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Siding is an important part of house construction. Not only does it give your house a better appearance it also has an important purpose in protecting the house from all the elements. If your siding is damaged or worn and needs replacing or you are building a new home there are several materials to choose from for new siding. The most commonly used materials are brick, wood, vinyl and cement but there are others. Here is a look at six of those options, the pros and cons to each one and the cost of them too.

6 Types of Siding

 

siding-options

Hardwood Siding

Home exterior hardwood siding

One of the most common siding materials used is hardwood because people like the finish, and you can get it in various patterns, widths, styles and models. It is also easy enough to install though must be done with care to make sure the pieces overlap correctly. It can be painted in a color you prefer. However that paint can fade and age under the toll the weather and the sun can take on it. The 6 main types of wood siding you can select from include;

  • Shakes – Like shingles but can vary in size and are split by hand.
  • Clapboard – Installed horizontally these are long boards that overlap. Popular clapboard siding is redwood and cedar as they are less prone to decay but other woods can be used too.
  • Solid wood – Can be put up diagonally, horizontally or vertically.
  • Rectangular planking – Like clapboard siding but has a smoother look and installs vertically.
  • Shingles – Uniform in size as they are cut by machine usually made from cedar, cypress or redwood. These shingles are put in starting from the bottom and working up so that there is overlapping.
  • Plywood – Can be applied both horizontally and vertically and is most usually made from Douglas fir, yellow pine and western red cedar.

Pros

  • Attractive finish.
  • Available in various woods, styles and so on so more choice
  • A good natural insulator that will keep your home warm in winter thus lowering your heating bills.
  • Since wood is a renewable resource and biodegradable it is an eco-friendly option for homeowners concerned about their footprint and the environment.

Cons

  • The main disadvantage to real wood is that it needs regular maintenance. There are other materials nowadays that can have the look of wood without the added work wood brings with it.
  • Though it can last a life time if neglected wood can warp, crack and split. When painted it can peel and fade.
  • You will need to set aside time yourself to maintain the wood siding or pay someone to do the work for you.
  • It is more likely to have problems with termites and other insect infestations though some woods are more resistant and you can get the wood treated too.
  • If you live in a climate that is warm and humid wood is more likely to grow mold.
  • If you live in a dry climate wood is less resistant to fire.

Cost of Wood Siding

About $5 to $9 per square foot depending on which type you go with. A home that is two story of average size would cost somewhere between $14,000 to $23,000 for a professional to install.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding

Vinyl is a nice option if you are looking for siding that has little maintenance requirement but still saves you money on your energy bills. It is also an interesting fact that adding vinyl siding to your house can help add value to your home should you be intending to sell. Vinyl comes in a variety of patterns and colors and is one of the hardiest and durable sidings you could have.

There are two types of vinyl, traditional vinyl and insulated vinyl which is a less costly option compared to other materials for sidings. Some siding contractors may suggest traditional over insulated just because of personal experience and preference. Back in the day vinyl siding was the most commonly used option and then alternatives came along like wood and concrete that gave house owners more aesthetically pleasing options. Now you also have insulated vinyl siding as a low cost alternative for those on a tight budget.

Pros

  • Growing choice of colors to choose from though beige and white remain form favorites.
  • Cost is similar to concrete and wood, a bit more than traditional vinyl.
  • Increases resale value.
  • Can come in larger sizes making it quicker to install at a lower cost.
  • Installation time is quicker than some other options.
  • Impact-resistance is enhanced.
  • Some have vapor permeability which means the siding can breathe.
  • Some have an insulation foam underneath which does not absorb moisture and lowers the problem of gaps or seams from materials shrinking.
  • Low maintenance.
  • Energy bills go down.
  • Insulated vinyl has better sound control properties and better performance in weather compared to traditional.
  • Make a finished and solid looking wall without obvious irregularities.
  • Can apply energy tax credits.
  • Can get pieces specially made for windows and corners.

Cons

  • Needs to be installed correctly otherwise buckling and warping can occur.
  • In areas with high humidity moisture can allow mold to form at the top.
  • If not attached correctly it can come loose in places that experience storms and high winds.
  • Needs a waterproof barrier to prevent damage.
  • More expensive than traditional vinyl siding.

Cost of Insulated Vinyl Siding

Ranges from between $3.70 up to $8.20 a square foot so for an average two story home it would cost somewhere between $6000 to $13,000. You will need special pieces manufactured on top of that cost for corners and trickier areas.

Aluminum Siding

Aluminum home siding

This is another option you can turn to for siding to insulate your house and is one of the most commonly used ones. It is also popular as trimming because it bends with ease so can be molded to whatever measurements you want. Aluminum can also be used as trim even with PVC siding. It is one of the cheapest options too, and once was more common on outhouses and buildings of that nature but is now used on homes as well.

Pros

  • Very simple and quick to install because it is flexible.
  • Durable, this siding will last many years.
  • No corroding over time and no issues of rot.
  • Protects against heat loss though this works better when insulation is also put in, in between the layers.
  • Very little maintenance needed. Occasional dents may need to be pulled out but that is easy to do.
  • Cheap making it attractive if money is an issue.

Cons

  • If a large area of the siding gets damaged it is harder to fix and usually you will end up having to replace a whole piece of siding.
  • If you have to remove a whole pieces of siding this could get expensive to have done as a professional will have to do it.
  • There can be fading from exposure to the weather.
  • The enamel that the siding is painted with to make it weather proof can discolor over time.
  • Scratches on the siding can reveal the silver color beneath the paint which can look unappealing.

Cost of Aluminum Siding

Around $2.50 to $3.50 per square foot making it about $3100 to $4500 for a two story average home. Plus it usually prices lower for larger jobs so for something at 3000 square feet it would cost between $7500 and $9000.

Stucco Siding

Stucco siding

Stucco is often an option for those particularly thinking about durability and wanting a Mediterranean style finish for their homes. Usually it is used over concrete or brick but also can be done over gypsum or wood, though for these you would need to keep it glued properly with a metal lath. It consists of layers of lime, cement and silica being applied. The usual warranty you get on this siding is 15 years. Compared to other siding materials it is more costly just because of the process of application, but it can be completed in a couple of days.

Pros

  • They layers formed by the stucco keep the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
  • While the initial process of application makes stucco more expensive it pays for itself over the years because it lasts a long time and has little maintenance involved.
  • The warranty may be for 15 years but in fact stucco can last over 50 years if in the right climate and if maintained.
  • Sounds transmission is reduced in stucco homes which is needed in homes near louder urban areas.
  • It is fire retardant.
  • Resistant to mold, rot and mildew.
  • Quick to install.
  • Versatile.
  • You can mix it to create a color suited to you preference rather than having to choose from manufactured colors as with other siding materials.
  • Popular appearance especially for southwestern and modern homes.
  • Timeless.
  • Works best in sunny and dry climates.

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other options.
  • Most of the cost goes on labor as while it is quick to do it is labor intensive requiring lots of layers.
  • Not a good choice if you live somewhere that has a lot of wet weather as it can only handle so much moisture and expansion.
  • Not as good as vinyl or brick at keeping out heavy rain.
  • Also not a good choice if you live in a place that gets a lot of earthquakes or if your house foundation shifts a lot from wet ground as this can cause stucco to crack because it does not flex with the house as well as other sidings like vinyl.
  • You need to know what color you want and get it right as ideally you do not want to have to paint over it. While you can paint over it at some point you will need to sand blast the paint off to refinish it. New stucco will not bond to the old with paint on it.

Cost of Stucco Siding

$6 to $9 a square foot meaning the average home of 2000 square feet would be looking at a cost of something like $12,000 to $18,000.

Cement Siding

Fiber cement siding

When talking about cement this is referring to fiber cement board siding which is a prefabricated siding used on homes. Made from a mix of materials including cardboard fibers and sand, fiber cement has several advantages over other siding materials but does come at a slightly higher cost comparable to hardwood siding. 90% of the materials in fiber cement are inflammable meaning if you live in dry climates where fires are a problem this is a great option for you. There is one anecdote of a large fire consuming buildings and even fire trucks but when it was finally brought to an end the house with fiber cement siding was still there.

Pros

  • Very durable, it can handle even harsh weather conditions for a long duration.
  • In areas like New England where storms, hurricanes, hail and heavy rain fall, it is a fact fiber cement can withstand all of it.
  • Not flammable which is a big pro for most homeowners whose often primary concern is to avoid house fires.
  • Resembles wood shingles or planks in its appearance so you can get the look of wood if you like that finish, but get a more durable, resistant and fire proof siding.
  • Comes in a variety of colors.
  • If you cannot get the color you want it can be painted.
  • Protection from rotting and insect infestation.
  • No overlapping seams so no problems with mold or mildew growing between the interior and exterior walls.
  • Less allergen can get into the house so if you have someone with allergies this is a very good choice to protect them.

Cons

  • Costs more to install fiber cement than many other siding materials.
  • Costs of labor are particularly high because it takes more manpower, not just to install it, but to deliver it too. If you are planning on selling any time soon investing in this kind of siding is not worth it. Go with vinyl or aluminum which is two to three times cheaper than fiber cement.
  • There is some maintenance, unlike aluminum or vinyl, as it will need re-painting at some point. Paint does last longer on this siding though than others, about 15 years, but this is something to consider which deciding on siding if it is important to have something more maintenance free.

Cost of Cement Siding

$5 to $9 for each square foot which would means for an average 2 story house a home owner would be looking at a cost of somewhere between $13,000 and $22,000. But additional manpower costs would need to be added onto that.

Brick Siding

Use brick siding for luxurious look

One of the easier sidings to install is a brick siding and it also has a great look to it that appeals to many home owners and adds value to the house. With its own look being appealing this means there is the advantage too of not having to paint it. Brick siding is popular amongst people who also want something with little maintenance but is strong enough to handle harsh climates and weather conditions from the very hot to the very cold.

Pros

  • Low maintenance, there is none of the maintenance that you might associate with wood or vinyl sidings for example.
  • After installation is complete brick siding can be expected to endure for a long time.
  • No painting needed.
  • Bricks come in a number of colors so you can choose what kind of look you prefer.
  • Durable.
  • It is a material that is load bearing.
  • Offers better protection from fire than vinyl or wood and is able to withstand the heat.
  • Keeps outside noise out as it is a great sound barrier.

Cons

  • If damage does occur brick is very hard to repair especially if it is also part of the wall system. Individual bricks are almost impossible to replace – you would need to an entire wall section in all possibility.
  • Brick is an organic material so something has to be done to stop damp from getting into the siding.
  • Over time moisture can build up which can lead to brittle bricks that crumble.
  • If exposed to a lot of water over a long time the brick can become discolored and faded.

Cost of Brick Siding

When using real brick siding you will be looking at costs ranging between $6 and $15 a square foot. This would mean for an average home you would be looking at about $9000 to $22,500. This material has the largest range of costing and the highest top price.

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