As the vice president of construction operations for multifamily giant IMT Residential, Adam Thomas is a pro’s pro at building mega, multi-million-dollar apartment communities.

However, there’s one project that nearly “drove me nuts” with design, material specification, and construction details. It’s a project Thomas poured everything he knows about best practice in a career spanning over 20 years with top-ranked single-family and multifamily builders.

It’s his dream project, the Thomas family forever home.

The 7,300 square-foot project is in Camarillo, Calif, on a piece of land he purchased in 2018. “Building my home was an opportunity to open the floodgates on everything I’ve learned about building,” Thomas says. “You’re never going to get it 100 percent perfect, but I think I’m in the high 90s on this one.”

California Cape Cod

There’s no mistaking the new Thomas family residence in a neighborhood of Santa Barbara-style Spanish homes. It’s classic Cape Cod complete with six dormers and a four-windowed cupola. “Aesthetically, it’s in a league all its own,” Thomas observes. “I knew I didn’t want wood or stucco.”

Just one thing. Cape Cod style is defined by cedar shingled siding that’s not only a “maintenance nightmare,” in Thomas’s words, but also doesn’t play well in fire-challenged California. As for fiber cement, Thomas wasn’t happy with that material for other reasons. “It’s a heavy product and hard to work with. Plus, you can’t touch the dirt with it. I don’t want any concrete showing,” he explains.

What to do?

He researched cedar shingle siding alternatives. One material checked all the boxes for aesthetics, workability and durability. It’s a proprietary engineered polymer material from AZEK, a leading exterior building materials company. Intrigued, Thomas had a company rep stop by with shingle and trim samples. Once he handled it, the veteran construction chief was sold. Thomas explains why:

  • Aesthetics. “I liked the cedar detail, it’s very authentic. Varying shingle gaps on each panel makes it very cedar-like. The trim assortment is surprisingly comprehensive. The one-piece corner board, for example, is awesome. There’s no need to butt-end two trim boards and leave an exposed joint. The siding and trim combination leaves a crisp, clean look. “Ground contact doesn’t matter. Engineered polymer panels extend down to the grade.”
  • Workability. “Engineered polymer is an installer’s dream. First, it’s light compared to fiber cement, so it’s easy to move around. There’s no need for masonry saw blades, breathing masks and vacuums. You work with it just like wood, no special tools required. It cuts so easy and true, it’s almost like doing interior finish carpentry. No splitting on routes and cuts.”
  • Durability. “The polymer composition eliminates most water worries like rotting, splitting, peeling, warping and swelling. We’re painting the shingles a medium gray. Paint adhesion is terrific because the panels are enhanced with PaintPro technology. All in all, it means near-zero maintenance for a very long time.”

“I feel good everything was done right,” Thomas adds. “I have thought through all of my details and material choices. This is my forever home and I feel it will stand the test of time.”

Learn more about why AZEK shingle siding with PaintPro technology offers an important new residential cladding alternative.