Fake used to be an ugly word, but not anymore.
Beginning today, we're celebrating fabulous fake
finishes that give you the look of luxury for
the price of pressboard in our "Why
You Should Fake It" series.
First up: We're talking about vinyl shakes that
look so much like cedar you have to sniff them
to tell the difference. Next up, tomorrow: We're
talking about sticky-back film you'd easily
mistake for sheets of stainless steel. Later:
Electric fireplaces that'll warm up your love
Is it real? Or is it faux? Do you really care,
so long as no one else can tell the difference?
Is there a product or material you want to know
about? Just leave us a comment below.
Our first fake find: vinyl shake siding
Say "vinyl siding" and that white, shiny stuff
on double-wides and tract housing comes to mind.
But today's vinyl - the country's top-selling
mimics high-end building materials, such as
cedar shakes, for a fraction of the price of the
Evidently, Los Angeles designer Yuriko Hirsch
knew. Hirsch wanted to use real wood shakes to
clad the custom house she built five miles from
the Pacific Ocean. But California's air quality
regulations have robbed paint of its staying
power. And ocean air, Southern California sun,
and Santa Ana winds threatened to eat the wood
siding if Hirsch didn't repaint it every couple
of years - more preventative
Hirsch wanted to do.
So, she used vinyl shakes instead.
Resistant to the elements, including
One-third the price of wood shakes - $2 to
$6 for vinyl (installed) compared to $15 to
$20 for wood.
Available in hundreds of colors, rather than
the tepid pastels of yesteryear.
"We won't ever have to paint
the exterior," Hirsch says.
The one thing that Hirsch did worry about is
whether vinyl shakes would look like real
wood siding, or if new neighbors would sniff at
her "plastic house."
She could have chillaxed. Today's vinyl siding
has loads of personality, because fake shake
manufacturers transfer the grain and texture of
real cedar boards onto the vinyl replicas. Even
home inspectors are fooled.
Downside of vinyl? You're stuck with the color
forever because you can't paint it. So think
hard about the hue you choose.
Check back tomorrow when we tackle the look of
stainless steel for less.