Your Guide to Selecting the Best Home Siding
How do you choose the right siding if you’re upgrading your home or renovating a fixer-upper? There are several options! How do they each stand up? What are the pros and cons for each regarding costs, maintenance, and durability? We understand, there is a lot to consider. We intend to cover each siding type and explain its benefit.
First, consider your region. While vinyl siding is a popular choice for coastal communities, it’s not recommended if you live in hot states such as Nevada. Although it repels moisture well and staves off rot, it will warp and come apart at seams in extreme heat.
Cedar may stave off fungus and wood rot, holding up well in more tropical regions, but the wood can dry out, resulting in cracking in harsh desert environments.
Are you concerned about your carbon footprint? Heavier siding options have a more significant environmental impact with more expensive transportation costs, whereas other lightweight options may risk indoor air pollution.
Along with energy efficiency standards, indoor air pollutants are on the rise. Chemicals like benzene and formaldehyde are common in composite or engineered wood siding and leech into the air.
Those are just a few considerations! Now let’s dive into each siding type to see what fits your specific application best! Here is your complete guide to choosing the right siding for your home.
Exterior Stone & Cement Home Options
Stone keeps the heat out and retains cooler air. Stone also allows a house to breathe and ranks high in energy efficiency.
But be mindful that stone is becoming increasingly expensive and scarce. Sand and stone are among the most globally demanded building materials.
Fiber cement siding is an extremely attractive option for most homes. Often crafted to imitate the grain and texture of wood, it holds up well to elements. It’s composed of Portland cement, sand, water, and cellulose fibers containing fly ash and 2 crystalline silica.
You’ll want to wear a respirator, as silica is carcinogenic. It’s important to know this when cutting. Unlike as advertised, it’s less than water-resistant when installed incorrectly. Areas along the joints can absorb moisture significantly when cut. The siding around those areas will degrade if water gets in through exposed unprimed gaps.
Fiber cement can be costly, considering its manufacturing cost increases. Yet, when installed correctly, it lasts.
Stucco comprises Portland cement, lime, sand, and water. It’s moisture-resistant, holds paint well, and can last up to 50-80 years. It is excellent for drier, hotter regions and good at reflecting heat; it has universal appeal. An attractive option, one can apply it to any home or surface.
The initial price point per square foot is higher than many other options. But when you consider how long it lasts and that you’re unlikely to have to do anything further than clean it, the initial investment becomes more enticing than less durable options.
Although, like all siding installations, stucco only lasts when appropriately installed.
Stone veneer is an attractive option for those intimidated by natural stone prices. Lightweight and 58% recycled materials, they make each stone with a mold of Portland cement, crushed stone, and iron oxide for pigmentation, which gives it the look of natural rock.
A keen or well-trained eye will detect the differences between an old stone structure and a new stone veneer but not all options cost or look the same.
Water follows the path of least resistance, and if any gaps exist, water will enter. So, every methodical step must be taken to ensure no hard to detect issues arise later.
Brick veneer is thinner than traditional brick homes and comes in a similarly wide variety of styles. Brick veneer is not integral to the home’s structural integrity. The price point for materials and installation can vary.
Like stone veneer, proper installation is a must to prevent regretful issues. The brick veneer isn’t waterproof and requires an air gap between it and the house. Otherwise, all water will absorb right into the wood behind it, causing damage.
Brick deems the highest cost of any option and lasts hundreds of years. It breathes well, is a great conductor of heat, and is renowned for its ability to keep cooler air inside on warmer days.
Natural brick color choices are limited. Painted brick looks nice, but you can’t go back once it’s painted. Since its porous, brick also holds moisture, consequently requiring a lot of paint and specific preparations.
Home Wood Composite Siding Options
Wood is an excellent option with lots of curb appeal, balancing cost, and maintenance. It doesn’t do a good job of conducting heat, and its energy efficiency depends on how airtight it is.
Hardboard siding is beautiful, but its price may be more compelling, falling at the lower end per square foot. Composed of wood fibers, glues and resins hold everything together, making them resilient to insects. Benzene and formaldehyde also go into the construction.
Lightweight, it’s easy to install and easy to paint. More expensive than vinyl, it’s a durable option with lots of rigidity and home curb appeal.
Manufactured or engineered wood siding are both subsets of Composite Wood Siding. They’re all made up of thin strips of scrap wood, pressed and bonded with resin polymers. The resin polymers increase their lifespan and repel moisture. It holds up well to insects like hardboard siding but comes in at a higher price point.
If improperly installed or not maintained, water can end up between the siding and the structure of your home. Once in, that trapped moisture will compromise the integrity of the siding, and you’ll be facing issues with mold, mildew, and deterioration that lead to ongoing problems.
LP SmartSide is a proprietary siding composition that appears natural and is purchased at an affordable price. It is composed of aspen wood strands and fibers treated with zinc borate; it’s durable and holds up against rot and termites. Advertised as waterproof, that might not be 100% accurate.
LP SmartSide may require slightly more maintenance than natural wood siding. Weak spots may appear where holes have been drilled through or along cut edges. Frequent house painting will likely be necessary to keep moisture out and assure long-term durability.
This product is more evolutionary than revolutionary in our findings.
Wood clapboard is solid wood and is in the middle regarding materials and installation costs. Made of a variety of woods, it paints effortlessly.
Customizable, the only difference between clapboard and lapboard is the aesthetics of the cut. Visually appealing, horizontal overlapping boards have opposing edges thicker than the other for a seamless, natural weathered look.
Natural wood siding, although more expensive, has much appeal for its durability and longevity. Redwood or cedar hold up well to the elements. However, it requires more maintenance than other non-wood options. Easy to repair and paint, it’s one of the most eco-friendly options available.
However, some could put sustainability and logging practices into question.
Cedar shingles come in at an installation price point similar to other wood sidings, even though cedar or redwood lumber is drastically more.
Cedar shingles are relatively easy to install but are more tedious, increasing the cost of labor. Ranking high for its insulation properties, it weather’s well, gets prettier with age, and has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.
It could last anywhere from 20 to 50 years when maintained.
Board and batten siding is found in a wide range of materials and is the most labor-intensive to install.
The boards go on first; battens, then go over the joints where the panels meet. As opposed to another wood siding, the slats are installed vertically. Because of its unique and distinguished design, it has not gone out of style and continues to be considered a premium siding installation choice for modern homes today!
Older, more traditional board and batten siding have lasted over a quarter-century.
Vinyl Home Siding Options
Everlast Siding is made with a blend of polymeric resin and granular stone. Often crafted to mimic rough wood grain, it’s one of the most formidable siding options available in today’s market.
As advertised, this siding is warrantied for 50 years to the original owner. The siding can easily be painted over but may not be needed in the short term. The siding color is among the most fade-resistant. However, the color options are limited.
Here is another article that we wrote covering Everlast siding.
Composite siding is mainly altered PVC. It’s brawny, doesn’t rust, rot, is impervious to insects, fire, mold, and is made to look like wood.
It can scratch but is easy to repair and repaint. Its price point after installation is moderate. Made from recycled materials, some brands even claim theirs is biodegradable.
Vinyl siding is one of the most affordable and most straightforward to install. The least durable options dent and scratch easily, warp in extreme heat and are impossible to restore without ultimately detaching and replacing.
However, it remains an attractive option due to how easy and affordable it is. It’s popular in coastal communities for its moisture resistance, with no concerns of rot or rust. It requires more frequent pressure washing, and only specific house paints will adhere to it.
Insulated Vinyl offers slight improvements over regular vinyl siding. With only a few more color options, it still has all the drawbacks of traditional vinyl regarding durability, despite its energy efficiency.
With an outstanding R-value, it still holds its place as one of the most affordable options out there.
Preformed Metal Siding Options
Metal siding is an attractive option for maintaining a constant indoor temperature year-round. Although its thin, corrugated metal siding is an outstanding conductor and reflector of heat. Made in a roll-form sheet with a raised ridged texture, it’s resistant to fire, water, pests, and virtually all insects, including termites.
It often lasts up to 50 years and has one of the lowest carbon footprints of any siding material.
Aluminum siding is just as popular in coastal regions as vinyl siding. Proving one of the most affordable options per square foot, it isn’t as used as other siding types.
Aluminum siding is easy to paint and cleans with little effort too. It doesn’t rust and is resilient to corrosion. It can scratch and dent, though not as easily per se’ as vinyl siding.
Aluminum creeks and pops as it expands and contracts from hot and cool temperatures. Some find this characteristic unpleasantly noisy. The excessive noise is pronounced during a hard rain or hail storm.
Steel siding comes coated with a protective enamel to prevent rust and corrosion and requires more maintenance than its aluminum counterpart.
Steel siding installations are more involved, requiring preserving the enamel coating at weak assembly points, such as screw holes and seams. Hardier to dent and scratch, it holds up well yet has the same drawbacks as aluminum regarding noise.
In most instances, this siding is more suitable in industrial applications
Seamless steel is not exactly considered an affordable siding option. However, it is comparable in cost to other metal siding materials. Equipped with a vinyl coating and featuring a layer of foam insulation underneath, it’s proven as one of the most energy-efficient sidings of all sidings considered here within this article.
To most surprise, seamless steel is designed to wrap around your home. Crafted with a faux wood grain, it won’t fade as vinyl does over time, has more color choices, and is less noisy than other metal sidings.
This seamless siding is custom cut to the dimensions of your barn, building, or structure. The only seams are in corners where the joints meet.
Well, we can honestly say that this is our most extensive article covering home siding options. But the takeaway is to consider spending more upfront. From your climate zone to your budget, there are many factors to consider.
Premium siding options and professional installations will require lower maintenance costs. Cutting costs and corners on the forefront might mean more significant headaches down the road.
Hopefully, this guide is a gigantic leap towards finishing your home, ramping up its curb appeal, and making yours the envy of your street.
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