The exterior of your home is the first things visitors and potential buyers see. If your home is older, or the current exterior needs a spruce up, you will want to make sure you are educated on the best siding for your house. It is important to ask yourself several questions before choosing the best siding. How much do I want to spend on siding? What style do I want the exterior of my house to convey? Do I live in an area that is prone to high winds or hail? Do I feel comfortable installing the siding myself? How long so I plan on living in my current house? How much value can I estimate will be added to the house with each type of siding? Asking these questions will give you a good idea of how much you are comfortable spending, the look you are going for, and the amount of maintenance or upkeep the siding will need.
There are more choices than ever when it comes to the types, styles and colors of siding available. New siding can go a long way to improving the appearance and value of your house. If you are trying to sell your house, new siding can be the determining factor in getting it sold quickly or not. Let’s look at the different types of siding available.
First off, we’ll cover the “has been” (some of you may be faced with this situation). Asbestos siding was very popular many years ago, but it is no longer manufactured. This is due to tiny hooks that would escape the material and embed in a person’s lungs, leading to a pulmonary condition known as asbestosis. The use of asbestos was banned, so if you have an older house that currently has asbestos siding, be sure pieces of it do not break off. If you are missing asbestos shingles you can buy synthetic replacement siding that does not contain asbestos from specialty manufacturers. If you are planning on residing your entire house that currently contains asbestos siding, be sure to contact a professional if you do not have siding experience. Generally a professional will coat the entire asbestos siding area with a protective coating to lock in any asbestos particles before applying the new layer of the siding of your choice.
Now on to the more valuable products: one product that has existed for millennia, but is still a valuable option is wood siding. Wood siding is moderate in price depending on the type of wood. However, wood siding does require a lot of maintenance, compared with more maintenance-free sidings. You must stain or paint the wood fairly regularly and be sure to caulk any gaps. It is much like maintaining a wooden deck, although perhaps not quite as labor intensive since the siding is not a flat surface. Another thing to watch out for with wood siding is termites. Termites and water can lead to wood rot, making the siding basically worthless. The benefit of this type of siding, however, is beauty. Well maintained wood siding adds great value to your home.
Aluminum siding is a low-maintenance alternative. It does not need to be painted, stained or caulked. There used to be a problem with fading and chalking, but vinyl or plastic coatings are now available, at a higher cost. Drawbacks to aluminum siding include denting, noise and the fact that it cannot be as intricately detailed. Today there is almost an infinite style of aluminum siding, including vertical, horizontal, and wood shingle simulated. The fancier the product, generally the higher the cost.
There is a reason that vinyl siding is so prevalent. It is a very low-cost, low-maintenance alternative to wood and aluminum siding. It does not generally dent like aluminum siding will. It is also available in at least as many styles and colors as aluminum siding. One downside is that there are few vinyl products on the market that are as aesthetically appealing as either wood or aluminum. However, it still makes for an attractive home and there are many low-cost, good quality vinyl products on the market so don’t rule it off the list.
Cement board is the latest addition to the siding world. It gives the look and feel of wood siding without the maintenance. Because the board is infused with cement it is not prone to rot or insect damage. This is often the type of siding you would use to replace one missing asbestos shingle. Cement board is also the closest simulation to wood, but can also be somewhat costly, since the product is relatively new. However, many manufacturers warranty their cement board products for up to fifty years. It often comes primed and you can paint it just like wood.
Value is a subjective measure and you will have to weigh the financial benefits against the aesthetic ones. One of the easiest ways to decide on a type is to remove the options that you know you don’t want. For instance, if low maintenance is most important to you, you can immediately eliminate wood from your options. Or if putting a lot of value and beauty into your home, you can eliminate many of the aluminum and perhaps some of the vinyl options. Once you narrow it down to a few types, you can start looking at styles, colors and orientation of the siding, whether vertical or horizontal. The more information you can determine and write down before looking at the options, the quicker it will be to make the decision and eliminate the options that don’t fit with your overall goals.
Once you have narrowed down to a type and style, you will want to get several quotes. There are companies that sell siding, companies that install siding, and companies that do both. You will need to determine if the particular siding you want comes from a company that just sells siding or if they also must install it as well. If the siding you want comes from a company that also installs it, but the cost of their installation is too high for your budget, you may want to see if they will give you a quote just for the materials. This way you can get an installer who will fit into your budget. Two caveats here: Keep in mind that a company that continually installs their particular siding may do it faster and better than an outside contractor who install various types of siding, not the same one every time. Also, you may be able to find a similar or identical type of siding to the one you wanted from the company that did not fit into your budget. Make sure that you do your research and shop around for the best value. It is important to know what you are looking for ahead of time. Don’t let a salesperson talk you into a type or style of siding that you are not interested in putting on your home. Imagine the feeling you’ll get driving up to your house each day. Which siding gives you that “warm fuzzy” (both from a value and an aesthetic perspective)? That’s the product for you.