Exploring the Various Options For Siding on Your Home

You will need to choose an exterior finish when building a new home or putting on an addition. Repairs that are needed after a storm or because of general wear and tear also provide an opportunity to choose a new exterior finish. Brick is a traditional choice, but more and more homeowners are opting for siding. Quality and appearance vary widely across the array of choices and your own tastes, budget and climate conditions will help determine the best choice.

Various Siding Materials Available

There are a variety of siding materials on the market today. All will provide an effective barrier against rain, sleet and snow, as well as covering the insulation that allows your family to stay warm and comfortable inside your home.

Common types of siding include:

  • Vinyl Siding - A low maintenance solution available in a wide range of colors, vinyl siding comes in medium sized panels that lock together and are nailed onto the studs that make up the framing of your house. It will hold up against any weather conditions and is impervious to moisture and pest damage. Vinyl siding pieces can be noisy when they are loose, flapping and vibrating in the wind. This type of finish is easy to repair when a portion is damaged and matches well with vinyl fascia, soffits and trim.
  • Aluminum Siding - This type of siding is traditional and looks very similar to vinyl. It can be painted in an array of different colors, but that finish will wear off over time and may run onto your bricks or trim. Aluminum is often more expensive than vinyl, although the heavier weight creates less noise in windy conditions and may serve as a better insulator for your home.
  • Wood Siding - This material can create a very rustic looking home, but is also used on much more contemporary and modern designs. Natural cuts like shakes or planks provide a more rugged finish, while engineered wood siding products look nice on modern designs. Wood has the ability to be finished in many different colors although it will require almost constant upkeep. It is excellent as a sound barrier and dampens road and neighborhood noise noticeably, while providing a quieter and more peaceful atmosphere even in the windiest conditions. Western Red Cedar is a popular type that is also environmentally friendly, especially when sourced from a sustainably grown forest.
  • Brick Siding - While not strictly considered a siding product, brick is often used to finish the exterior walls of homes. Durable and strong in any weather, brick is more expensive than most siding options and is only available in a limited number of colors and patterns. You can choose natural stone veneer instead, such as slate, fieldstone or granite, but many homes use brick due to the uniform size and availability. Masons install brick siding and repairs must be done by a qualified contractor, but brick walls tend to last for decades without any problems.
  • Fiber Cement Siding - Made from a mixture of cement, sand and cellulose fibers, this type of siding provides the appearance and charm of wood without the necessary upkeep. It has a wood texture and is available in many natural timber colors like cedar and red oak. This material will not rot, decay or swell in humid temperatures. It also does not attract termites and is non-combustible thanks to the presence of cement. Although it can be much pricier than other options, fiber cement siding is often covered by a long warranty stretching thirty to fifty years. It must be installed by a professional due to the difficulty of handling and potential harm from dust stirred up during installation.
  • Stucco Siding - This is another dressy option that can be decorated with trim to resemble a Tudor-style home or left as is for a contemporary finish. Stucco finishes are made with cement and water, often containing an aggregate to provide an attractive and unique look. Stucco does not require painting, but can be quite difficult and costly to repair should an accident damage the finish. Stucco was very popular in the 1950s and has recently made a comeback, whether used as an accent or on the entire wall.

What Type of Siding Is Best For Your Home?

In order to choose the best siding you will need to consider the style of your home, your own tastes and your budget. Vinyl siding is generally the cheapest, while natural stone veneer and stucco tend to be the most expensive. Many homes are finished using a combination that keeps the budget down while providing good security and energy efficiency.

If you live in a four-season climate it is best to take a look at the grading for each type of siding. The line that you choose should be durable in the lowest temperatures your climate reaches, as well as being dependable in the highest levels of humidity and heat. If you live on the coast, be sure the siding will stand up to salt and high levels of moisture. If snow and icy conditions are present for a portion of the year, be sure the materials will handle those temperatures without becoming overly brittle.

You will need trim and soffits around your home as well, which is often done in vinyl despite the type of siding that is used. Wood siding may cover the entire home with wood trim finishing the corners and covering any gaps. Sometimes metal products such as powder coated aluminum or copper are used for a more decorative and long lasting trim.

Considering all of the various siding materials available for your home can be a lengthy task. Will you opt for the colorful and affordable vinyl siding or stick with traditional aluminum? Maybe wood siding is more to your taste or a brick veneer matches the style of your home. Fiber cement siding and stucco are both attractive and durable options as well. Take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each style before deciding which of them will work best on your home.

Posted by: diana
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