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Understanding the Top Siding Materials

Aug 28, 2022

When it comes time to select siding for your home, the variety of choices available to a homeowner can be overwhelming. It can be hard to know what the differences between materials are and what options are truly suited for you and your home. While the aesthetic appeal and color are important aspects of siding, the functionality and protection it provides your home are equally as important. You want your house to be ready if it is put in a situation where it becomes susceptible to damage, such as during a major storm. That means an understanding of the different materials used in varying styles of siding can be useful.

Vinyl

Vinyl siding is one of the most popular choices in the U.S. due to its low maintenance and low installation costs. Once installed, you can stop thinking about your siding as it will very rarely need any attention ever again. Vinyl is very effective at preventing damage from bad weather, and it can comfortably withstand high winds and hailstorms. It has a high resistance to fire, too, with it requiring temperatures upwards of 750 degrees Fahrenheit before it starts to burn. It will not ignite unless exposed to very hot temperatures. Vinyl siding comes in a variety of different colors, making it an option that fits in well with many different color schemes and home designs.

A few drawbacks with vinyl siding are its susceptibility to UV rays and its vulnerability to rotting and mold growth if not properly coated with a waterproof seal. Vinyl siding can also warp and buckle if it is not installed correctly.

Wood

If your main priority is aesthetics, then wood should be at the top of your list. Wood can be stained or painted to make it look exactly how you want it to, and it is very versatile. Well-crafted wooden siding can be quite impressive and give your house a boost to its curb appeal.

It’s important to note that wooden siding requires more maintenance than many other siding options since it is susceptible to insect infestations, wood rot, moss growth, as well as fire damage. Wood is extremely combustible, so take extra care if you live in an area where wildfires or lightning strikes are a common occurrence.

Brick

Bird's eye view of a luxury home with redbrick siding and lots of trees in the front

Using brick siding is a tradition that dates back hundreds of years, and it can give your home an elegant, historical look. Bricks are resistant to almost all types of weather and fire damage, and they are an environmentally-friendly option with low material costs. Bricks are easily recyclable too, making them readily available. There isn’t a need for much maintenance either, outside of the rare occurrences when heavy damage is done during a natural disaster or other uncommon occurrences.

Installing brick siding can be expensive because of the demanding labor required to complete the project, as well as the waterproof membrane needed to make sure water doesn’t compromise the structure. There isn’t much variety in style or color options with bricks either. If you’re installing brick, you’re going to get the traditional look.

Metal

Contrary to popular belief, metal isn’t just used for roofing. Metal siding is becoming an increasingly more popular option for homeowners thanks to its low maintenance and simple installation process. Metal is one of the most visually appealing siding materials thanks to the different options in color and design. Metal holds up well to a range of different weather conditions as well, and it is nonflammable.

Metal can be dented or scratched if it is hit with a substantial amount of force, so it’s possible that noticeable damage can be done in certain cases that could require a replacement. Its effectiveness when it comes to insulation can be on the lower end since metal is designed to reflect heat and disperse it rather than absorb it.

Fiber Cement

Fiber cement siding is among some of the new options for homeowners, and it is designed to be eco-friendly, sturdy, and visually pleasing. This siding offers an assortment of unique color options and styles. It can also easily be designed to mimic other siding materials, which makes it extremely versatile and adaptable. Little maintenance is required after installation too, and it can hold up to harsh weather like high winds and hailstorms. Fiber cement holds up well against fire, and it is one of the top options when it comes to fire protection.

This material is heavy, meaning that it is labor intensive to install. It can also be expensive. Fiber cement tends to absorb moisture as well, which can lead to problems down the road if not properly addressed. You will definitely need a team of skilled professionals to install this type of siding — it’s nearly impossible to do on your own.

Stucco

Exterior shot of a home with Spanish tile roofing, a big front yard with flowers, and a three-car garage.

Stucco is created after combining a mix of water, sand, lime, and cement. This mixture is applied in layers, so it takes time to dry. Stucco is resistant to fire and insects, as well as high winds and inclement weather. Not a lot of maintenance is required, and it can be quite durable. It can easily outlast your time in your home, provided that it was installed properly. There is a sizable amount of customization options too, as stucco can come in a range of colors and textures.

If stucco is not installed properly, it is susceptible to cracking and stains, which can drastically bring down a house’s value and curbside appeal. Stucco can also be expensive to install as a result of the multi-step process needed for it to set.

Explore Your Options

Exterior shot of a two-story home with two front doors and two sets of stairs leading to the doors. The house has green siding and a gray roof.

Now that you are better informed about the different kinds of siding and their pros and cons, you can make a more informed decision about what siding is the best for you. Before you take the leap and commit to using a specific siding, it’s always a good idea to check with the professionals first. They can help to guide you through the different options available and give you personalized recommendations tailored to your preferences, your home, and your local environment. Taking on a project like this without a proper game plan can be a costly mistake for both your wallet and your time.

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