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Home > Rules and Policies > Exterior Covering Definitions
Exterior Covering Definitions
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Canopy MLS defines the options below provided in the Exterior Covering field and to give name-brand examples of each type.  The source of these definitions is


Aluminum: Looks similar to vinyl siding, but is metal and can be easily dented.


Asbestos: Asbestos siding was introduced in the 1920s as a fire-proof cladding for homes that could also resist rot and insects.  Asbestos itself is actually a rock that has a fibrous makeup that looks a lot like hair or fur. Asbestos is safe unless inhaled. This happens when the siding is cut or broken. The only true way to identify asbestos siding is to have it tested. It does have some characteristics to look for. It is usually in a shingle/shake form that measures 12″x24″. It may be smooth or have a pressed wood-grain pattern on the surface of the board. It usually will have two or three nails at the bottom portion of each panel.  It feels denser to the touch than current fiber-cement siding, and it was typically dyed when manufactured so it wouldn’t need to be painted. Efflorescence (chalking) can commonly be seen on asbestos siding.  If the house was built around or prior to the late 70s, has the original siding and seems to be made of cement, it probably has asbestos siding.


Brick Full:  Means all exterior walls are brick (excluding dormers or bay windows). Brick Full can include solid brick or full brick cladding.


Fiber Cement: Fiber cement is more commonly referred to as HardiePlank siding. Today there are several companies that produce fiber cement siding and building products. It is formulated using sand, cement and cellulose fibers. It is very durable and can be painted or stained. It also comes in pre-painted or pre-stained versions from different manufacturers. It is available in a wide variety of shapes and styles for siding, trim boards and soffit material. It is generally more expensive than aluminum or vinyl siding, but less expensive than stone or brick cladding. Fiber cement siding can be seen on newer homes built from the late 1980s to present date. 


Hard Stucco: Real stucco siding is a mixture of cement and inert materials like sand, water and lime, and it is installed directly onto a wall after the proper preparations have been made to the wall surface. It can be mixed with different grades of sand to achieve the desired texture and is generally tinted so that it doesn’t have to be painted for a long time. It is one of the oldest forms of cladding and is impervious to rot and insect damage if installed correctly. If you knock on the side of the house, it will sound solid and not hollow.


Hardboard Siding: Also known as synthetic wood siding, pressboard or masonite siding, hardboard siding is mainly comprised of wood fibers, flakes or chips that are held together by glues and resins.  This type of siding was extremely popular from the 1980s to the mid-1990s as a low-cost alternative to other existing house sidings. It is mainly referred to as masonite siding because the company Masonite was the first manufacturer of this type of product. However, there have been several companies that have manufactured this type of product since it was introduced in the 1920s. There are many different types and styles of this product that have been made into both vertical and horizontal sidings. The best way to determine the siding type is to go to an unfinished area like the attic and look on the backside of the board to find the manufacturer’s name or an AHA (The American Hardboard Association) code. This will help determine the manufacturer of the product and where it was made.  Another way is to try to identify specific markings on the exterior grain (if one exists). For instance, the Masonite-brand siding has a waffle-iron texture, Weyerhaeuser’s has a smoother finish that resembles cork and Louisiana Pacific (LP) siding has a distinct knot that is repetitive throughout the board.


Synthetic Stucco: Synthetic stucco was introduced in the 1950s. It made a comeback during the 1980s in the U.S. as a less-expensive alternative to real stucco. Synthetic stucco consists of three layers. The exterior layer is made of a textured finish coat, which is the side that you see on the home.  The middle layer consists of a cement base coat and a glue that is reinforced with a fiberglass mesh, which is applied to the inner layer – a foam insulation board. This is the final layer, and it is usually glued directly to the sheathing of the house. This material was originally produced with the intention of attaching directly onto stone or brick. Problems with moisture and rot damage occurred when it started being applied to wood structures. EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish System) is one such system that is well known for its problems with residential applications. If you have moisture issues concerning stucco, you may see signs of swollen trim around your window and door frames, peeling or blistering paint, or mold and mildew issues on the exterior finish or even the interior of your home. This, too, can be easily identified by knocking on the wall to see if it sounds solid or hollow. If it sounds hollow, it is most likely synthetic stucco. Oftentimes, there will be parts of the house that may have some puncture damages or holes that birds have pecked their way into the wall to make it their home. Can you see foam inside these places? It’s synthetic stucco! 


Vinyl: Vinyl siding is also easy to identify. It feels like plastic, is dyed the same color throughout, and when pushing on the wall of a house it tends to flex. Like Masonite siding it is also usually labeled by the manufacturer, or it may have a manufacturing code on the back side of the siding panel. Vinyl siding is a popular choice for homeowners because of the price, and it can be installed over their existing siding. It never needs to be painted. One drawback is that if a piece of siding needs to be replaced, it can be difficult to find the same manufacturer, style and color for an exact match. If you are lucky enough to find that exact piece, the color may not match exactly due to fading of the existing siding. In recent years, manufacturers have introduced insulated vinyl siding as an upgraded product. It is like regular vinyl siding, only it has an insulated foam backing that helps with energy costs and durability.


Other: When “other” is used in any field of a listing, the Listing Brokerage shall provide an explanation in the remarks field. Choose "Other" for "Smart Siding" or "Composite Siding" and disclose the type of Exterior Covering in the Public Remarks. 


Options not defined:  Brick Partial, Cedar Shake, Concrete Block, Glass, Log, Metal, Rough/Sawn, Shingle, Stone, Stone Veneer, Wood

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