BUILDER: Pete Stefani
FIRM: King’s Court Builders, Inc.
Performance issues with engineered wood siding and lack of manufacturer support led this custom-home builder to search for a new siding material.
With its collection of siding, trim and soffit in various styles, textures and colors, James Hardie gives builders the diversity they need to accurately capture any design.
Pete Stefani takes pride in having built and closed more than 1,100 homes in Chicago’s western suburbs since 1986. “It means so much to me that we build houses which people call their homes. More than a job, it’s a passion,” explains Stefani. “You really appreciate how the long-term reliability of the products you use will translate into the long-term satisfaction of the families that move in.”
When starting out in the business, he used engineered wood as a cedar siding substitute. However, product failure within a couple years of installation led to unhappy homeowners. Due to a lack of manufacturer support, Stefani had to replace the engineered wood siding at his own expense. So, for the last decade he’s switched to building homes with stronger, more reliable James Hardie® fiber cement siding. “We’re much happier with the long-term results,” says Stefani.
Beautiful James Hardie® ColorPlus® Technology products can be installed year-round, while delivering superior color consistency and performance for many years to come.
Engineered wood siding still acts like wood
To this day, Stefani sees problems with engineered wood products, “they move on the wall more than you’d like. In this climate, we go from warm, humid summers to cold, arid winters and that’s ripe for expansion and contraction in wood products. It can get to the point where the engineered wood bows off the wall because of two pieces expanding against each other.”
Another downside is the manufacturer’s recommended 3/16-inch gap between boards to accommodate expected swelling. Homeowners complain when they inspect their newly installed siding. Stefani notes, “Those gaps don’t make a real good impression and they don’t build confidence with the homeowner."
James Hardie’s products and support give us a competitive edge
When Stefani first met with the James Hardie rep, he sensed a real commitment. Through the years, the company has exceeded his expectations. He is especially impressed with how James Hardie continuously looks to innovate. “Everything they do is top-notch, from their products to the marketing materials to the support they give us,” Stefani raves.
“The James Hardie siding lays on the wall really nice, and we know it’s going to stay that way. I’m thrilled with it and so are my homeowners. The Hardie name gives us instant reliability and credibility as being a top-quality builder. And their ColorPlus® Technology has raised the bar in siding products. It’s more consistent and more durable than other siding finishes.”
One of the most pleasant surprises for Stefani has been the support from their James Hardie technical representative. The representative visits every one of Stefani’s project sites to make sure the crews are properly trained and to answer any questions. “In my three decades of experience, no other manufacturer supports their product with service like that.” This helps Stefani avoid the callbacks that followed his engineered wood siding jobs.
And Stefani plans to return the favor. “I won’t even consider using a different fiber cement company or engineered wood product company because of everything that James Hardie has done to cement our relationship.”