Few decisions concerning a new home are as important as the choice in siding. A home’s exterior plays a large role in determining the property’s overall curb appeal and the property’s resale value in years to come. The exterior and any materials used to build it will ensure that you and your family are safe from the elements.
Siding represents a significant expense, and you’ll want to decide on a type of siding that is ideal for your budget, climate, neighborhood and your life. Each of the following siding options has benefits and disadvantages, and the right choice for you depends on your unique needs.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER
Before you can select siding for your home, you should understand the aspects of siding that set different materials apart.
Your siding protects you and your home, providing you with necessary insulation and resistance to water, wind and fire. Materials like wood, fiber cement, metal, vinyl and stucco range across the spectrum in how well they’re able to protect your home against these elements.
Consider how you’ll be maintaining and caring for the siding, because some varieties will have a higher upkeep than others. Finally, look at your budget and how long you expect the siding to last. More expensive options may last longer, but cost is not directly correlated to the durability of the siding material.
Siding made from real wood is a classic choice, ideal for historic and modern homes alike. Wood siding comes in clapboard style, which is fairly seamless, or shakes and shingles for a more rustic feel. If cared for properly, wood siding made from cedar or redwood will last many years. However, maintenance requirements for wood are higher than most other siding types. Wood is prone to insect and rodent infestations, and is susceptible to rot in wet or humid climates. Remember that you’ll need to repaint or stain wood to keep it looking fresh, and wood siding is often more expensive than any siding made from synthetic materials.
FIBER CEMENT SIDING
Fiber cement siding is popular with homeowners who want the look and feel of wood siding, but with a higher durability and lower maintenance burden. This material is made from a combination of wood pulp, sand or ash, and cement, which permits manufacturers to construct it in a variety of shapes.
The material is much less permeable than wood, so it prevents pests more readily. Fiber cement is also flame-resistant, which makes is useful in climates and regions prone to wildfires.
Because of its durability, fiber cement siding may be nearly as expensive as wood, and persistent rain or cold weather can damage fiber cement over time. Replacing the fiber cement siding may be necessary if there is a large enough chip or crack in the material - it’s important to plan for replacement or installation, because the process is quite labor intensive.
The least expensive of the common siding options, vinyl siding is a popular choice for cost-conscious homeowners. Vinyl is fairly low-maintenance because it is painted prior to installation and does not require repainting. It is often selected as a replacement for wood, and comes in a variety of styles and colors that should suit any homeowner's taste.
Vinyl is highly durable and water-resistant. Installation is simple - putting up vinyl siding can be a DIY project, but hire a contractor if you have any doubts.
In extreme weather, siding is prone to expanding and contracting. It’s important to note that outdoor grills can melt and warp the siding if the heat from the grill is close enough!
Compared to vinyl, siding made from various metals like aluminum or steel provide the most durable long-term siding investment. The installation of metal siding is similar to vinyl, and while metal siding can be more expensive, it requires very little maintenance and can easily last 25-30 years. Metal siding is particularly efficient at blocking heat gain and in protecting homes from extreme cold. Metal siding can be dented, but does not crack like vinyl.
While metal siding does not rust due to its protective galvanized coating, you can paint metal siding if you’d like a customized look. Note: painting could potentially void any warranty on the product.