With a father (builder/framer) and mother (trim carpenter) in the business, you could say it’s been Amelia Daves’ destiny to be a homebuilder.

And you’d be right. Daves now employs her dad, mom, and three sisters on the eight to 10 custom and spec homes she builds each year in central Virginia. “My spec homes are small, affordable craftsman or farmhouse style. Custom homes are larger. I’m doing one now that is 4,000 square feet and getting ready to start another one that’s 4,600 square feet,” Daves says.

With that raised-from-the-cradle perspective, you can’t blame the owner and operator of Amelia’s Home Construction for holding strong opinions about homebuilding cost and value. Take kitchen flooring: She’s a big fan of luxury vinyl plank. “Only linear cutting is required, so there’s less back-and-forth going outside to make cuts. That speeds up installation.” Floor molding? “Go with shoe molding, especially with new construction. Don’t risk shrinkage.”

New Thinking

And exterior cladding? That is where Daves has changed some long-held beliefs about siding options. “I’m all about maintenance-free. I love an authentic wood look of fiber cement, but it’s a pain to paint. Not everyone has the money, time, or skill to repaint it every 10 years or so,” Daves says.

Composite Only

Composite cladding is now her go-to for most of the home’s exterior, Daves says. “I had a big custom project come up. I asked a local rep for some ideas on better materials. He showed me a sample of a new composite siding product that looked cool. I drove by a home that had it installed. It looked so clean. No lap marks like vinyl. In fact, it looked just like fiber cement lap siding. I did some price comparisons and ended up installing it for another house I was working on instead of fiber cement.

“I was very impressed.”


What impressed Daves is a new composite cladding system made of patented glass-reinforced polymer and graphite-infused polystyrene. The product is called ASCEND by Alside, and it gained a lot of buzz as the winner of the Most Innovative Building Material category during the 2021 Best of IBSx Awards.

In Daves’ estimation, there’s nothing like it.

“ASCEND installs with one person. There’s no sealing, touching up, joint flashing, and best of all, no caulking. Color-matched caulk that’s required with fiber cement looks great at first. Within two years, it’s dingy and shows every seam,” she observes. “ASCEND installs fast, too. I had a crew of five knock out a smaller home in a single day. I’m talking the facia board, the soffits, the porch, the works.”

The product is a nice differentiator, providing her the opportunity to achieve the look her customers want with a maintenance-free solution. So much so, Daves now has her sights set on a special project: “The next home I build for myself, I’m using ASCEND.”

Learn more about how to enhance the look and value of your next project with an award-winning composite siding product with a lifetime warranty, labor included for the first five years.