Siding Choices for Your Home
Vinyl siding is the most common siding material in the United States. It
provides an appealing look at a relatively low cost with virtually no maintenance. Today, there are as many
colors as you can imagine to choose from and the color goes all the way through the
material, making scratching a concern of the past. Vinyl is also dent resistant and
plyable unlike metal sidings. There are also multiple styles including different widths,
shingles, shakes, vertical, and specialty options. It is also easier and relatively quick
to install Vinyl Siding, making it one of the most economical siding choices
When buying vinyl, you should always compare the thickness of the panels. The thicker the
panel the more durable the vinyl siding is and the longer it will last.
Vinyl Siding is the most popular choice for homeowners and builders alike because it is long
lasting, inexpensive, and virtually maintenance-free.
-- Never needs painting
-- Can be easily cleaned with soap and water
-- Comes in a vast variety of colors and tones
-- Comes in many styles include lap, shakes, scallops, and fish scales
-- Available with foam backing for energy efficiency
-- Can Last up to about 40 years or more
Insulated Vinyl Siding
With energy conservation on the everyone's mind, manufacturers of vinyl siding have introduced
products that incorporate a vinyl siding with an insulated backer board. With these products you get the best of
two worlds, the durablity and low maintainence of vinyl siding combined with a thermal foam
insulation. In some cases the insulation found in these products can increase the insulation
value of your exterior walls by as much as 30%. Also the molded foam insulation inlay makes
your siding stronger by adding support to the vinyl panel. It will also make your home
noticably quieter from outside noise. This variety of vinyl siding may cost a little more than
regular uninsulated siding but the added value in terms of comfort and energy savings is well
-- All of the benefits of vinyl siding
-- Increases Insulation value of walls, will lower energy bills
-- Because it's supported, it is stronger than regular vinyl
-- Makes home noticably quieter from outside noise
-- Adds more value to the home and makes for a tighter, greener home
Insulated Vinyl Siding will become the standard siding choice of homeowners in
the years to come.
Fiber Cement Siding
A popular product homeowners are choosing is fiber cement siding. It has the look of wood but is pest and bird resistant, has lower maintenance, and will last longer. It can
be used alone or in conjunction with brick or stone for a beautiful looking exterior that also
costs less than a solid brick or stone home. It will cost you a little more than vinyl siding, and
it will have to be painted.
Fiber-cement siding (made of cement, sand, and cellulose fiber) looks like wood, but it's more
durable and less expensive.
-- Available in planks from 5 1/4 inches to 12 inches wide
-- Smooth or wood textures available
-- Fire-resistant and termite-proof; won't rot or crack
-- Holds paint up to 15 years
-- Limited, transferable warranties up to 50 years
Brick is a product that has stood the test of time. In fact, many brick homes are still standing
after hundreds of years. Actual brick is fired clay and comes in a range of colors from red to a
variety of earth tones and gives the exterior of your home a rich, traditional look. Another nice
benefit of brick is you won’t have to worry about repairs for at least 20 years from
On the bad side, the price of brick is higher then other exterior options, although the
longevity of the product still makes it an attractive choice. Brick is also difficult to install in
a retrofit remodeling situation. When brick is installed on a new home the foundation of the home
is poured with a brick ledge to the support the weight of the product. In a retrofit application
iron brick ledges can be attacted but this adds to the cost of the installation both in labor and
materials and it may be difficult to find a mason to install brick in this fashion. Retrofit full
brick installed on a wall with windows may also result in the necessity to replace said windows due
to the thickness of the brick compared to how far the windows protrudes from the wall.
If the cost of brick is too much, there are other options on the market today.
-- Available in a wide variety sizes, colors, and textures
-- Will not rot, burn, or fade, lasts a hundred years of more
-- Provides great sound and thermal insulation
-- Because of it's fire resistant nature, Brick may result in lower insurance rates
-- Generally no maintenance is needed for the first 20+ years; then inspection of the mortar joints
and tuckpointing may be necessary
Brick and Stone Veneers
Lightweight aggregates, cement, and
pigments are cast to imitate brick or stone or a full brick is face cut to produce a thin
brick that can be installed on a wall. Generally because of the extra processes involved
with the production and installation of this product the cost is about the same as full
brick. But because this product is lighter than full brick and is thin enough so windows
and doors don't need to be replaced, it is great for remodeling and retrofit situations.
On a wall, it is difficult to tell the difference between thin brick and full brick.
-- About the same price but lighter than natural stone or brick and great for retrofit
-- Many styles to choose from; can be combined with other materials
-- Only maintenance that it may require is to check mortar for cracking and tuckpointing
-- Just like full brick and stone, resists fire, rotting, and insects
-- Should last the life of the building
Wood siding has been used for a long time. The natural look of this siding is appealing to many
homeowners who seek a traditional look to the outside of their homes. Types of wood siding include
clapboard, plywood, rectangular plank, cedar and wood plank. Real wood siding is the least-used
product today simply because it doesn't hold up well under typical Chicago harsh weather conditions
and is also at the mercy of outdoor critters such as insects and other animals who are attracted to
Wood needs consistant maintainence in the form of painting, staining, and caulking. It has
declined in popularity as the cost of lumber has increased and demand that homeowners have for
lower maintenance materials has increased.
-- Has been used for generations and has a tradional look
-- Several styles to choose from, clapboard, plywood, plank to name a few
-- Flamable, may need fire retardant finish applied
-- Suseptible to insects and animals that are attracted to wood
-- Needs to be painted, stained, or sealed regularly, high maintainence.
Composite siding is man made boards that are manufactured from various combinations of wood
fibers, fillers, binders and glue. These materials are then heated and compressed into
composite wood products.
Composite Siding products exhibit the beauty and authentic look of real wood while offering many
advantages over traditional wood trim and siding materials. For one, composite materials are knot
free which makes the material stronger and without the flaws that wood knots will create. And
unlike traditional wood, composite siding products resist cupping, warping and cracking. They are
factory pre-primed and in most cases can be pre-painted directly from the manufacturer, delivering
optimal adhesion and consistent application. Composite materials also use a manufacturing process
that helps protect against termite damage and fungal decay.
The leading brand of composite siding is LP® SmartSide®
-- Looks like real wood siding without the knots and imperfections
-- Warping and cupping resistant
-- Can be factory painted for a consistant finish
-- Insect and fungus resistant
-- Will last longer than wood with less maintainence
We only mention aluminum siding here because it's actually still available. Vinyl has pretty
much completely replaced aluminum as the economical siding of choice. Aluminum siding gained
popularity in the 1950's and was the siding of choice up until the mid-80's when vinyl siding
gained a foot hold in the market. Aluminum was touted as one of the first maintainence free
exterior products because it comes prefinished and doesn't need painting.
One downside of aluminum siding is it dents. Hail, tree limbs, balls, etc can make dents and
dings in aluminum siding. And because older styles and colors are not available anymore, homeowners
with damage will need to live with the damages or replace the whole wall. Another issue with
aluminum siding is it needs to be cleaned frequently because the painted surface tends to chalk.
Many manufacturers have stopped producing alumumin siding altogether but you can still find it in
limited colors and very limited style choices.
Let Innnovative Home Concepts help you design the exterior siding remodel of your home.
Click here for a Free price quote and consultation.