Five Popular Siding Options: Which Is Best For You?

Five Popular Siding Options: Which Is Best For You?
  • Opening Intro -

    Whether you're in the market for a home or considering re-siding the one you have, it's helpful to understand the differences in the various siding materials.

    Expense, appearance, maintenance requirements, and durability (among other things) can vary greatly from one siding type to another.

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Following is a round-up of five of the most popular siding options and some of the pros and cons of each. The siding that’s “best” for you will depend upon your own tastes and priorities. After all, one person’s bologna sandwich is another person’s filet mignon, and siding preference is similarly subjective!

Vinyl

Vinyl has been one of the most popular siding options for well over two decades, in large part due to its affordable price tag. While the material itself is inexpensive, the fact that it’s relatively easy to install helps minimize the overall cost, as well.

Insulated vinyl siding is not quite as budget-friendly as non-insulated, but because it’s more energy-efficient, the additional expense can be recouped over time in the form of lower heating and cooling bills.

Aesthetically, many homeowners like the clean look of vinyl while others feel that it looks a bit “cheap” or “plasticy.” Maintenance is generally a breeze and requires little more than an occasional hosing-off.

Cracking can be an issue, however, particularly with lower-grade (less thick) vinyl siding. Opting for higher-grade vinyl will enhance durability and mitigate the need for repairs down the line.

Wood

Wood siding is classic, versatile, attractive, and the object of much imitation. Cedar, pine, and fir are among the more popular wood types adorning home these days, and the styles are numerous, including clapboard, tongue-and-groove, shingles, board-and-batten, and logs, among others.

Unlike other siding materials, wood is particularly susceptible to water damage, rot, and insects, and a bit more maintenance is required to keep it in top shape and extend its lifespan beyond twenty years or so. Periodic painting, staining or sealing is a must, as well as occasional caulking in areas where water could enter, such as in cracks or around window frames.

You may even need to replace sections of your siding if rot or other damage occurs. Wood siding can be fairly expensive, depending on the grade, but the extra required maintenance can add to that cost.

Stucco

A favorite in the southwestern and southeastern regions of the U.S., where the only seasons are “sunny” and “sunnier,” is stucco. Many love the Spanish-style aesthetics of stucco homes, but there are other benefits, as well. Maintenance is simple and primarily consists of rinsing with a hose and occasional patching here and there when cracks are discovered.

Stucco is fire-proof, immune to rot, and durable–you can expect it to last five decades or more, even with the minimal upkeep. While it tends to be one of the more expensive siding options, many feel that stucco’s aforementioned maintenance and durability advantages more than compensate for the initial cost.

Brick

Brick is timeless, regal, and synonymous with handsome curb appeal. It’s also fairly labor-intensive to install, which is one reason it’s one of the most expensive of the siding options. But if you want low-maintenance siding that will last longer than many of your descendants, brick is a great option.

Brick carries with it some safety benefits, as well. It’s known to hold up well in extremely severe weather, and since brick is non-combustible, it can even withstand fires. For these reasons, homeowners with brick exteriors often find themselves enjoying lower rates on homeowner’s insurance as an extra perk.

Fiber Cement

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The “new kid on the block,” relatively speaking, is fiber cement siding.

Composed of sand, cement, and cellulose fibers, fiber cement combines many of the best features of other siding materials–which helps explain its fast rise in popularity over the past 25 years.

It’s moderately priced, low-maintenance, and durable–you can expect fiber cement to last 50 years or more.

Fiber cement is resistant to rot, bugs, and flames. And if you happen to be partial to the look of wood, stucco, or even brick, you’re in luck, as fiber cement does a fairly-admirable job of mimicking virtually any siding type or style that suits your fancy.

Whatever criteria you deem important, it’s likely there is a siding option made to bring out the happy homeowner in you. Or at least one that’s a good compromise!

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