Home siding is the siding applied to the exterior walls of your home in order to protect, insulate, and make your residence look appealing and attractive. When choosing siding, the appearance is important, but it’s even more important to consider the properties of the siding material: is it durable? Is it water resistant? Can it be installed relatively easily? Is it available in a lot of different colors and textures? These are just some of the questions you may ask before opting to install new siding for your home.
Modern siding trends can also influence our decision. For example, current trends focus on bold, lively colors including deep, rich reds, blues, and greens. Creating a stark contrast between the siding and siding trim is another trend to look out for. A light-colored trim coupled with a bold primary color siding, for example, highlights the architecture of the home.
Types of Siding
Vinyl is currently the most popular type of siding in the United States, but there are other materials that can be used in siding too.
Wood siding is the oldest form of siding. It was a part of the first type of home built in America, even dating back to the first settlers, simply because wood was widely available and it was the most convenient material to build a house with. In fact, siding came about from people who experimented with how they designed the wooden exterior of their home. Wood is durable and offers a refined appearance. However, it is more costly and requires more maintenance than siding. For example, if there are termites in your area, they will be drawn to your wood siding, but don’t like to eat vinyl.
Brick siding is made from fired clay. Different colors and textures depend largely on where you live, as it is expensive to get it from elsewhere. Brick is undoubtedly long-lasting, but it does have its disadvantages. First, water can penetrate through it, so a membrane needs to be installed between the brick and the interior structure of the house. It is also a labor-intensive way of installing siding, as bricks are a lot smaller than wood or vinyl panels. Thus, it is more expensive than other siding options. If you were to compare the cost of vinyl, wood, and brick siding, brick typically works out to be the most costly option, but offers many other functional and aesthetic benefits.
Other Types of Siding
Vinyl, wood, and brick are the most common siding options, although stucco is widely used too. Fiber cement, stucco, stone, and stone-veneer are other materials sometimes used in exterior home siding.
Fiber cement resembles the look of masonry, stucco, or wood at a lower cost. Because it is low maintenance and termite resistant, it is growing in popularity, but is sometimes prone to moisture-related problems.
Stucco is widely associated with Spanish and Mediterranean architectural designs, and can last a lifetime if installed properly.
Stone and stone veneer adds a beautiful texture and natural look to the outside of a home. Veneer is the cheaper, synthetic version of stone that often achieves a similar effect to its natural alternative.
Myths about Home Siding
Myth #1: Siding Looks Cheap
There is a prevalent myth about siding, and vinyl siding in particular: that it simply looks cheap and can’t create a sophisticated look for the exterior of a home. The origins of this myth are partially caused by the reality that vinyl siding is a cheaper alternative to wood. Sometimes the cheapest material is assumed to look tacky. It first became popular in the 1960s because wood siding was becoming too expensive, but vinyl has come a long way since then. There are now nearly 350 different colors available for vinyl siding, and the high-end options are largely indistinguishable from more traditional materials such as clapboard or cedar shake shingles.
In fact, many historical buildings have been restored using vinyl siding. This highlights the quality of finish of the material, and busts the myth that vinyl siding cannot be used to achieve a sophisticated look. If it’s good enough for historic renovations, it’s surely good enough to imitate the look of wood in our own homes.
Myth #2: Siding isn’t Necessary
It is a common myth that siding is only used for aesthetic purposes, when in reality it has many important functional benefits for your home. It protects your house from harsh weather conditions and can deter pests. It can also help to maintain a more consistent temperature inside your home: in the winter, it will help to retain the heat inside, and in the summer it will help to keep things cool.
Myth #3: Siding isn’t Durable
Some of the synthetic materials used in siding are lightweight, leading consumers to think they can’t withstand wear and tear. However, just because the materials are lightweight doesn’t mean they’re weak. Vinyl siding, for example, can withstand winds of up to 200 miles per hour: handy if you live in an area where hurricanes are a regular occurrence.
Myth #4: Siding Bad for the Environment
There is a myth that siding in general is bad for the environment. Fiber cement siding is misrepresented as a form of siding that requires the use of asbestos, for example. The reality is that fiber cement siding was actually introduced as a harmless alternative to other materials that used asbestos. Plus, the industrial process used to create vinyl emits a toxic gas known as diocin. Yes, this is true, but the amount of diocin produced by vinyl manufacture is less than one half of one percent of the amount emitted into the atmosphere every year. We often assume that toxic waste only comes from synthetic materials, but the reality is that the majority of annual diocin release occurs naturally. Forest fires, volcanoes, and burning wood in fireplaces contribute a great deal more diocin release than vinyl manufacture.
Consider Your Home’s Siding
Now that some of the myths about home siding have been addressed, it’s appropriate to consider siding repair or replacement for your home. If your home already has siding and it needs repair, or if you’re a careful buyer who wishes to purchase siding and wish to inform yourself about potential maintenance in the future, it’s best to know the specifics about siding repair.
Extreme weather conditions, damage that isn’t immediately addressed, or pests can all have harmful effects on your siding structure. Keep an eye out for signs that your siding needs repair, such as warped, bubbled, cracked or loose siding. Siding repair is a welcome alternative to siding replacement as it’s cheaper and more convenient. Just make sure to hire professional siding contractors to repair or replace your siding: it’s not a job for weekend projects, as it carries a strong ability to impact the structural integrity of your home for years to come.