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Digital Subscriptions > Cottage Life > Mar/Apr 2019 > an outside job

an outside job

With so many kinds of siding, you’ll need help to choose the right one. Here’s the inside scoop on the outsiders

In 2000, two psychologists conducted a ield experiment in an upscale grocery store in Menlo Park, Cal. Over two Saturdays, they displayed Wilkin & Sons (Purveyors to Her Majesty the Queen) jams for shoppers to sample and buy. Every hour, the selection switched up from six jams to 24 jams and back again.

Think about that: 24 jars of jam, all diferent. If you timed your shopping right, you’d see so many more exotic fruit jams, more new lavour combinations, more jams that would make thoughtful thank-you gits for your cat siter. With so many choices, the ideal jam purchase would surely be on that table.

But, what the experiment showed is that you’re actually less likely to buy when you have so many options, and you’ll feel less satisied with your shopping experience.

Choosing siding for your cottage, whether it’s for a new building or to replace old siding, can be as overwhelming as buying jam in Menlo Park. There’s more than a lot of choice, there’s what psychologists call “overchoice.” There are diferent materials—wood, vinyl, composites, and others—all formed and inished in diferent proiles, textures, and colours. Some seem to be one thing, but are in fact another: ibre-cement panels that look like cedar shakes, cedar shakes that install like tongue and groove, composites that look like stone.

Modern siding isn’t intended to create a completely watertight, airtight skin around your building. Each overlapping piece of siding sheds water onto the piece below. But if a litle moisture does get behind the siding—when the wind drives the rain sideways, for example— tiny gaps between pieces allow moisture to drain and evaporate. That’s why it’s important to follow the installation instructions when caulking: some gaps should not be caulked. Many siding types are also engineered to leave a small space for drainage and air circulation between the back of the siding and the housewrap.

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About Cottage Life

Back together! Time to reunite with the cottage and all your favourite people and traditions. The Mar/Apr issue gets you ready to kick off a new season! Try these make-ahead breakfasts that let you feed everyone, no matter when they—or you—get up! Come aboard on a one-of-a-kind travelling dinner party Take a look inside a stylish modern update with a cherished family cottage at heart Ramp up your boat-trailering skills for a perfect put-in Navigate getting permits for removing water weeds Get space-saving tips from a tiny, chic DIY cabin Pack smarter: expert tips for weekend warriors Clean your eavestroughs, protect your projects, and build a fender system for your boat Stock up your workshop with a super-grabby glue and the saw blades you need Build a cool mountain-inspired shelf in a day Plus: Real estate 2019: Don’t miss our guide to vacant land to find out what to know before you buy