A Homeowner's Guide to Siding Materials

Most single-family houses feature siding on their exterior walls. Whichever material you choose, siding remains a popular choice because it comes in numerous colours and looks good alongside brick, stucco, and stone. It's the perfect way to complete a home's exterior and give it the desired curb appeal.


If you're building a new home or looking to give your current house a facelift, new siding will do the trick. Read below to compare your siding material options.


Vinyl

Vinyl siding remains the go-to choice for many builders and homeowners. Vinyl siding became available during the 1950s, but it stays popular today because of numerous benefits. Here are a few pros of modern vinyl siding:

  • It's low maintenance. You never have to repaint it, and it washes easily.
  • It's low priced. Vinyl siding typically costs less than other siding materials.
  • It's durable. Vinyl siding resists damage from bugs and won't fade in direct sunlight.
  • It's versatile. You can find it in many colours and textures, including siding that mimics natural wood grain.

Recently, vinyl siding became available in insulated varieties. Insulated siding helps a house maintain the desired internal temperature, which increases energy savings.


Of course, vinyl siding has a few drawbacks, too. Some people dislike the subtle visible seams created by overlapping vinyl panels. Strong winds and other harsh weather conditions sometimes rip vinyl siding down, making repair work necessary. It's also not very green. Builders rarely recycle vinyl siding, so it stays in landfills for years. Additionally, vinyl releases toxins when burned.


Aluminum

For homeowners on a small budget, aluminum siding is a reliable option. It creates a look similar to vinyl siding but at a lower cost. The lower initial cost doesn't mean more maintenance, but it does mean the siding will show its age sooner. Aluminum siding dents and fades more easily than vinyl.


Even so, aluminum has several advantages in addition to its low price. Here are a few:

  • It's safe. Aluminum won't harm the environment or contribute to health problems.
  • Its fire-, rust-, and bug-proof. This metal won't sustain damage during fire, water, or bug exposure.
  • It's recyclable. If you ever choose to replace it, you can ensure that aluminum siding stays out of landfills.

Steel

Steel siding is a step above aluminum and has many of the same benefits. Steel siding resists dents better than aluminum and shows the chosen colour longer. However, it's also more prone to rust, so it's not recommended for anyone who lives near a coast.


Steel siding comes in many colours and faux wood designs, just like aluminum and vinyl siding. In addition, it's available in seamless panels. These cost more to install, but many homeowners appreciate the refined look of seamless siding.


Wood

Wood siding gives a house character because its appearance changes over time. Homeowners can choose between traditional wood clapboard siding, where horizontal planks rest on top of each other, and wood shingle siding, which features smaller shingles for a more rustic look.


Wood siding is the obvious choice for anyone who prioritizes sustainability. Many manufacturers source wood siding from older timber in sustainable forests. If you choose a wood that's suited to your area's weather conditions, this siding can last for years and require few repairs.


Wood siding offers a distinct look for homeowners who crave a natural look and don't mind paying a little more for that look. For the initial installation, wood siding is generally more expensive than vinyl. Inexpensive options are available for anyone on a limited budget, but better wood grades cost more. Maintenance costs include regular washing, staining or painting, and sealing against mildew and mould.


Composite

Also known as fibre cement, this siding material contains wood fibres, cement, clay, and sand. This combination gives composite siding the toughness of cement but an appearance similar to vinyl or wood siding. Some composite siding even looks like stucco, brick, or stonework.


Durability reigns supreme for composite siding. Its strong texture gives it the following benefits:

  • It stays strong in most weather conditions. It won't expand and contract with weather changes like humidity and temperature shifts. The sun's rays don't fade its colour, and even salt water has little damaging effect.
  • It's bug proof. Although it contains wood, termites can't chomp down on composite siding.
  • It needs minimal maintenance. Homeowners need to refinish it about every 15 years, but otherwise maintenance is similar to vinyl siding.
  • It's fire resistant. Most varieties have high fire ratings and add extra fire protection.

Composite siding is a less expensive alternative to wood siding, but it's also less eco-friendly. Manufacturers have to use lots of energy to make cement, and they don't always source wood fibres from sustainable forests. Still, composite siding continues to rise in popularity.


No matter which siding material you choose, remember to buy it from an experienced roofing company that offers long warranties. Consult a siding specialist to start finding the perfect upgrade or finishing touch for your house. Call Century Roofing in Calgary today.

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