We’re honored to be working with Purple Heart Homes and the Vinyl Siding Institute to renovate a home in Charlotte for a disabled veteran and his wife. Work is underway now and the family is scheduled to move in soon.

I’ll be posting more about this and even featuring the project on an upcoming For Your Home episode, but I wanted to share some of the planning that went into the redesign so you know what to look for when the time comes for you to remodel.

First, a little background: The Harris Houston Road home was acquired and renovated through the Purple Heart Homes’ Veterans Home Ownership Program, which matches disabled veterans with donated properties.

The single-story house is perfect for Gordon and Lori Simmons’ needs and in an area where they wanted to live, but it really needed some repairs and a facelift. Here are two “before” photos.


You can see that the existing fiber-based siding was starting to degrade and the Simmons’ would be faced water damage, rot, and costly repairs.

As with any remodeling project, the first step is to identify the home’s current strengths and weaknesses. In the case of this project home, the strengths were a nice brick face and its traditional style. The weaknesses (in addition to the deterioration) were that the garage didn’t match the rest of the house; the front door was overwhelmed by the brick and the garage. And there was just too much white.

The next step was to decide what materials to use. There was no doubt about going with certified insulated vinyl siding — vinyl siding with rigid foam insulation laminated or permanently attached to the panel. It will save energy, it won’t need painting or caulking, and because it’s a polymer-based product, it cannot absorb water. Peace of mind is something every warrior — in fact, every homeowner — deserves.

Selecting insulated siding also solved the question of how to make the house beautiful. It comes in a variety of styles and colors and to complement the siding, vinyl and polypropylene siding manufacturers sell a variety of trim and accessories such as pediment, cornice and dentil molding, decorative brackets, shutters, and more.

I met with the Simmons to discuss the three design options shown below. (One easy way for you to look at options is to use online design tools let you mix and match materials on model homes – some even let you upload photos of your own home. Search “siding visualizer” for a list of sites.)




Note the subtle differences on the front door, the brick, and the trim.

Our solution was to deemphasize the garage and help it blend more with the house, so we recommended replacing the stone with insulated siding and adding shutters and trim to the top window. Finally, we wanted to use color — bold color siding above and around the door to draw out the entrance — as well as fluted trim and pediments to match the brick. All of the siding under consideration is certified for color retention as well, so the Simmons never need worry about their siding fading.

The Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI) has been very helpful and supportive in making this a successful project. Vinyl siding is the only exterior cladding with both third-party product certification and a certified installer program, both of which are sponsored by VSI.

The VSI Product Certification Program is administered by an independent, accredited quality control agency and ensures products and colors meet or exceed industry standards.

The VSI Certified Installer Program recognizes a combination of work experience, successful completion of a training course, and demonstration of knowledge of vinyl siding installation techniques based on industry industry-accepted standards. You can find Certified Installers on the VSI website www.vinylsiding.org.

Check back regularly for updates on this project and for photos and stories from the “complete” ceremony with Purple Heart Homes and the Simmons.