Installing or replacing siding has many benefits. First, siding decreases the amount of maintenance you have to do since you won’t need to paint your house. At most you might power wash the siding every few years. Siding provides another level of insulation as well as providing a moisture barrier. That means the interior temperature of your house stays the same, lowering your utility bills.
In addition to the advantages listed, siding also boosts the beauty of your house and can even boost the value of your house. That’s important if you’re thinking of selling anytime in the near future.
The first consideration you’re going to make is the material. The main materials for siding are wood, vinyl, and fiber cement.
Wood is the traditional material for siding. Wooden siding normally comes as shingles or clapboard. Similar to shingles, popular woods for siding are cedar and redwood. However, wood siding can also be made of fir, spruce, or pine. Wood siding either comes from the factory, already primed for painting or primed and painted in the factory.
Vinyl is constructed of polyvinyl chloride. This siding comes in a wide variety of colors, and it’s typically textured to resemble wood. Contractors install the siding directly to the house but through slots in the panels. This installation allows the siding to shift slightly because it contracts and expands according to the weather.
Fiber cement consists of cement and wood pulp. Manufacturers pour it into molds that create long boards or shingles. Fiber cement typically resembles wood siding. You can buy pre-painted siding, or you can paint or stain the boards on site.
Every material type will have differing levels of durability. For example, the main disadvantage of wood siding is that it can warp or buckle. While some woods, such as cedar, are naturally resistant to insects, termites, and other wood-loving insects, for other types of woods insects can be a problem. That said, wood is resistant to impact and can last indefinitely if properly maintained.
In contrast, the main advantage for vinyl siding is that it’s also resistant to impact and is, in fact, extremely durable. It won’t rot or corrode. However, according to This Old House, it’s unknown how long vinyl will last because it’s relatively new. Of course, vinyl does fade over time. Nonetheless, vinyl siding never needs any painting and very little other maintenance.
Another example, fiber cement siding material, also has varying levels of durability. One disadvantage of fiber cement siding is that it can absorb water, which can cause it to rot over time. However, this is rare, especially with the right installation. Fiber cement is, in fact, very durable and requires little to no maintenance. You can repaint it, though, if it fades in the sun.
When it comes to appearance, wood is almost always the preferred look. Wood is especially prized for certain house styles, such as Cape Cod and Saltbox. However, wood siding complements any style. There are two styles of wood siding: clapboard and plank. Clapboard is horizontal with overlapping joints, while plank siding is vertical with a fitted installation.
In the past, people didn’t like vinyl because it lacked the appearance of wood. While manufacturers have made great strides in the construction of vinyl siding, it does not completely resemble wood. What’s more, because the siding must be left a little loose to accommodate how it acts in the weather, contractors can’t install it tightly with the trim. Nonetheless, vinyl siding presents a neat and tidy appearance.
If you’d like the appearance of wood without the cost, fiber cement siding comes closest to resembling wood, especially it’s natural graining. Indeed, good quality fiber cement planks, shingles, or shakes are often indistinguishable from their natural wood counterparts.
When you’re choosing a siding for your house, you should consider these three material options and what it means about your house looks and potential future maintenance. When you’re ready to look at siding options and discuss the merits of the various materials, visit our experts at Newman Roofing & Remodeling.