Siding 101

Siding 101 Overview

Choosing Your Siding

Choosing the right type of siding is the most important step in getting your home’s exterior protected. The most prominent siding materials, such as vinyl, wood, metal, stucco and cement all have their positives and negatives. If you go with any of these options, you will have fine siding for your home for many years to come. But if you want to make the best decision possible, you must consider the performance, cost, maintenance and durability of each siding option.

Efficiency

Many experts believe that stucco siding is the most efficient product. While others are not behind, stucco is so popular in the south-west because it keeps the home cool from the inside even when it is really hot outside. If you have ever experienced living in a brick house, you will know how easily the bricks can heat up the home. Stucco is so thick that it repels the heat and ensures the cool air does not go out of your home either.

Metal is also an efficient siding option, but it is not that much better than vinyl. Both provide insulation, while vinyl also comes in high performance varieties that will give you even more insulation. But metal is better than vinyl in harsh cold weather. Wood is in fourth place, because it is not inefficient or brittle, but it is not the most durable or cost-effective form of siding either.
Engineered wood does well in extreme temperatures, and is resistant to moisture too. There are special waxes coated onto the wood to ensure moisture does not get in.

Durability

Both metal and engineered wood will give you a lot of durability for your siding. But vinyl is not too bad either. It has improved a great deal in the past few years. Metal is terrific, especially if you can get an extra coat of paint on it, but vinyl can also last you for a few decades in the right conditions. Wood is the one type of siding that often requires treatment, and it will also need replacing sooner than other materials. Stucco should last for between 20 to 25 years.

Damage

Vinyl and aluminum siding are fairly equal in this regard. Vinyl will not dent or scratch, and it also maintains its color throughout its lifespan. Aluminum will perform almost every other material when it is put on homes near the ocean, because it resists the ocean air’s corrosiveness. Vinyl does not require additional painting, but it will crack on occasion. But the repairs are not difficult. Metal never breaks, but it does dent easily.
Wood needs regular treating to deal with water damage, rotting, insects and other elements. Engineered wood does not have issues with insects or heavy winds, which means it will outlast regular wood fairly comfortably.
Stucco siding is often the target of woodpeckers, who will create softball sized holes whenever they get a chance to attack it. Stucco is also fairly porous, which means that it can soak up the color of stains or tree saps fairly easily. It is also easy to damage through direct strikes.

Cost

Siding Materials: Since vinyl siding is available in so many different shapes and sizes, you can spend less on it than any other material. Engineered wood is also becoming more affordable, while metal siding is fairly cheap too. Wood and stucco are next in the order of least to most expensive. But the prices of each type of siding will vary depending on the model, state of the market and the season when you make your purchase. Vinyl is as cheap as $4 per square foot, while cedar siding is as high as $8 per square foot.

Installation: Metal siding is very cheap to install, especially in situations where you can apply it right over the siding that is already on the home. You will have no siding removal fees charged in these situations. Metal siding is also easy to install with a hammer and it is cut with tin sips, so there is not much expense with regards to tools. Vinyl siding is similar to metal in that it costs less money to get it installed, but it does require more tools to get the sheets hung properly. Wood cutting takes a lot longer than metal cutting, but the costs are not too different for installation of these siding types.
Stucco is the most expensive form of siding to get installed. The materials require a lot of complex procedures before they are ready to go on your home, and an inexperienced team can really damage the material if they do not know the proper way to install it.

Long-Term Savings

Many people who buy a home need to consider more than the short-term costs of renovating or building their home. They must look into how much money they can save in the long-run by making intelligent spending decisions right now. Not only can the right siding material save you money on maintenance and replacement costs down the road, but it can also reduce your energy bills every single month.

Stucco is the best choice if you want energy efficient and long-term siding that will require minimal maintenance in the coming decades. It is especially great as an insulator in the summer, which can save you a ton of money on your energy bills. Metal siding is also great, especially in colder weather, while vinyl and engineered wood are not far behind as long-term investments. Wood is probably the worst investment, even though it does look great on homes.
It is crucial to note that proper insulation will really help you in the long-run, especially if you have a bigger home that requires a lot of heat and cooling in the winter and summer.

Siding Maintenance

Vinyl siding does not require much maintenance when compared to other materials, but it does have a reputation for developing cracks. But one of the reasons people complain about vinyl cracking every now and then is because it develops next to no other problems and they focus on the small issues that do present themselves! It is one of the most maintenance-free types of siding you can get.
Metal is fairly carefree too, but it does dent a lot of you get a lot of hail in your area or items falling from nearby trees.
Stucco siding is fairly brittle, which means there are often holes that need patching. But the work is not a major issue, especially if there are fewer trees and squirrels in your area. But you may need to have some work done on your stucco siding if there is a hailstorm or a really bad snowstorm. The holes need fixing immediately, because it any water gets into the stucco and in behind the siding, it will ruin your home’s foundation.
Wood does not require much maintenance, but it does require treatment every few years for different ailments. If you get engineered wood, you may not even need to get that maintenance done. But the treatment for regular wood can range from $800 to $2500 every four to six years, which does add up for most homeowners!

Versatility

Both vinyl and engineered wood are great options if you want varieties in the plank size, color and texture of the siding. Wood is also easy to detail in different ways, because it comes in shingles or planks, logs or tongue-and-groove. It is also possible to stain wood in any color. Metal siding is also easy to paint, which also protects it, and stucco is paintable too. The only difference between metal and stucco is the colors you can paint them.