When it comes to choosing siding styles, there are many options available. When selecting which material to use to side your home, it is best to consider your personal preference along with the home’s architectural style, the area you live in and your budget. Once you have an idea of what you like and what you can afford, then it will be easier to start narrowing down your options.
In some cases, combining several siding styles on your home is an attractive alternative when considering pricey options and can provide the look you want balanced with more affordable choices to balance your budget. Below is a summary of some of the many types of exterior cladding options available today.
Like aluminum, vinyl siding is a relatively low cost and low maintenance choice for exterior home siding. Vinyl is a newer alternative to aluminum and over the years the technology has improved to make it a durable option, as well as an economically sound choice. It is available in a wide variety of colors, although lighter colors are more popular options, and the color is baked right into the vinyl so that it is better at resisting fading, scratching and discoloration. Vinyl is moisture and insect proof and can withstand extreme temperatures and weather conditions. There are some concerns that vinyl siding can still trap moisture underneath the panels, which can lead to some problems and that it is not a very environmentally friendly option, but as technology advances, so do the products that are offered.
Wood is one of the most versatile options on the market and can be used to enhance almost any architectural style. It is beautiful and can provide a rich, organic and sophisticated look to homes or a simple and sustainable feel. There are many types of wood available and different styles of clapboard siding that affect the look, cost and ease of installation. Unlike many other options, wood does require quite a bit of maintenance to keep it looking beautiful for many years. It should be stained every three to five years or painted every seven years, although staining the wood will maintain the life of wood for a longer time than painting and won’t peel. Despite its higher maintenance requirements, wood clapboard can outlast many types of siding if taken care of properly.
Wood siding is one of the pricier siding options, although the cost can vary dramatically depending on the type of wood used. Woods such as cedar and redwood are more expensive than other types of wood, such as pine, cypress, fir, spruce, or hardboard. Wood siding is not an intelligent choice in locations that are prone to fires, due to its flammability and shouldn’t be selected if you are looking for a low or no maintenance option.
Stucco is one of the oldest forms of exterior siding available and dates back to the Renaissance period in Italy. Stucco is a combination of sand, lime and water that creates a cement mixture that can be applied in a variety of ways to create different effects. Pigment can be added directly to the cement mix to add color, or stucco can be painted after installation. Stucco is hard and fairly durable, and although it absorbs moisture, it dries fairly quickly. Stucco can be sprayed on or troweled on and can be swirled, raked or smoothed out to create different looks. The biggest expense in stucco siding is in the installation since it is a labor intensive process. Mock stucco is available and is made with synthetic materials.
Aluminum siding is relatively low cost and low maintenance. It is very durable and usually once it’s installed you don’t have to do much to keep it looking good. It won’t crack like vinyl siding can, but it can dent. Aluminum is moisture and insect resistant and is also fireproof. This option has been around for many years and has been replaced in popularity by newer vinyl alternatives.
Engineered wood siding is a relatively low cost, low maintenance and durable alternative to natural wood siding. This option is made from wood that is mixed with other materials, bonded with resin and then compressed into a solid board. This process makes the finished product stronger than natural wood and lighter. Engineered wood siding is less expensive than real wood, is easy to install and is resistant to moisture and insects. Engineered wood is also called composite wood and is known as hardboard, OSB (oriented strand board) and veneered plywood. It can look like actual wood clapboard, although the manufactured “grain” is a bit too uniform to be totally believable as real wood, but it still offers a nice look to your home. Engineered wood siding can come pre-finished, pre-primed or ready to paint and is available in a variety of different styles.
Stone, Cultured Stone and Stone Veneers
Stone is a very elegant and upscale option. It is also very expensive. Natural stone can be rustic and earthy or highly polished and sophisticated. Quarried stones (like granite and slate) are not only beautiful, but extremely strong and durable as well and can withstand extremes in weather and other natural elements. Stone is moisture, insect and fire resistant. Stone requires virtually no maintenance once installed and will last indefinitely, so although it may cost more upfront, it will require no ongoing expense. Many homeowners choose to highlight just one section of their home when using stone to add interest, while keeping costs in check. Stone veneers provide the beauty of stone at a lower cost. They are just as durable and low maintenance, but since they are not solid stone, they are a more affordable option.
Brick and Brick Veneers
Brick is made from fired clay and is available in a wide variety of natural looking colors and shades. It offers a very earthy feel, is extremely durable and requires little maintenance. Brick is also fire proof, doesn’t rot or fade, resists moisture and insects, and can last for the life of a home. The only maintenance required for brick is the application of an occasional water repellant sealer. In some cases, areas of brickwork may require patching up or may need to be repointed. Brick is a fairly expensive option, although it will last for decades and decades. Brick veneers provide the benefits of brick at a lower cost, although they will not last forever.
Seamless steel siding is custom made to fit any structure and is extremely strong and durable. It won’t warp or crack, chip or peel, is fire and insect resistant and requires virtually no maintenance (other than an occasional spray with a hose to clean off). Steel siding can be made in almost any style (it can even be made to look like wood) and any color. It only needs to be painted if scratched, to avoid the buildup of rust. Since steel siding is custom made, it is a rather expensive siding option.
Fiber cement siding is a low maintenance, durable siding option that can be made to look like many pricier siding options, such as wood, stucco or masonry. The siding is insect proof, moisture and mold resistant, and fire resistant. It is one of the most versatile siding products on the market and comes with warranties up to fifty years. Fiber cement siding is often referred to as HardiePlank® and HardiePanel®, since the James Hardie company is the leading supplier of siding in the United States and throughout the world. This choice comes in many widths, styles and colors or can be installed pre-primed and can be painted after installation.
Certified Vinyl Siding
Certified vinyl siding has been deemed to meet or exceed standards for quality and performance set by the Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI). The institute also has a certification program for vinyl siding installers, ensuring that installation professionals meet or exceed specified building standards as well.
Vinyl coatings are one of the newer siding options currently available on the market. Liquid vinyl is a mix of polymers and resins and can be matched to almost any color. The liquid vinyl is sprayed onto the home’s exterior and provides a smooth and seamless coat. It looks more like a paint job than vinyl siding panels, but it is durable like vinyl and has a great warranty. Liquid vinyl coatings are best done by a professional contractor because if not done correctly, they can look terrible. The cost of liquid vinyl coatings is similar to the traditional options.