If you’re building a new home or buying new siding for an existing one, it’s important to know the different siding options available to you today. Choosing which siding is right for you is a matter of personal preference- how do you want the home to look, what can you afford, how much maintenance are you willing to do? These are all important factors to consider when selecting the siding for your home. Let’s look at four different types of siding options available today: wood siding, fiber cement siding, vinyl siding and steel siding.
Wood has been the choice for construction since man has sharpened stones. The supply has been abundant and easy to shape and install. Because of this, wood is considered by some to be the most natural-looking siding- other siding types actually try to replicate the look of traditional wood siding. Some neighborhoods and historic areas require wood siding in order to preserve the original look and charm of their communities.
With all the beauty of wood also comes a large amount of maintenance. When not properly cared for, wood can become susceptible to mold, mildew, insect damage and deterioration. Be prepared for routine painting, staining or even replacing damaged panels in order to maintain the beautiful appearance of traditional wood siding.
Fiber cement siding was originally developed in Europe in the early 1900’s, but in recent years has become increasingly popular in the United States. Made from a mixture of cement, sand and cellulose fibers, fiber cement is known for its wood-like appearance, solid feel and fire performance. Fiber cement is increasingly becoming accepted as an alternative for traditional wood siding.
Although some manufacturers offer pre-primed or pre-painted options, fiber cement still requires routine maintenance to protect its appearance. This can include painting or staining and caulking the seams in the siding. Fiber cement typically has a more expensive installed cost than other siding options, such as vinyl.
Vinyl siding was initially introduced in the 1950’s, and has grown to become the number one siding choice in America, owning about 40% of the market. Vinyl is most notably known for its low maintenance, ease of installation and low cost. In fact, vinyl has the lowest installed cost (including materials and labor) of any exterior cladding*.
Some concerns related to vinyl siding is its ability to stand up to elements such as impact and extreme heat. Improvements in technology and extrusion techniques in recent years have helped to improve the quality of vinyl siding. One of the most notable improvements was the invention of insulated vinyl siding in the 1990’s, which features insulation that is adhered to the siding during manufacturing. The addition of insulation helps to increase the durability of vinyl siding, allow for wider profiles and darker colors because of the support it provides to the siding, and of course, increase energy efficiency.
Introduced to the market in the 1950’s, steel siding is popularly known for its exceptional strength, rigidity and fire performance. Steel siding is a low maintenance option, requiring only period cleaning. In 2010 an insulated steel siding option was introduced. Similar to insulated vinyl siding, insulated steel touts even higher impact resistance as well as energy savings.
As with the other siding options outlined above, steel siding has some characteristics to take into consideration. Although it will not rot, flake, crack or chip, steel can dent if faced with a severe enough impact, and can be more expensive than other options.
Of course, this wouldn’t be The Siding Insulation Blog without a mention of siding insulation. Whether you choose one of these siding options for your home or something else, it’s always a good idea to add siding insulation under new siding. Make sure you’re aware of your options to add insulation to your home at the same time that new siding is installed.*R.S. Means 2011 Residential Cost Data.