5 of the Best Siding Materials
As one of the first thing buyers see from the curb, siding is critical to a home’s aesthetics. It’s also a vital part of the wall assembly and the first line of defense against the elements. With a vast landscape of options, it’s not always easy to settle on one choice. To better assess your options, let’s look at the positives and negatives associated with the most popular siding materials.
A Variety of Options
These days, there are a bevy of siding options, including various types of wood, brick, vinyl, fiber cement, stone, stucco, synthetic stucco, manufactured stone veneer, stainless steel, aluminum, composites and ceramic tile. When settling on a particular choice, builders must consider cost, looks, durability, ease of installation and climate. The following siding materials offer some key features that make them popular options in most parts of the country.
Versatility, low cost and easy maintenance have made vinyl the most popular siding choice in the United States. Available at home improvement stores, this material requires few tools to install. There are also a variety of colors and styles available. Average cost: from $3 to $7 per square foot.
With a rich, natural aesthetic, wood clapboard, shakes and shingles are commonly used for cottage, bungalow and Cape Cod exteriors. When maintained properly, wood siding can last between ten to 100 years. That said, it requires periodic maintenance and is susceptible to rodent, bird and insect attacks. There are also extra costs related to painting or staining. Average cost: around $5 to $10 per square foot.
Available in an array of textures and sizes, brick is commonly used on English, Tudor and Colonial exteriors. These days, it’s usually built as veneer constructed outside a home’s wood frame structure. Because it is water permeable, brick siding requires a membrane installed between the house and brick veneer. Although it can last the life of a property, brick siding can be expensive due to higher labor costs. Average cost: around $6 to $15 or more per square foot.
A versatile product, fiber-cement siding can mimic the look of stucco, masonry or wood. It’s also termite-resistant, non-flammable and low-maintenance. In some cases, however, extra measures may be needed to prevent moisture problems. That said, when properly installed, fiber-cement siding can last 25 to 50 years. Average cost: $6 to $12 per square foot.
A blend of lime, water, Portland cement and sand, traditional stucco is commonly used to create ranch, Mediterranean and Spanish-mission exteriors. The material requires galvanized-metal screening and a waterproof barrier prior to application. Careful installation is also required to reduce the risk of unwanted cracks. When applied properly, however, stucco can last the lifetime of a home. Average cost: $6 to $9 per square foot.
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