If you’re remodeling, having a home built, or just need to replace the siding on your home, you have several options. How do you choose the best one that’s right for you? This article will hopefully help you weigh the pros and cons of each siding material so that you can make an informed decision.
Why Siding Is Important
Before we dive into the siding comparisons, let’s discuss why you need siding on your home that is in good condition.
Some may believe that the purpose of exterior siding is simply aesthetic. However, there is more to it than that. Siding that is in good condition and properly installed serves five basic purposes:
Protects your home from inclement weather and its effects
Provides another layer of insulation to keep the interior of your home more comfortable
Gives your home better curb appeal
Keeps pests from invading your home
Increases the value of your home
If the siding on your home is in disrepair, it becomes exposed to further damage. Water can infiltrate cracks and holes in the siding, causing warping, rot, and mold to grow. These cracks and holes can also affect the interior of your home by letting in outside air. That will increase your utility bills because it causes your HVAC system to work harder to maintain the temperature.
Siding isn’t the only thing protecting your home. The exterior trim and casings around doors and windows are also important in sealing it from external forces. If your siding needs replacing, it’s very likely that the trim is also ready to go too.
Types of Siding to Consider
Essentially, siding is any material that covers, protects, or clads the exterior walls of a home or any building. It is available in various materials, colors, and levels of quality. We’ve chosen 6 of the most common types of siding to describe and compare here.
1. Fiber Cement
This material is relatively new compared to other siding materials. Although it was around since the early 20th century, fiber cement siding was re-invented in the 1980s, replacing the asbestos used to reinforce it with cellulose, a much more eco-friendly and safer substance.
Fiber cement siding has become a very popular choice with homeowners who are looking for beautiful aesthetics and long-lasting durability. It requires minimal maintenance and comes in a variety of baked-in colors. The largest maker of fiber cement siding is James Hardie.
Resists moisture. When properly installed, fiber cement siding is tightly sealed to prevent rot and mold from developing from moisture seeping in.
Minimal maintenance. If you opt for the fiber cement siding that is already factory-painted, it’s baked in so it will resist chipping, peeling, and fading for up to 15 years. All you need to do to keep it looking its best is to occasionally rinse it off with a garden hose.
Great warranty. If installed by a certified professional, Hardie siding is guaranteed for 30 years.
Wide variety of products. James Hardie not only makes siding planks in several styles and patterns, but they also offer coordinating trim in a variety of styles.
Durable. James Hardie provides siding products that are Engineered for Climate®. Depending on the area of the country you live in, their products are made to withstand the typical weather conditions in the area. The HardieZone System identified ten zones and makes their siding to enduring the specific climate within those zones.
Fire resistance. The material used to make fiber cement siding is fire resistant. Unlike other materials, like wood or vinyl, it will not combust.
More expensive than some other siding materials. Fiber cement siding costs more than most other siding, with the possibility of brick. But when you factor in the long lifespan, low maintenance, and durability, you may just come out ahead.
Difficult to install. Fiber cement is heavier than many other materials. It requires special tools to cut the boards and install them. That’s why James Hardie only recommends certified professionals to install their siding.
2. Vinyl Siding
Vinyl siding has been the siding of choice for many homeowners for decades. Its versatility and affordability make it a popular option. Vinyl siding can be installed on newly-built homes as well as existing siding in many cases.
There are many different brands and quality levels for vinyl siding, so you should do your homework before deciding on what’s best for you. Banner Construction offers two high-end choices, Mastic and Revere Sovereign Select, both of which are premium vinyl siding products.
Affordable. Vinyl is one of the least expensive materials to use to clad your home’s exterior.
Low maintenance. Washing your siding down with plain water or a mixture of vinegar, dish soap, and water can make it look new again. Just be cautious using a power washer. It the pressure is too strong, it can loosen planks and allow water and pests to get inside, causing damage to the structure.
Variety. Most vinyl siding comes in several different styles and colors. Advancements over the years have expanded the finishes available to increase the aesthetic appeal.
Easy to install. The siding is lighter in weight compared to other materials and few tools are required to install. But if you’re thinking it may be a DIY project, you may want to reconsider. Any mistakes can be costly and nullify your warranty.
Fire resistance. Because it’s made from polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, vinyl siding is essentially fire-resistant up to around 750 degrees Fahrenheit.
That “plastic” look. Vinyl is basically a plastic material. Even with the advancements in improving its appearance, it may not be your preference if you want a higher-end look for your home.
Fading. Vinyl siding tends to fade more quickly than some other materials. That can be a deterrent for replacing a few damaged boards on siding that’s more than 10-15 years old. The new siding’s color won’t match the faded color of the old siding.
Can be damaged by harsh weather. Hail, strong winds, and high levels of humidity can affect vinyl siding. Hail can cause dents and pockmarks, planks can come loose from storms, and moisture can infiltrate the siding, causing rotting and mold growth.
3. Wood Siding
There are a few types of wood used to make siding, with cedar and pine being the most common. Cedar is more expensive but also more durable than pine. Wood siding offers a classic look for your home. If installed and maintained properly, it is aesthetically superior to many other siding materials. However, wood siding comes with more disadvantages than some other materials.
Natural beauty. Nothing looks better than a freshly finished wood-sided home. It offers a rich look that can’t easily be replicated by other materials.
More eco-friendly. The manufacturing process to produce wood siding is much less harmful to the environment than that of some other siding materials. Keep in mind, however, that trees are being cut down to make the siding, so the pro may be offset.
Versatile. Wood can be customized more easily than some other materials. It can be made in the form of shingles, vertical boards, and other designs not common with other siding types.
High maintenance. Wood needs to be stained or painted every 3-4 years to retain its look and viability.
Fire risk. Wood will easily ignite if exposed to fire. Getting a fire retardant added to the siding can help reduce the risk.
Pests. Wood siding is very attractive to pests like termites. It’s important to get your home inspected regularly to avoid serious damage from a termite infestation.
Expensive. Wood is one of the most costly materials for siding. The original investment, combined with the cost of frequent maintenance, makes it one of the most expensive choices.
Brick home exteriors provide a classic look that’s been beautifying homes for centuries. In decades past, homes were built brick-by-brick and would remain durable for many years. With proper installation and withstanding abnormal conditions, brick siding can last the life of your house.
Today, brick siding is usually a veneer installed on the wood frame structure of a house. The bricks are held together by mortar. To protect it from water, a membrane is installed between the brick veneer and the house frame.
Lasting beauty. A brick exterior will age gracefully. The fading and shading resulting from exposure to the elements just make it more attractive.
Low maintenance. Brick doesn’t need to be painted. It can be washed, if
Increase in value. Homes sided with brick tend to be worth more than those with other types of siding. Buyers will know that the exterior is practically maintenance-free, making it worth more long-term.
Eco-friendly. Brick is an all-natural material, originating from natural materials, Plus, bricks are recyclable and biodegradable.
Expensive. Brick is arguably the most expensive siding to install because of the intensive labor involved. But because of its low maintenance and durability, the long-term benefits could offset the cost.
Design limitations. Brick is brick–there is little difference in the surfaces. You’re also limited in the color choices.
Protect Your Home with Professionally-Installed Siding
Although these four types of siding are not your only choices, they are the most requested and used on most homes. No matter which type of siding you choose, it’s best to leave the installation to the professionals.
Banner Construction has been installing James Hardie Fiber Cement and premium vinyl siding on homes throughout the St. Louis area since 1993. We are an Elite Preferred contractor, certified by James Hardie, so you can be confident that we’ll install it correctly and your warranty will remain intact.
We also offer premium vinyl siding from Mastic Home Exteriors. It has a classic wood look and comes in 35 base colors and more than 700 DreamColor® hues to meet all your vinyl siding color choices.
Our other vinyl siding selections are by Revere Sovereign Select. This premium vinyl siding combines strength and beauty to create an upscale appearance. It replicates cedar grain and comes in many different color options.
Can’t decide? Contact us today for a free consultation. We’ll give you all the details and answer any questions you may have. We look forward to making your home the envy of the neighborhood!