New siding can serve as a great asset to your home, adding many years of beauty and protection. But it's also an investment, and if you choose the wrong type of siding for your particular needs you may end up with a house-sized case of buyer's remorse. Here are three factors you want to think about carefully before you plunk down your money on siding materials and installation.
If durability is your chief priority in selecting siding, masonry should rise to the top of your materials list. Brick masonry can stand up to decades of fair and foul weather, as long as it is tied back to the underlying structure of the walls to prevent shifting (which can lead to cracks or other failures). Fiber cement siding mixes wood fiber with sand and cement to create a fire-resistant, bug-resistant, rot-resistant product. Vinyl siding is pest-proof and will never rot, but its built-in coloring can fade over the years. Wood tends to be something of a headache because it can rot, become infested with termites, crack, warp, and display other weaknesses of organic materials. Steel siding can endure for 40-plus years with proper maintenance to prevent rust; its cheaper cousin, aluminum, resists cracks but not dents.
2. Style and Finish
Of course you want your siding to look beautiful and complement your home, and your choice of siding can play a major role in achieving (and maintaining) this objective. Among the available choices, vinyl is unparalleled in its ability to provide an almost infinite spectrum of colors, shapes, textures and styles, making it easy to obtain the perfect decorative match for your home's architecture and styling. Since it's pre-colored, there's no need to paint it either. Fiber cement can be purchased in pre-painted shades, but you can also get it uncolored and paint it yourself—if you want to do that.
Other materials can prove more problematic or limited in aesthetic appeal. Wood presents a classic traditional look, but you'll have to scrape away and replace old, chipped paint every so often. Masonry looks rich, magnificent and imposing, but it may not suit a more delicate or elegant architectural style of home.
Vinyl siding is the most affordable of all siding options because it's so easy to fabricate in large quantities of uniform planks. Its ability to mimic more expensive materials can make it a great bargain. Since it's also easy to pre-cut and set up, you should save significant money on installation—especially if you opt to install it yourself. Wood siding is tricker to install, and the need for constant maintenance can drive your lifetime ownership costs up.
Masonry siding is usually the most expensive siding option you can buy in terms of material cost and installation expertise. But you can reduce the cost somewhat by choosing engineered stone instead of natural stone. Similarly, engineered wood can be cheaper than real wood while offering similar properties to its authentic cousin. It's relatively easy to cut (like real wood), can be purchased pre-colored, and may include extended warranty protection of up to 50 years.
What about metal siding? Aluminum is significantly cheaper than steel, and the fact that it doesn't rust helps keep the long-term costs down. Steel can be somewhat pricey to buy and install (especially the seamless variety), and you may have to add a rust-protectant layer, but its great strength makes it a great "set it and forget it" option.
Click here for more info about selecting siding. When you strike the perfect balance between durability, style, finish, and price, you won't have any regrets about the siding you choose and the gorgeous results you enjoy. So think carefully before you take sides in the siding selection process!