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Siding or residing the exterior of a house adds value to and improves the physical appearance of the home. However, with all the available options for house siding, choosing the right type for your needs can seem like a difficult home improvement endeavour. Learning about the benefits and drawbacks of the three most popular types of house sidingóvinyl, aluminum, and woodówith these tips about exterior house siding will help you pick the best type for your siding or residing needs.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is currently the most popular type of exterior house siding in the United States and Canada. The main material in vinyl siding is polyvinyl chloride, which is usually abbreviated as PVC. The PVC in vinyl siding increases the strength, rigidity, and resistance of the material. Unlike other types of house siding, vinyl siding requires little to no upkeep and maintenance. Vinyl siding never needs painted and requires only periodic cleaning for upkeep. In terms of durability, vinyl siding rates very high because of its ability to withstand high wind speeds, both hot and cold temperatures, and moisture. The average vinyl siding lasts anywhere between twenty-five and fifty years. Available in multiple thicknesses, there is a vinyl siding appropriate for almost every climate. Depending on thickness and color, vinyl siding ranges in price from around $3 per square foot to $7 or more per square foot. Installation costs extra, but most homeowners can install vinyl siding themselves. However, because vinyl siding is relatively inexpensive, paying for installation is definitely worth the extra cost.

Aluminum Siding

Aluminum siding, which is older than vinyl siding, is another popular choice for exterior house siding. The main material in aluminum siding is aluminum that is coated with paint. Like vinyl siding, aluminum siding is extremely durable. However, because paint fades and scratches, aluminum siding must be painted periodically to maintain the quality and appearance of the exterior of the house. Aluminum also dents easily, so extra care must be taken to prevent damage to the siding. Depending on environmental conditions, aluminum siding can sometimes corrode although corrosion is rare. Therefore, other than an occasional coat of paint and a thorough scrubbing, aluminum siding requires minimal maintenance. If cared for properly, aluminum siding will usually last between thirty-five and forty years. Because of the price of aluminum, aluminum siding tends to be slightly less expensive than vinyl at a minimum of $2.50 per square foot. Labor and installation again increases cost, but, like vinyl siding, most homeowners can install aluminum siding on their own. But, again, the cheaper price of aluminum siding in comparison to vinyl siding is balanced by the higher maintenance needs of aluminum.

Wood Siding

Wood siding, which is older than both aluminum and vinyl siding, has been a popular type of exterior house siding in the United States throughout the history of the country. Although wood siding can be made from almost any type of wood, the five most popular tree types are pine, spruce, fir, cedar, and redwood. Unlike vinyl and aluminum siding, wood siding requires considerable and frequent maintenance. Wood siding must be sealed, stained, or painted to prevent damage from natural elements including water, sun, wind, dirt, and insects. With proper upkeep, however, wood siding can last up to one hundred years. (Improperly maintained wood siding will last only ten years or less.) The price of wood siding varies according to the type with the cheapest woods like pine, spruce, and fir costing a minimum of $5.50 per square foot. Although the price tag is more expensive, wood siding is still popular because of its more attractive appearance in comparison to aluminum and vinyl. Handy homeowners can install their own wood siding; however, professional installation is recommended for the best results.

  • Vinyl, brick, aluminum, and wood siding are the most popular types of house siding in North America. Learning about the pros and cons of these different siding types makes picking the best solution easier.

Whether you're renovating or building a new home, deciding on which siding material to use is a major decision, not to mention a major expense. Siding is more than just an exterior finish for your home. It is a major component of the exterior "envelope" of your home, which protects its interior from being damaged by water infiltration or inclement weather.

From maintenance to costs per square foot, here is an overview of five siding material options that you might want to consider. Keep in mind that although prices for the siding materials are fairly consistent throughout the United States, labor costs can vary significantly.

Wood is a traditional siding material that has been used in America since colonial times. There are two types of wood siding, shingles and clapboards. Shingles, or shakes as they are sometimes called, are typically made from cedar. They are not painted, but are left to weather naturally and are virtually maintenance free. Clapboards are typically made from Douglas fir, spruce, or pine and are usually painted or stained. Wood siding is an excellent choice for siding but, with the exception of masonry siding such as brick or stone, wood siding is more expensive than other siding options, costing about $5 to $8 per square foot. Cedar is more expensive at $8 to $14 a square foot.

Vinyl is one of the most popular siding materials for new homes. Made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic, it is quite durable, although less so than wood or masonry. It is maintenance free and is easy to keep clean simply by hosing it down once a year. It will not deteriorate and colors in the newer versions rarely fade. It can crack if accidentally hit with a lawn mower or weed whacker or come loose under conditions of frequent high winds. Vinyl siding costs about $3 to $7 per square foot.

Aluminum siding made its debut in the 1950s and is often used over wood siding in older homes to modernize them, much to the chagrin of old-house purists. Like vinyl, aluminum siding is touted as maintenance free and for the most part it is. It is easy to clean and fire resistant, and power washing will not harm the aluminum. It may dent (for instance in a hail storm), and the color may fade in strong sunlight or with time. Nonetheless it is a popular alternative to vinyl siding for many people. Aluminum siding costs about $5 to $10 per square foot.

Masonry siding made of brick refers to the use of brick to face the exterior of a home. Bricks are made from clay fired in a kiln and come in a range of colors and types. Some types of bricks are used for paving while others are used for walls or siding for homes. Brick masonry siding is durable and long lasting. It is also relatively maintenance free but should be cleaned periodically to remove pollutants that accumulate on the surface, which can cause deterioration of the brick over time. Brick is one of the more expensive siding options, starting at about $12 per square foot.

Fiber cement
Fiber cement siding is often referred to by its brand names, HardiPlank or HardiBoard. It is made from a composite of concrete materials that include Portland cement, sand, and cellulose. A relatively new product, it has become a popular alternative to wood, stucco, and certain types of masonry siding because of its ability to imitate them at a fraction of the cost. It is virtually maintenance free and does not rot or crack, nor is it damaged by hail or heavy rains. Fiber cement siding is fire resistant and maintenance free as well. It is more expensive than vinyl siding but less expensive than masonry siding, at about $4 to $7 per square foot.

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