Vinyl Siding That Looks Like Wood

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Through problem based case learning, we learn about architecture by studying design issues and finding solutions either in textbooks or our imaginations.

  • An architects work is never done
  • Always in progress
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Choices. Choices. Choices. When building a home, there are many things to consider, from minute details like interior trim and paint color to more significant decisions such as windows and siding. It is a very exciting time, but even for the most prepared and educated homeowner it can be quite overwhelming. Most homeowners turn to their builder or contractor for expert advice about building materials and products. But, what happens when the homeowner wants a broader range of choices?


For Keith and Norma Rosol, designing and building their upscale home in the Sturbridge Estates located in Ada, MI, was no small feat. According to Norma, building her nearly $1,000,000 custom home was all about the details.

“This has been my vision of a beautiful dream home from the ground up,” said Norma. “Every detail was well thought out and my husband and I went the extra mile to seek out the right products to make our home look that much better.”

The Rosols’ four-bedroom home sits on seven acres of land in a gated community and features hand molded brick on the front of the home, a two-story formal living room, master suite with all the amenities, and in the back of the home, a screened-in porch, custom built-in pool and pond with a beach area.

Even though all the new homes in their price level had natural wood or fiber cement siding, the Rosols knew they wanted something even better. “My husband and I wanted the look of real wood, but without all of its hassles,” said Norma. “We wanted a product that would look awesome year after year.”

From visits to various suppliers and distributors in town, Norma learned of the many benefits of vinyl siding. “At first, it almost seemed like a small crime to put vinyl siding on this beautiful home,” she said. “But my husband and I both work hard and don’t want to have to worry about the maintenance of our home, such as painting. We want it to look good forever, so maintenance-free vinyl was our ideal choice.”

Unfortunately, the Rosols weren’t pleased with the vinyl or fiber cement sidings offered to them. “Typical vinyl siding’s concave shape, unmistakable sun glare and limited width were real negatives toward the product,” said Norma. “It was like a neon sign advertising it was vinyl. The fiber cement boards artificial wood grains and the added cost of caulking and painting was not the maintenance-free option we were looking for. Knowing our preferences, the salesman was pushing me towards a product with blue foam on the back of it, which had a lot of features we liked, but the siding was too much of an imitation and looked grainy and fake. The salesman went as far to discredit all other competitive products in the showroom.” Not satisfied, but not knowing what other options were available or where to turn, the Rosols hesitantly approved the order.


Concerned with the direction their dream home was taking, Norma decided to take matters into her own hands. “I drove around in nearby neighborhoods, closely studying the different sidings,” she said.

One particular siding instantly caught her eye. She thought it was real wood from the street, but noticed it was being installed in sheets, like vinyl, and decided to get out of her car and investigate. “The siding looked just as good up-close as it did from the street. I started asking the contractor questions about what siding they were installing,” said Norma.

Norma learned that the product she admired was CraneBoard® SOLID CORE SIDING® from Crane Performance Siding®, based in Columbus, Ohio. After requesting a sample, she went home to continue her research. The Crane Web site ( directed her to its customer service hotline, which she called and ended up speaking to the Director of Marketing, Mark Axelrod.

“Norma is an extremely educated consumer. She’s representative of today’s homeowner,” said Axelrod. “She is independent and took it upon herself to research our product versus accepting what the salesmen said as the truth.”

Axelrod informed Norma of CraneBoard’s solid features including the Purple foam core backing, which provides strength, energy-efficiency and an R-Value of 2.6 - 4.0 depending on product style, which is significantly better than wood, fiber cement, or traditional vinyl siding. All CraneBoard products offer homeowners up to 300 percent more impact resistance and the foam backing also reduces noise up to 45 percent compared to traditional vinyl siding. Norma also learned that there were a variety of SOLID CORE SIDING options. Since first introducing SOLID CORE SIDING to the building products industry in 1998, Crane has established its reputation as the industry’s innovation leader with exciting new profiles and one-ofa-kind performance advancements. From architecturally correct profiles like CraneBoard® Triple 6 and Double 7 to specialty products like CraneBoard® Board & Batten and Double 6.5” Beaded sidings, Crane offers the widest breadth of insulated siding products, including SOLID CORE™ Architectural Essentials™ Accessories, the industry’s most complete trim system. Crane is committed to setting the standard by which all siding products are measured. “After speaking with Mark, I immediately called and put my siding order on hold,” said Norma. “I was pretty much convinced that CraneBoard was the best product available and I wanted it on my home. I couldn’t believe how appealing the product is and how much it looks just like wood.”


With her CraneBoard sample in hand, Norma wanted to perform one final test before placing her order to determine if sun glare would be a problem. With CraneBoard and a competitive product recommended by an area distributor, Norma took both samples outside into the sunlight and compared the shine off each. “The glare was blinding with the other product, making all the difference to me and finalizing my siding decision,” said Norma.


The Rosols chose to install CraneBoard on their home in single six configurations. “The choice was clear with CraneBoard,” said Norma. “We had the installers randomly stagger the joints and with its seamless appearance, our home looks amazing.”

To complete the look of their picture-perfect home, the Rosols also chose to trim their doors with complementary window and door lineals, part of Crane’s matching SOLID CORE Architectural Essentials Accessories trim package. “We couldn’t believe Crane also had so many trim options available for homeowners,” said Norma.

In the end, the choice was simple. With CraneBoard, the Rosols couldn’t go wrong. Even after the stress and minor bumps along the road, the Rosols couldn’t be happier with their dream home and Crane Performance Siding. “Everyone who has seen our home comments on how awesome the CraneBoard siding looks. Our experience with Crane has been wonderful,” said Norma. “All the choices offered by Crane are unbelievable. Crane really stands behind their products and the people were wonderful to work with. We will be telling everyone we know about CraneBoard. It should go on all homes – big and small. It is simply the best quality product out there.”