A simple post today, but a critical one for many customers. There are so many options in siding out there, how do you pick the right one? The first thing I tell them is to ignore what you want your house to look like. This sounds ridiculous, but unless you want a stucco look, just about any option can acheive it with the same true criteria that separates them, cost, maintenance, and longevity.
Let’s start with that stucco appearance that is unique. Most modern “stucco”s are really an Exterior Insulation and Finish System (colloquially known as DryVit in this country, although that is a manufacturer brandname). These are very nice in that they provide some extra insulation and can look quite sharp when installed correctly. These systems did have trouble with moisture and rotting the sheathing, but propperly designed and installed, most of these systems should keep your house looking fantastic for a long time and the design options are about as close to endless as possible. There is some maintenence that comes with these systems, they do tend to be a bit easy to damage and they will require washing and painting (intervals vary by manufacturer and climate) but this is one of the few forms of cladding that increases the energy performance of your home out of the box.
Now that the unique looking one is out of the way, let’s talk cost and maintenance. The next three examples are all different materials giving you the same set of styles and looks at various budget points. Vinyl siding is available in many styles and colors, goes on quickly and easily, and will never need to be painted. If you’re a budget customer of mine, I don’t rarely bother to discuss other options as vinyl siding, especially the lap siding, is impossible to beat, value-wise. It’s also low-maintenance only needing to be washed occasionally. Be careful about the value proposition though. With vinyl siding, you get what you pay for, the cheaper the siding, the more likely it is to look cheap on your house, either sagging, cracking, or fading. This is also a great option for DIY’ers as the material is very forgiving and flexible, just watch how tightly you nail it in place and follow instructions on expansion requirements. If you want some more advice on which siding to choose, check out Siding Group to learn more.
Cementitious siding (often called Hardi-plank or board, but again, that is a name brand) is basically a cheaper form of wood siding. It is cementitious boards or planks available in a variety of sizes and textures that goes on a building much like traditional cedar would. Cementitious sidings are cheaper than wood and much less maintenance as well requiring occasional cleaning and painting (again, the interval depends on your siding and paint manufacturer’s recommendations for your climate). Cementitious siding often looks more real than vinyl siding and is a good option for developments that may ban vinyl siding as most will accept cementitious options. This is not a great option for DIYer’s as it takes some skill and practice to install correctly as the boards and planks are very brittle, but once in place and propperly cared for, the siding which is also fire resistant, should last a lifetime.
Wood siding is expensive and requires a lot of maintenance (yearly painting or staining typically) but is often considered the best looking, especially if you’re going for a stained wood look that is difficult to replicate. Wood siding has been around for hundreds of years and the manufacturer’s well understand it’s abilities and limitations, and if designed and installed by professionals and properly maintained, should last for up to a hundred years. There are also engineered wood sidings that combine the beauty of wood with the durability and stability of other products, but it’s not usually available as a stock product and most clients tend to go wood or a substitute. It is definitely worth considering having a termite control Los Angeles firm or one similar in mind if you choose wood sliding over other options. With wood being susceptible to the likes of termite and wood worm damage if not treated or maintained properly, it is worth having a firm in your mind to examine and support you where necessary.
Another type of siding to consider is LP® SmartSide®, also known as lp smartside siding. If you’re looking for siding that delivers an outsanding quality, then LP delivers just that. By having this installed, your house will stand out for sure, as it offers the warmth and and beauty of wood. It also comes in different lengths, widths, textures, profiles and substrates, catering to a variety of needs. When installed, LP is treated with SmartGuard®, making it one of the most durable siding solutions available on the market today; withstanding the strongest of weather in any temperature. As it is easy to install, saving time and money.
There is one last type of siding that I haven’t covered, and that is metal. There are lots of metal siding options from aluminum and steel of old to copper and nickel (also of old, but less common in residential products) to stainless steel and even titanium. There are a variety of styles and finishes, sometimes they are part of an insulated sandwich, sometimes simple perforated screens, sometimes they are even manufactured to look like more standard products. Metal siding options are a great accent idea as they are still relatively unique, but they are also quite expensive, and make sure you get an installer who has some experience and a designer who knows how to detail them properly as there are issues with metal siding you do not see elsewhere like galvanic reactions, corrosion, and even potential soil toxicity (if it’s really done wrong.)
A final word of warning when caring for your siding, be wary of the pressure washer. Pressure washers sure do make quick work of cleaning a house, but always hire a professional or at least consult your manufacturer’s recommendations. If you are interested in cleaning your siding by yourself though, then you could always check out a site like crafted garage for a bit of extra guidance on how you should clean you siding. As this is something that you need to be a bit more careful with. Pressure washers can strip the paint off of siding (or windows), damage the finish of a material, or push water with such force into the wall assembly that it gets trapped and causes rot. Some siding salespersons have told me they would never ever powerwash a house, but that might be a bit extreme. I hope you learned something today, and like always, consult a professional when making choices on your project to help with the holistic design considerations.