Vinyl Siding, Wood, or Masonry?
What you need to consider when residing
The exterior skin of your home has an important job to do by keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer. It has to repel moisture as well as tolerate sunlight, but be flexible enough to expand and contract with the changes in humidity and temperature. Finishes need to be durable, resist damage from minor impacts, and deter pests and insects. And to top it off, it has to look good.
When to reside your home
The following conditions may indicate its time to reside your home to protect it and prevent potential damage.
- Is there an indication of damage, weathering, decay?
- Is siding crumbling, rotten, cracked, malformed, loose, or missing?
- Is there evidence of moisture, water stains, moss, or algae?
- Is there evidence of interior damage as a result of exterior problems?
Residing your home is usually a pretty costly project. It´s easy to put it off if money is short or you don´t have the time to take care of it. Because everyone gets busy, it´s important to spend time deciding what you want if you´re thinking of a change, then getting estimates from qualified siding contractors.
Things to consider when selecting new siding for your home is your home´s architectural style, the neighborhood, the type of material and its appropriateness in your climate, and the environmental impact of the material itself. Other considerations, of course, include cost, longevity, and how much ongoing maintenance is required. Energy and sound insulation are also important factors to consider.
The value of your home can be affected by your choice. If you choose a material that isn´t suitable you could lose value. On the flip side, choosing can mean appreciation in your home´s value and with good landscaping the curb appeal alone could have potential purchasers flocking to your doorstep.
All siding is susceptible to various problems, but also has unique characteristics to recommend it. The following table shows relative advantages and disadvantages to consider when contemplating a new exterior for your home.
- Offers some insulation value
- Takes stain and paint well
- Easy to repair and install
- Environmentally friendly
- Biodegradable when not treated with preservatives
- Requires painting or staining which adds to the cost
- Regular maintenance cleaning and repainting
- May foster growth of algae, mildew, or moss that left untreated can promote rot and deterioration
- Very popular
- PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
- Easy to maintain—low maintenance doesn´t require repainting
- Comes in a variety of colors
- Very cost effective
- No insulation value; may require backings for insulation
- May be damaged by severe storms or even heat (think BBQ)
- Limited range of colors available
- Relatively difficult to repair
- PVC vinyl releases toxic dioxin when it is burned. Environmentally unsatisfactory. Also, some people dislike its aesthetic value
|Metal (steel and aluminum)
- Aluminum is good in coastal environments
- Steel is best where hail is a problem
- Limited colors available
- More costly than vinyl
- Relatively difficult to repair
- Poor insulation qualities
- Variety of systems available including brick, concrete bricks, stucco (and synthetic stucco), cultured stone, and fiber-cement siding.
- Long lasting
- Generally low maintenance
- Distinctive appearance
- Synthetic stucco has a history of problems
- Requires professional installation
Regardless of whether you put up siding yourself or hire a professional, there are several key points to keep in mind:
- If you hire a pro, make sure they´re qualified. Check licensing, insurance, bonding. Get everything in writing and always check references.
- Make sure the design supports the material.
- Verify that the material is warranted for your installation by the manufacturer.
- Make sure that the installation is performed according to the manufacturer´s specifications.
- Learn what it takes to maintain the warranty.
If there is a material failure, you want to know that the contractor will stand behind the job, and that the manufacturer will honor the warranty.
Maintaining your home´s siding
First and foremost, keep siding clean, stained or painted, and sealed. If you stay on top of yearly maintenance, your siding will last longer and look better. That translates into greater home value as well as more pride and pleasure in your home.
Other tips include:
- Keep interior humidity under control. Good ventilation reduces moisture that can be trapped behind your home´s exterior. Check ventilation in bathrooms, laundry, and kitchen to make sure moist air is vented outside efficiently.
- Check landscaping that is next to your house. Keep bushes trimmed so they aren´t touching the siding. Also maintain at least 8 inches between the ground and the siding. Avoid planting right up against the house. By all means camouflage your foundation with great plants, just don´t let them get too close.
- Check your home for periodic damage to the exterior. Many experts recommend doing a thorough once over in the spring to assess any winter damage. Make it a point to check for damage after any big storm or other environmental events including minor earthquakes.
- If you find something, fix it when it´s little. Buy extra siding materials to make small repairs yourself whenever possible. Even if repair is not your thing, at least you´ll have material a pro can use to do patch or repair work.
Is a siding job in your immediate future? If so, find a qualified, licensed siding contractor at Next Step Remodeling