home siding
Posted in: Home Improvement

Replacing Siding: The Lowdown

Replacing siding on your home is a big project to undertake. It’s important to know if you need to replace all of your siding or simply repair sections. Things to look out for are cracking, warping, holes, pieces falling off the house, missing or misaligned pieces, and soft or rotten pieces of wood siding. Any type of fungus, mold, algae or mildew can indicate a problem. Also, an increase in your heating and cooling bills can also be a sign that your siding needs to be replaced. It’s important to be aware of the state of your siding because if water or other elements work their way underneath, you risk structural damage to your home.

If you’ve determined that your siding needs to be replaced or repaired, be sure to get estimates from a few different contractors. It is also a good idea to do your homework and familiarize yourself with some siding terminology. The first thing you should determine is what kind of siding you want to purchase. Things to consider aside from aesthetics include cost, durability, and energy efficiency. Here are some of the most common home siding options on the market.

Wood

Like hardwood floors, wood siding is a classic choice and popular among homeowners. Easy installation can keep the project from becoming costly and can be completed within a reasonable timeframe. Wood is also extremely versatile and highly customizable with a wide variety of paint and stain options. But, wood does require regular maintenance and is prone to damage from termites, woodpeckers, and rot. 

Vinyl 

Entering the market in the late 1950’s, vinyl siding comes in a wide variety of color and styles. That paired with its affordability has made it a very popular choice among homeowners and builders. While not energy-efficient, for a higher cost, you can opt for insulated vinyl siding. However, it can be susceptible to damage from extreme weather including high winds and temperatures. Insulated vinyl siding, while more costly, is the more durable option.

Fiber cement

With most brands boasting a 50-year warranty, fiber cement is hailed for its durability. It is also a low maintenance siding option. It resists cracks, warping and other external damage caused by weather. And it is fireproof, water resistant and will not be damaged by insects. It can mimic wood, brick or stone and comes in a variety of colors. Though, keep in mind that fiber cement is very heavy, which makes installation more expensive. 

Engineered wood

Engineered wood is enjoying increasing popularity as a home siding option. Similar to fiber cement, it is engineered to be fireproof, water and insect resistant. However, it is still susceptible to moisture damage especially if it isn’t installed properly. Though not as customizable as other options, for the homeowner looking for durability and affordability, engineered wood could be a good choice. It is often cheaper than fiber cement because the material is much lighter and easier to install.

Metal

Resistant to moisture, fire, rot and insect damage, the popularity of metal siding has been increasing. Metal siding is recyclable and comes in a variety of patterns and textures, including mimicking wood. While not offering much in insulation, it does reflect sunlight in the summer and in the winter, it keeps warm air in. Installing extra insulation is always an option. However, if you live in an area with frequent fog or dampness, keep in mind that it can rust. Another factor to consider is that it can be more costly than other options.

Stucco

More typically found in pueblo-style homes on the West Coast, stucco is made from a mixture of cement, sand, lime, water and often epoxy. Good for warmer climates, it absorbs heat during the day and releases it throughout the night. It is also extremely durable. While the materials  are relatively cheap, the installation is more labor intensive which can drive up the cost. 

Brick or stone

Extremely durable and low-maintenance, brick is another popular option. Capable of withstanding extreme temperatures and weather conditions, brick is also an attractive exterior siding option. Stone has a comparable durability. But, not only are the materials often more expensive, because of the weight, labor costs for installing these options is also high. In fact, stone siding costs can be prohibitively high in comparison to brick. You can cut down on the costs of these choices by opting for a brick or stone veneer. But, you won’t get the same insulation and with stone, it can sometimes look less natural.

Before consulting a contractor, have a budget in mind. Familiarize yourself with siding lingo and have a good idea of what you want. And be sure to consider your climate when choosing what kind of siding you want.