Siding 101 – What’s Available and What’s Best for You

GA Outpost

GA Outpost

By Melody Boggs on 28 March 2014

Atlanta, GA—It’s finally happened. You can’t stand it anymore. You’re extremely proud of the inside look of your home, but every time you go outside, you just cringe. The siding is just a mess; it stopped looking new and well kept a while ago, but disposing of the old siding and installing new siding requires thought-out dedication and insight. Where do you start? Luckily for you, we can help you find your bearings and pick out the siding that is just right for you, your home, and your wallet.

First Things First

The type of siding you settle on is dependent on a variety of factors: cost, durability, water resistance, aesthetics, green benefits, ease of installation, maintenance requirements, and much more. You’ll have to decide how much time and investment you’re willing to put into new siding, and we’ll try to assist with that decision-making as much as possible. Weigh the pros and cons of each siding type carefully, and be willing to compromise on certain factors whenever the negatives outweigh the positives.

The Choice

Vinyl

Manufacturing technology for vinyl has come a long way since its humble—and often ridiculed—beginnings as a siding material in the 1960s. Now it comes in a variety of styles, colors, and textures; is available in horizontal and vertical panels, shingles, and fish scales; and can also be insulated.

Pros:

  • Undergoes no rotting or flaking
  • Is easy to install, even over pre-existing materials
  • Requires little to no maintenance
  • Allows dirt to be easily washed off
  • Requires no repainting
  • Offers transferable, lifetime warranties for most brands

Cons:

  • Can crack, split, or dull with age
  • Is flammable
  • Contains hazardous byproducts
  • Must be overlapped, causing visible seams
  • Needs entire section replacements for repairs
  • Made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which often isn’t recycled and sits in landfills for decades

Cost: For an average, two-story home, expect to pay $6,000 to $13,000.

Wood

Wood siding carries an air of sophistication and charm that is hard for other siding options to match. Choosing from bevels, shakes and shingles, engineered wood, board and batten, split logs, and many other styles largely depends on the intent of the homeowner. Do you plan to paint your wood or seal over it with a clear coating? Are you looking to use cedar, redwood, pine, or synthetic wood on your home? Do you want the siding installed horizontally, vertically, or with a mixture of the two? All of these things must be considered when installing wood siding, along with the basics.

Pros:

  • Blends well with natural landscapes
  • Offers a warm and inviting appearance
  • Can be real or engineered wood
  • Can outlast vinyl and other sidings in age
  • Is easily cut, shaped, and installed
  • Decomposes easily in landfills and is highly sustainable

Cons:

  • Can get extremely expensive for higher grades
  • Requires constant maintenance (painting, caulking, etc.) to preserve
  • Can be attractive to insects and other pests
  • Will experience moisture and weather-related problems if not cared for properly

Cost: For an average, two-story home, expect to pay $14,000 to $23,000.

Fiber Cement

If you don’t want to shuck out the money required for wood siding, then fiber cement siding—a sand, cement, and wood fibers mixture—is a good, less expensive alternative. Along with its impressive durability, fiber cement will not expand and contract like vinyl and wood tend to do. In fact, its stability allows for many advantages that the homeowner can enjoy.

Pros:

  • Is termite proof, fire proof, and water resistant
  • Offers greater stability than wood or vinyl
  • Can be painted and does not require maintenance as often as wood
  • Usually comes with a 30-50 year warranty/guarantee

Cons:

  • Is extremely heavy and difficult to install
  • Requires costly equipment for DIY-installers
  • Is difficult to find remodeling contractors skilled in installation since product is so new
  • Is more expensive than vinyl

Cost: For an average, two-story home, expect to pay $13,000 to $22,000.

Stucco

Stucco siding has been in use for hundreds of years, which is a true testament to its longevity and popularity. With its cement (or earth) and sand (or lime) mixture, stucco molds easily and can be crafted to a variety of architectural styles and designs. For homes, the end result is a simple yet smooth look.

Pros:

  • Is easily shaped and textured
  • Has remarkable durability
  • Lasts a lifetime if well-cared for
  • Relatively low-maintenance
  • Does not require repainting if toners are added
  • Fire and insect-resistant

Cons:

  • Cannot undergo any DIY-installation; must hire a professional
  • Is difficult to find expert stucco contractors
  • Must undergo extensive prep work before installation
  • Releases carbon dioxide emissions if stucco is a cement mixture

Cost: For an average, two-story home, expect to pay $12,000 to $22,000.

Stone

Nature’s own material, stone siding has been around for thousands of years, gracing the outside of countless buildings with immaculate architectural designs. Short of a catastrophic natural disaster or nuclear strike, stone can weather anything time has to throw at it. For homes especially, you’d be hard pressed to find a more durable material to use as your siding than stone. Synthetic stone is also available, if real stone is too expensive an option.

Pros:

  • Requires little to no maintenance
  • Remains beautiful and durable even with the passing of time
  • Is all-natural and is therefore environmentally friendly
  • Capable of withstanding all sorts of weather and natural light
  • Is moisture and humidity resistant

Cons:

  • Warrants high costs due to obtaining, transporting, and installing materials
  • Is heavy and difficult to install
  • Requires a professional, adding to costs

Cost: For an average, two-story home, expect to pay $22,500 to $90,000.

Brick

A longtime favorite, brick is a siding option that is both easy to manage and simple in design. Composed of a mixture of concrete—or lime and sand, as concrete substitutes—and water made into fired clay, brick comes in a variety of colors, sizes, and textures. Brick siding is often installed as the outermost layer in front of a wood frame structure and a water membrane, rather than standing on its own. Since water can break through the brick, it’s important that homeowners remember to install the other two layers if they wish to protect the interior of their home.

Pros:

  • Is extremely durable and can last a lifetime
  • Rarely requires repairs
  • Requires little maintenance and is easy to wash
  • Does not rot or fade

Cons:

  • Requires higher costs for materials
  • Is expensive to install
  • Requires a professional to install
  • Can only acquire cheaper costs if faux brick is used

Cost: For an average, two-story home, expect to pay $9,000 to $45,000.

Metal

Aluminum, steel, copper, zinc, and other metals are siding choices you can make if you want to use metal to give your home a more modern, industrial feel. Since metal is so malleable, it can be shaped, curved, or designed nearly however you want. Like brick, metal sidings need some sort of frame to attach to along with a water membrane, but overall, they last a long time and maintain their original look even after years have passed.

Pros:

  • Is even more durable than brick
  • Often comes with 50-year warranties
  • Reflects sunlight, protecting your home from heat transfer
  • Is termite, moisture, and fire proof
  • Requires only low maintenance
  • Is highly recyclable and economically friendly

Cons:

  • Poorly insulates home in colder climates
  • Is expensive to install
  • Requires a professional to install
  • Causes static electricity problems if not grounded properly
  • Will dent and fade in color easily with certain metals
  • Will rust with certain metals

Cost: For an average, two-story home, expect to pay $9,000 to $27,000

Choosing the ideal siding is a major step for any homeowner to take. Whether cost is an issue or choosing to install the siding yourself with no professional assistance, your siding choice should take considerable thought to decide. Presumably, you will have to be satisfied with your choice for a long time. If that’s the case, you want to make sure that you do everything exactly right. We’ve got you started with a basic guide on what to expect from each siding option available today, but let us take it a step further. If you feel as if you cannot handle this project on your own, visit Snehta’s website today and find a local contractor to assist you. They’ll be sure to confirm whether they can install your siding choice, and if they cannot, they can perhaps refer you to a specialist who can.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  1. Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: