To Pre, or not to Pre… That is the question. Whether you’re an architect, builder, do-it-yourselfer, or simply a homeowner, when deciding on new siding you will have to answer a few questions – one of which is whether to buy siding prefinished or not. Prefinished siding is simply any of several types of siding that is pre-painted (or finished) to your specification before it is installed on your house.

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This article is going to look at prefinish from the homeowner’s perspective and will look at some of the pros and cons you should consider compared to painting your siding after it is installed.

Quality and Durability

As a homeowner, your single most important concern should be finish quality – how long it will do its job of protecting the siding underneath while still looking good and minimal ongoing maintenance. Factory finished siding stands out in fulfilling this need. Since the factory environment is clean and controlled, there are few weather variables (such as wind-blown dust, big temperature swings, precipitation or excessive humidity) that could affect the paint job quality. Production control allows factory finishers to use paints with much higher solid content than what is available for retail purchase (the solid content is what is left to protect your house after the paint dries).

Additionally, most factory finishers have to go through a series of audits by the paint companies that supply them to make sure of a specified paint thickness that is consistent and adequate to protect the siding and offer a 15 year warranty. There are many great field painters that have been around for years but there are also many that simply “blow and go” and have no concern of the quality of paint or whether it will last.



northwest factory finishes prefinished siding colorsYour next thought is likely the look of the finished product – does it match your taste? Is the color right for the surroundings? Does your home stand out for it’s beauty yet blend in at the same time? A field painter has a bit of flexibility here because they can literally paint any color of the rainbow with equal effort by going down to the paint store and ordering it – so if you want your house painted indulgent purple it is just as easy as painting it khaki brown. However, the field painter is one-dimensional in this respect because they are limited to solid colors. Prefinishers have the benefit of specialized equipment to achieve a variety of finishes from solid color to two-tone to rich natural stains that can make cement or composite wood siding look like real wood. Our local prefinisher, Northwest Factory Finishes in Bonner, MT has over 25 different two-toned colors that are truly unique in addition to the most common solid colors available in inventory. With a little more time and planning your prefinisher can custom match almost any color you can dream of.

Planning for the Future

A last thought might be about the future. Your house might be the perfect size today but what if you want to build an addition later or add a matching garage? When you used prefinished siding backed by a robust inventory program like the one at WBC the solution is as simple as coming in and ordering what you need with the confidence that it will match. With a field painter you will want to make sure they are using the same brand of paint that is on the existing structure and that they match to the weathered color on the wall and not the original paint chip as paint tinted for the field can weather up to 15% faster than the factory mixed paint used on prefinished siding.

Finally, there is also the benefit of having a team by your side for ongoing service and support. Our local prefinisher has a deep relationship at WBC as well as with our distribution partners and they have a dedicated team to serve you whether it in designing your color palette, technical questions on installation, or working with you if a concern arises.

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