Siding your home is a lot like finding the right outerwear to add to your wardrobe. Not only does it need to look great but also protect against the elements. But the similarities don’t stop there. Just as you have your coat picks of leather bomber jackets, wool Navy pea coats, down-stuffed puffers, and waterproof shells, siding comes in a variety of styles and materials that can leave you reeling from option overload.
Before you get overwhelmed by the selection process, start with the top three most commonly used siding choices according to data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction (SOC). While you may find that less popular options of wood, stone, metal, or fiber cement are really the direction you’d rather go, eliminating the siding used most is a good first step to help you know.
Vinyl Siding: As an option that is affordable, low maintenance, and available in wide variety of designs and colors, vinyl siding is the most widely used siding on new homes. This easy-to-install material can be placed professionally but is also a money saver if you’re handy around the house and ready to tackle a DIY project.
While the color of vinyl siding is long-lasting without any need for routine painting, purchasing a home with older versions of vinyl siding may mean your future home is subject to fade when exposed to direct sunlight and other elements. The good news is more modern siding now comes with special coatings to help your hue last much longer.
On the downside, vinyl siding isn’t watertight, allowing moisture to get trapped in spaces behind the siding, which can lead to mold. However, this problem can be mitigated by using drainage holes in horizontal siding. Extreme weather can also cause siding the become cracked, dented, or broken.
Brick Siding: The big bad wolf may not be able to huff and puff and blow your brick house down, but it’ll come at a cost. While brick siding is the second most popular siding option reported by the SOC, it’s also among the most expensive. Part of the cost is in the sturdy material itself, while the level of skill required for the complicated installation adds an even bigger expense. Unless you’re an adept mason, let the pros handle this exterior job and leave the DIY option to another project.
Once installed, the brick veneer is relatively maintenance free, and while masonry can deteriorate with improper drainage, this exterior can last a lifetime, outlasting termites and fires and never being subject to fading or rotting. If following the brick road for your siding, be sure to have a high quality water membrane installed between the brick veneer and the walls of your home, as water can make its way through mortar seams.
Stucco Siding: Stucco is made up layers of cement, lime, and silica over a wood or metal lath, creating a textured siding. It is the third most popular siding used on homes according to SOC findings; however, it tends to be used more in drier climates. While the materials to construct stucco can be relatively inexpensive, like brick, installing stucco is labor intensive, which can drive up the price. However, for the money, you’re creating a protective concrete shell around your home that acts as a great insulator against heat in the summer and cold in the winter, a barrier for noise, and a retardant for fire, rot, and mold.
If you live in a damp climate or one exposed to heavy rains, stucco might not be your best option. While it can tolerate moisture, stucco only expands to a certain point. This is also a deterrent if you home’s foundation is subject to above-average settling or shifting due to earthquakes. If used in the proper environment and tended to as needed, stucco can last up to 50 years.
Painting should be avoided, instead choosing the color of your home you want when the stucco is installed. Otherwise, if and when the stucco needs to be replaced, any paint will need to be sandblasted off first to allow the new stucco to bond properly to the old.
North Shore Home Works Construction and Remodeling on Chicago’s North Shore
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