Most Popular Types of Siding Materials – Forbes Advisor – Forbes Home

Choosing the best type of siding to install on your home is an important, and often difficult, decision. There are many different options to choose from, and it’s important to consider them all. When choosing the exterior siding for your home, you should prioritize durability, aesthetic value, cost, and required maintenance. Each type of siding has its own set of advantages and disadvantages in these areas.

Vinyl siding

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Vinyl siding is one of the most popular choices in the United States. It’s a form of plastic siding often seen on small homes or apartment buildings that need weather protection (especially in areas that get a lot of rainfall and storms) . It can come in a variety of colors, making it an aesthetically pleasing exterior choice.

Vinyl is a relatively inexpensive siding option. For a typical single-family home of around 2,000 square feet, it costs between $6,150 and $15,900 to install.

Because it’s made from polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, vinyl siding is essentially fire resistant. PVC will only ignite if it reaches an extremely high temperature, around 750 degrees Fahrenheit. PVC also needs a particularly high amount of oxygen to continue burning. That means it’s harder for fires to start initially and even harder to keep burning.

Advantages

  • Fire resistant up to 750 degrees
  • Huge selection of styles
  • Cheap

The inconvenients

  • May fade faster than other types (10-15 years, depending on climate)
  • Susceptible to excessive exposure to UV rays and harsh weather conditions
  • Prone to mold growth and siding rot if not installed with a tight seal

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Wooden cladding

wood siding

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Wood is one of the oldest exterior siding options available. It’s very versatile as it can be stained or painted to look exactly how you want. Plus, it comes in several different arrangements, like shingles and vertical planks, to help homeowners achieve the look they want. Depending on the arrangement, the cost of wood siding can range from $7,000 to $23,000.

Although wood siding tends to be impressive, it poses a household fire hazard. Wood is a combustible material, which means it can ignite when exposed to high heat. Wood siding can ignite, causing flames to spread through the wall and into the home. Wood siding also requires ongoing maintenance and painting over time. Paint professionals recommend a new coat every three to four years. When wood siding is regularly maintained, it can last 20 to 40 years before requiring complete replacement.

POINT: Wood is a combustible material, which means it ignites quickly if exposed to high heat. One option homeowners have to combat this is to add a flame retardant chemical to the coating, which is an additional cost.

Advantages

  • Offers a classic look in a variety of styles
  • One of the greenest options (since making wood siding is natural and non-toxic, unlike the processes required to make vinyl siding, for example)
  • Can be more versatile and customizable than other types

The inconvenients

  • Fuel and Fire Hazard
  • Lack of durability
  • Requires refurbishment every few years

Metal cladding

close up of metal siding

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Many homeowners consider metal only as a roofing material, but metal is also gaining popularity as an exterior siding material. It’s strong, relatively easy to install, and can come in a variety of types, like aluminum and steel. Once the metal siding is installed, it requires virtually no maintenance.

The metallic coating is durable and holds up well to harsh weather conditions like snow and extreme temperatures. Unlike wood siding, metal siding does not tend to warp, rot, or be susceptible to pests. The downside is that metal is a poor insulator and is not soundproof. If you live in an area with an extreme climate and are sensitive to outside noise, metal may not be the best siding choice.

Advantages

  • Extremely durable and low maintenance
  • Pretty easy to install
  • Immune to unwanted noise and fire

The inconvenients

  • Offers little insulation
  • Not soundproof; if you live in an area with an extreme climate or are sensitive to outside noise, this will be a problem.

Fiber cement coating

close up of fiber cement siding

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Durable and strong, fiber cement siding is a great exterior siding option for those looking for something that will last at least 30 years. Fiber cement siding is particularly suitable for homeowners who live in an intense climate, as it can withstand harsh weather, including hail and high winds.

Fiber cement siding is made from a mixture of wood pulp and cement. It maintains the durability of cement but provides aesthetic flexibility. Fiber cement siding can resemble a variety of other siding materials, such as wood. The biggest hurdle of fiber cement siding is the fact that it is expensive to install. Indeed, the installation process requires a large workforce, and therefore working time. You’ll likely have to pay a professional to install the fiber cement siding, so be prepared for a big hit on your wallet.

Advantages

  • Durable, even in bad weather
  • Offers a wide range of styles
  • Low maintenance
  • Fire retardant

The inconvenients

  • Expensive to install
  • Absorbs moisture
  • Not energy efficient

Brick cladding

close up of brick facing

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Brick is a classic and timeless exterior cladding material, and it’s been a standard in the building industry for years, largely because of its durability. Brick siding does not need regular repainting, unlike wood or vinyl siding which tends to fade in the sun. Brick is a very low maintenance exterior cladding option that will last at least 100 years on average.

Brick also tends to increase the value of your home compared to other types of siding. It can therefore be a good choice if you want to turn a house into an investment property. A report from Acme Brick shows that the value of brick homes increases by approximately $4,000 on a house with wood or fiber cement siding.

While brick cladding beats other cladding materials in appearance, longevity, and strength, it does have a downside: cost. Brick is one of the more expensive options on the market. For a 2,000 square foot home, brick cladding costs between $8,900 and $25,000.

It also requires additional materials, like a waterproof membrane, to ensure it is effective. But aside from these additional materials, brick is an all-natural and very eco-friendly choice. Since bricks are made from natural materials, their carbon footprint is relatively low. In addition, the bricks are recyclable and biodegradable.

Advantages

  • nature friendly
  • Low maintenance
  • Weather and fire resistant

The inconvenients

  • Expensive to install
  • Requires a waterproof sealant
  • Color limits

Alternative materials

There are many other materials used for siding to consider. These include:

  • Composite: Composite is one of the most durable types of siding with many styling options.
    Hardie Panel: Another durable option, Hardie Panel can be more expensive than the other options mentioned.
  • Stone veneer: Stone veneer is a lightweight, cost-effective option that is less environmentally friendly – it cannot be recycled.
  • Manufactured wood: This siding option looks like the real thing, but succumbs to mildew if moisture seeps in.

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Conclusion

Not only is siding an effective tool for beautifying a home, it’s also an important safety feature and an investment in your home’s value. Its durability and cost differ depending on the material used, so it’s important to keep the pros and cons of each material in mind when choosing siding for your home. Contact your local siding expert to determine which option is best for your budget and region.

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