4 Popular Siding Materials Compared

Your home's siding plays an important role in protecting the frame from the elements and accentuating the beauty of your home's exterior. If you are considering new siding for your home, it is important to choose carefully, as the material you use will determine how long it lasts and the maintenance it requires. Here is a comparison of four of the most popular siding materials.

Vinyl

Vinyl siding is very affordable and one of the most common types of siding in the U.S. The affordability of vinyl comes both from its lightweight construction and the fact that it can be installed quickly, minimizing labor costs. Vinyl siding is sold as interlocking panels that can be easily installed over almost any material, making for easy retrofitting.

When you mention vinyl siding, most people are likely to think of white vinyl first. However, vinyl comes in several different colors and textures to match the appearance of any home. Vinyl siding is also very easy to maintain, as it never needs repainting, and dirt will scrub away with soap and water.

Wood

Wood siding is favored by homeowners who want a warm, rustic look for their home's exterior. This type of siding can be found as wood clapboard (thin, overlapping planks) or in shake and shingle configurations.

Wood siding can last for decades with proper maintenance, but maintenance is the key word. Unlike other common siding materials, wood is susceptible to pest infestation and rot. To prolong the life of your wood siding, it will need to be painted, stained or sealed. This process will also need to be repeated every three to five years.

Wood siding will almost always be more expensive than vinyl, and the cost will also depend on the type of wood that you use. If you will paint your siding, virtually any type of wood is acceptable, and you will benefit from choosing a cheaper grade. On the other hand, a premium grade is recommended if you will use a clear sealer, as there will be fewer knots and other visual imperfections.

Fiber-Cement

A relatively new siding material, fiber-cement has a lot of strengths that are quickly increasing its popularity. Fiber-cement is manufactured by mixing cement with wood pulp, clay, and sand to create a long-lasting material that is completely impervious to pests and rot.

Fiber-cement is very low-maintenance, due in part to its high resistance to temperature changes. Fiber-cement does not expand or contract as much as other materials when the temperature changes, meaning that cracked paint and caulk will not be an issue.

For all of its strengths, fiber-cement does have one downside: its weight. Fiber-cement almost always requires a professional installation by a trained contractor. You should make sure that the contractor you hire has installed fiber-cement in the past so you know that they are familiar with the techniques and tools necessary to manage the weight of the material.

Brick

While brick can be used as the primary structural material of a home, in modern homes it is often installed as a veneer on the outside of a wood-framed house. Brick siding is available in a range of colors, from sandy browns to bright reds, and has stood the test of time as one of the most durable siding materials available.

The primary problem facing brick siding is water penetration. Brick siding can be somewhat more expensive than vinyl because a waterproof membrane is usually installed between the siding and the wood frame of your home to prevent the wood from rotting.

Maintenance requirements are minimal for brick siding, usually involving nothing more than a quick wash with a garden hose spray nozzle to remove dirt and grime. If your home is in a humid or rainy climate, sides that receive less sunlight may need occasional spray downs with diluted bleach to combat mold growth.

Choosing the right type of siding for your home is not difficult if you know the pros and cons of common materials. For more information, contact local siding contractor or visit sites like http://www.lifetime-exteriors.net/


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