Siding is important to your home’s facade both in terms of form and function. Aesthetically speaking, siding helps establish your home’s curb appeal by contributing to your home’s unique style as well as adding color and texture. However, the materials you choose for your home’s siding are also important as they must be water resistant and durable. You want to ensure that whatever siding you choose stands up to the elements.
What is siding?
Put simply, siding is the protective material attached to your house’s exterior. It protects your home from the weather and keeps your home insulated. The proper siding will protect your home from any weather condition – be it wind, rain, sleet, snow, or hail. It’s the most exterior barrier, thus it’s important that it can’t be easily penetrated, otherwise water or snow could enter your home.
Should water be able to enter your home, you could face foundation issues or mold overgrowth inside your house. Likewise, siding provides much-needed insulation which can help keep your energy bills down. A home with poor insulation has to work harder to regulate temperatures during extreme heat or cold, which means higher utility bills.
What are the different types of siding?
Siding also plays a major role in your home’s design. Every part of your house works together to achieve a specific look, from the roofing selection to the cabinetry in your kitchen. Your siding is no different. There are many different types of siding, and each will contribute a different look to your home’s exterior. We’ll delve into a couple of the most popular options.
Vinyl is popular because it can come in nearly any color, is highly versatile, and is very durable. It’s relatively easy to install even for a DIYer. It’s also easy to take care of. Should it get dirty, a simple power washing can have your vinyl siding looking good as new.
Wood is durable, but contributes a more rustic or traditional look than vinyl. However, it is a little more difficult to maintain and can rot. Wood siding is available in shakes and shingles as well as in clapboard. It is one of the more expensive siding options.
Brick is a great option if you’re looking for siding that will likely last the lifetime of your house, but it comes with its own complexities. Water can penetrate brick, so it’s important to use a membrane of some sort between the brick and the house itself. Mortar is typically used to hold bricks together.
Fiber-cement is a composite of cement and wood-pulp that is both hardy and highly versatile. It can be made to resemble wood, shingle, stones, or brick but is virtually indestructible. It also happens to be among the cheaper of the siding materials.
Made from cement, water, and sand, stucco is a plaster material best suited for a Spanish or Mediteranian look to your home’s exterior. Stucco has evolved over time to include polymers which increased its flexibility and resistance to inclimate weather. It is known for its incredible fire resistance. However, it can crack as the foundation of your house settles.
Stone siding is one of the most expensive options due to the labor and materials involved. Similar to brick, it should last the length of your home provided it’s taken care of. These days, stone veneer siding is much more common than solid stone siding because it is cheaper and easier to install.
When should I replace my siding?
Even if you choose the toughest materials, siding requires maintenance and eventually may need to be replaced. If you start to see signs of rot or cracks in the siding that can’t be easily patched up, it may be time to replace it altogether. You may also need to replace your siding if you’re noticing an increase in your energy bills or a build-up of moisture or mold.
Likewise, if the maintenance of your chosen siding becomes too time-consuming and laborious, consider giving your home a face lift with a new material selection that will be easier to maintain.
Should I DIY my siding?
Siding is a major investment to your home’s security and structure. It isn’t an easy task to complete in a single weekend and it isn’t a job made for beginners. In fact, it can take a team of skilled laborers several weeks from start to finish to complete. Although in most cases, a DIY job will save you money, you might lose this benefit if your installation goes awry. Improper installation can damage your home over time.
Siding requires many steps in order to be done correctly; including proper stud spacing, a correct or proper backing, and the correct house wrapping materials. Improper installation can cause major issues down the line.
Siding installation also requires a litany of tools to get the job done. Some of these tools may be expensive power tools to be used specifically with the material of your choice. Lastly, contractors are often given discounts on materials that you may not be privy to if you opt for the DIY route.
Given that siding is so integral to your home’s exterior, we suggest you leave this job to the professionals who will be able to source the proper materials and ensure the materials are installed correctly and efficiently.
We hope this guide gives you a better idea of how siding works and the kinds of options available for your home. Each option has its pros and cons in terms of maintenance, and each will contribute a different look and feel. Your mileage will vary based on how well you care for it over time and whether you continue to give it the maintenance it needs to perform.