Exterior siding has a big effect on your home’s curb appeal. If it’s clean and pristine, it can make your house look even more valuable. But if it’s flaking, rusty or dirty, it can make your home look old and neglected. Not sure which siding is best? Check out these exterior siding options that are available for your home so you have an idea of what you’d like when speaking to your local professional.
One of the most popular types of siding, vinyl is cost-effective and only requires occasional washing. Costs will vary depending on how thick the material is, but it can withstand wear and tear and if necessary, be replaced without having to do a complete overhaul. The wall just needs to be lined with sheets of rigid foam board to create a sturdy nailing surface before applying. Vinyl siding comes in vertical and horizontal panels, shingles, fish scale designs and more in 300-plus different colors.
Color choices, low maintenance and durability make brick a popular choice for homeowners. It also helps to add extra insulation for homes that truly get four seasons (which means more money in your pocket in the winter and summer). While expensive, it’s long lasting and just requires a little washing every now and then.
- Clay Brick: Clay bricks can be smooth or textured and are made in uniform shapes that fit together in an interlocking pattern held together by mortar.
- Concrete Brick: Concrete bricks also come in a variety of colors and sizes, are less expensive than clay, and typically withstand wear and tear even better than clay bricks.
- Brick Veneers/Fabricated Brick: Usually molded from actual clay, brick or other natural materials, veneers and fabricated ones are lightweight and durable. Installation is considered DIY-friendly, often requiring no more than caulking and appropriate glue.
One of the most expensive options, stone siding can create an upscale appearance and maintain its durability. Not only is the material itself pricier than others, a professional will need to be hired to install the stones properly, which will increase the overall cost of the project. The benefit is a beautiful façade that requires little maintenance and is long lasting.
- Natural Stone: Natural stone like granite, slate, limestone, cobblestone and more, has been used for centuries, as it tends to stand the test of time and look good in the process. The stones are placed in a pattern and mortared into place to create a look that complements your home’s design. You’ll have fun picking colors, textures and patterns that suit your taste.
- Stone Veneers and Fabricated Stone: Just like brick veneers, stone veneers are molded from real rock or other natural materials, making them durable and lighter in weight. Installation requires less time and less cost than actual stone or rock.
Wooden boards or shingles make for a traditional-looking home. The variety of red or white wood makes cedar a favorite, but other wood siding options include spruce, fir and also redwood. Keep in mind that wood is biodegradable and to preserve its natural beauty, you’ll have to paint and stain it frequently.
- Bevel/Clapboard: Bevel or clapboard siding is made by sawing a board at an angle to create two pieces that are thicker on one edge. Popular choices include pine, spruce, cedar and redwood (the last two being more expensive). This type of siding is installed horizontally (with the upper piece overlapping the lower) over plywood with a moisture barrier in between and a finishing coat plus caulking. It requires ongoing maintenance such as painting and caulking to protect against damage.
- Shingles and Shakes: Often made of redwood or red cedar, wood shingles create a smooth and uniform look. Shakes are thicker than shingles, are less consistent in appearance, but last longer. Like bevel siding, they can be installed over plywood with a moisture barrier in between, a finishing stain and caulking. Both shingle and shake siding require periodic painting and caulking to keep up its appearance.
- Board and Batten: Board-and-batten siding, also known as barn siding, is a vertical design created by wide boards of cedar or pine with narrow strips (battens) covering the spaces between the boards. This siding can be installed over plywood with a moisture barrier in between.
- Logs: Log siding is typically made from cedar, pine, or redwood and is used for homes that want the forest look (especially if you live near mountains). While the logs can be painted or stained, the beauty is keeping it in its natural state by just applying a clear sealer. Not only is log siding expensive initially, you also have to pay for regular protectant against cracks and insect infestation. Installation can be complex (not a quick Sunday afternoon project) and should be done by a professional.
- Engineered Wood: Engineered wood siding is made with sawdust and bonding agents, making it a lightweight, but strong alternative to real wood. The cost is significantly less than real wood, and lasts about 20-30 years with little maintenance other than applying a weatherproofing finish.
When you think of stucco, you probably picture a Spanish-style home. Used for hundreds of years, stucco is a cement-like mixture coupled with sand or lime that is fairly affordable. It usually requires wood covered with metal screening and tarpaper before the stucco is applied. While it looks pretty, it does attract dirt, rust and mold in it’s crevices, which means it needs regular cleaning. For the same reasons, you’ll need to do an occasional repaint or touch-up to cover up those stains.
Metal siding on homes is becoming popular because it’s stronger and can be formed into different shapes and fit curves of the house easier than other materials. The metal usually needs to be attached to a frame and include a barrier for moisture. While metals like copper often change their appearance after being exposed to the elements, most other metals maintain their finish over the years.
Remember that the type of exterior siding you choose can change the look and feel of your home, so you have to be comfortable with it. Consider materials that are durable, water resistant, energy efficient and cost-effective for your budget. If you’re not sure which type of siding is best, talk to a professional in your area who can help you pick materials that work for your home and location.