Choosing the Right Siding
When selecting siding, there are six basic issues to consider: 1. Water Resistance. Water-resistant types of siding will have longer life spans. 2. Ease of Installation. If you're installing the siding on your own, make sure it is within your skill set, requires no special tools, and creates no harmful dust when cut. 3. Energy Efficiency. Check the R-value rating for energy savings and understand what will be needed as far as insulation beneath the cladding. 4. Aesthetics. Your siding will be in full view as you come and go, so make sure it is beautiful to you. 5. Versatility. Make sure the siding has the versatility to meet the varied needs of your specific project. 6. Durability. Does it have the strength to resist temperature shifts present in your climate? How does it stand up to everyday wear and tear?
Since its introduction in the 1960s, vinyl has become the No. 1 siding in the United States because of cost, versatility, and low maintenance. More than 300 color choices are available in profiles that include horizontal and vertical panels, shakes, shingles, fish scales, lap, and beaded designs. The only routine maintenance is an occasional wash. Warranties offered by vinyl manufacturers generally are lifelong and transferable. Vinyl is the least expensive of all siding materials to install and can be cut dramatically if you're able to do the work. Vinyl siding is sold by most home centers and requires few tools to install. The siding needs to be installed on flat surfaces, so the wall will need to be lined with 1/2-inch thick sheets of rigid-foam board to provide a nailing surface.
With the reasonable costs of stucco, its variety of applications, and the untold numbers of recipes for making it, stucco as a siding has been in use for hundreds of years. Traditional stucco is a cement type of mixture added to sand or lime. Because it can be shaped and textured, stucco is used to achieve an array of architectural styles. Generally for application, a wooden wall is covered with galvanized metal screening and tar paper, then covered with stucco. Stucco is often applied to brick or stone surfaces, as well
Stone is among the most durable of all building materials. Granite, limestone, slate, and other types of stone are beautiful and nearly impervious to the weather. And stone siding -- being nature's creation and thereby green – comes with everlasting advantages. In most cases, the initial materials costs of stone are more than other types of siding -- often considerably more. The level of difficulty in adding stone siding to an existing structure is high, and work should be done by a professional, further increasing costs. As time passes, the upside of the investment becomes clear; stone will be as natural and attractive decades later as when first installed, with little in the way of maintenance.
The durability, light maintenance, and appearance of brick siding make it popular with homeowners. Made of fired clay, brick comes in different colors, textures, and sizes. Brick siding is generally not a structural part of a house but rather a veneer that is constructed on the outside of the wood frame structure. The brick veneer is held together with mortar, a mixture of cement -- or lime and sand -- and water. Water can penetrate brick veneers, so it is important that a water membrane is installed between the wood and brick layers to protect the home. Due to the cost of installation and materials, brick is at the high end of the siding costs scale. Under normal conditions, brick siding will last the life of the building, with nothing more than the occasional washing.
While there are various styles and designs of wood siding, all Wood siding is installed over a solid surface, such as plywood, with a moisture barrier between the two and a finishing coat (paint or stain) and caulking on the outside. All wood siding requires ongoing maintenance including painting and caulking to prevent weather damage. Click here for more information on the different types and designs of wood siding.
Metal no longer has to masquerade as other materials; aluminum or steel adorns the outside of many modern-look homes. Whether the metal is copper, zinc, aluminum, or one of the various types of steel, the beauty of metals is that they can be formed to meet required shapes, curves, and edges. The strength and the longevity of metals surpass most of the common siding materials currently on the market. The application process generally requires a frame to attach it to, a backing material such as plywood, and a moisture barrier (these needs will vary depending on the specific material and the location of the house). The surface of metals such as copper and weathering steel will change when exposed to weather, but most will maintain the factory finish indefinitely.