property Contractor

Before you begin selecting siding for your commercial property, you must find the right contractor. A siding contractor that understands the needs of your multi-family property is crucial to your project’s ultimate success! If you know what questions to ask, you can be more confident in choosing your commercial siding contractor.

  1. Tell me about your company. – How long has it been in business and who owns it? Is it a large chain or a local family business?
  2. What type of licensing, certifications, and insurance do you have, and are you bonded? – Licensed siding contractors have specialized training, bonding guarantees they will finish regardless of circumstances, and insurance will prevent you from being liable for worker injuries.
  3. Are you familiar with insurance claims? – A company that handles insurance claims can advise whether a claim is warranted, work with the adjuster, and help with paperwork.
  4. Do you use subcontractors? –  Subcontractors may not be well-trained or insured.
  5. What is the project timeline? – Ensure you and your contractor are on the same page so they fulfill your expectations. They should add extra time to accommodate weather delays or other unforeseen events.
  6. Please provide a record of how many projects you completed on time. – A consistent track record of project completion on or close to the deadline means you can expect the same.
  7. Can you provide references? – Your prospective contractor should have a list of references who worked with them on similar projects that can tell you about their experience.
  8. Tell me about your payment schedule. – When are the payments due and how much can you expect each to be? Is the bid an estimate or a fixed price?
  9. Do you guarantee or provide warranties on your work? – A contractor confident in their craftsmanship will guarantee their work and provide warranties on the materials.
  10. When can you start? – Ask the contractor how long they expect the preliminary work to take and when they can start the actual construction.

American Way Exteriors Is Dayton’s Commercial Siding Expert

At American Way Exteriors, we understand you must preserve your commercial property’s curb appeal and durability. That is why we are committed to providing Dayton-area commercial property managers with top-notch service, including continual communication, a clear itemized proposal, expert installation services, and more.

James Hardie Elite Preferred Remodeler

We also install top-of-the-line commercial siding products, which is why we specialize in James Hardie fiber cement siding, the strongest available that stands up against Ohio’s harshest elements and comes with a 30-year warranty. As the only James Hardie Elite Preferred Contractor in the Dayton area, we have gone through extensive training from the manufacturer so you can be confident your siding is installed correctly, and your warranty is protected.

Learn more about our commercial siding services.

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