Siding Materials – Buying Guide

When choosing siding materials for your home, there are many options to consider. Little else will define the look of your home as the siding will. The appearance of your home will undoubtedly be affected by the choice of siding material and will likely be the first thing visitors to your home will notice.

While most people, unless they live in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s society, have the luxury of choosing whatever material makes them happy, it is important to keep in mind the feelings of your neighbors. If you live in a neighborhood of a specific style of home, for example brick ranch, choosing a stucco finish might make your home stick out like a sore thumb. For this reason, at least, consider carefully your choice of siding materials.

Speaking of brick, it is a durable and classic look that has been a popular siding material. Brick is an Eco-friendly building material as it is made from naturally replenishing resources, and can be recycled. Brick does not require maintenance and painting like other types of siding materials, as its natural coloring options are beautiful. In addition, the lack of painting means the air quality is improved and the chance of mold is greatly diminished.

Brick is also durable and resistant to fire. Brick siding can last a hundred years or more. The energy use of the home is deeply decreased, as the indoor temperature swings are moderate, therefore, the load on the heating and cooling systems are decreased as well.

Stucco is a siding option that is traditionally made of cement, water, sand and lime. Often found on homes that are Mediterranean or Spanish style, stucco has been around since the time of ancient Greeks and Romans. Synthetic stucco is an option that is not as heavy as real stucco, but it is also not as durable. Stucco can be tinted any color you want and may never need to be repainted, but it does require maintenance. Certain types of synthetic stucco have had reported problems with water damage as well.

Stone siding can hold up to extreme weather conditions unlike many other siding materials. While it is not only the most durable, it is also the most costly. Stone siding brings to mind European castles and mansions, but also New York cobblestone, which is less expensive and considered an art form by many. Some stone veneers can be made-made, which will lower the cost, but many are fake looking and are not as rugged.

Wooden clapboard siding is a traditional looking material that is often found on older American houses and historic homes. It is the least maintenance-free option in siding materials as it requires painting and caulking and is prone to insect damage and wood rot. An advantage to wood siding is the relatively inexpensive cost and maintenance costs can be lowered by staining the wood rather than painting. Engineered wood siding is an alternative to traditional wood siding and is easier to install since it comes in panels, but it rarely looks like real wood. An advantage of the engineered wood siding is that it is more aesthetically appealing than vinyl or aluminum siding to some people.

Vinyl and aluminum siding are both durable options for siding materials. Vinyl won’t rot like wood and it is usually the cheapest to buy, but vinyl is prone to fading and cracking. There are also some environmental issues with vinyl siding. Aluminum siding is easy to maintain and won’t damage the environment, but it can fade as well as become dented.

Cedar shakes or shingles are a wonderful option for a home in a wooded area as this type of siding material blends in among the natural setting of trees. Stain applied to the shingles will help to prevent peeling, and they require less maintenance than wood clapboard siding.

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