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  • Tim Kraemer

Material Breakdown: Siding

Updated: Jan 27, 2019

The exterior of our home is the first impression people get.  We often want it to be warm, inviting, clean and easy to maintain.  The design possibilities seem endless and there’s an array of materials to choose from when it comes to siding the exterior of our home.  To wrap up our Materials Breakdown series, we’re diving into the world of siding.

To start, remember that there may be regulations on the style or color of siding you choose, depending on your neighborhood.  Make sure to check with your local regulatory officials to make sure you aren’t starting a project which will get debunked right away.

At the top of the list is the ever popular vinyl siding.  Why so popular?  Because it’s budget-friendly and versatile.  It comes in a variety of patterns and colors such as horizontal or vertical panels or a board and batten look.  Vinyl siding comes in an endless array of colors and is easy to clean and maintain.  If using insulated vinyl siding it has the potential to provide energy savings.    The down side to vinyl siding is it is not waterproof, so poor installation may lead to water seepage and mold issues.  Keep in mind that the color you choose is permanent as vinyl cannot be repainted.  It has the potential to warp in extreme heat or cold.  Overall, it is a budget-friendly, basically maintenance free option.

Next on the list is a material which is newer to the world of exteriors.  Fiber cement is a mix of wood, sand and cement.  It is fire resistant, resistant to decay and can give the look of real wood.  It comes in a variety of finishes and textures such as brick or stone.  However, fiber cement is much more expensive than vinyl.

Wood siding comes next for its popular usage in Wisconsin.  Wood gives well, the woodsy look which a lot of cabin or lake home owners strive for.  Wood offers a limitless possibility of colors.  It’s easy to replace small patches and is easier to install, decreasing labor costs.  However, wood siding must be maintained- staining every 2-3 years and repainting every 4-5 years.  Also, it’s prone to decay and water damage.  Overall, higher on the maintenance scale but gives the look many woodsy Wisconsinites enjoy.

Brick is an age old choice for siding.  It’s long lasting durability and beautiful weathering makes it appealing to those looking for a classic, easy to maintain look.  Keep in mind once you choose a pattern or color, brick cannot be painted.  Brick is at the top of the list in price and often has a longer installation time.  It’s a siding for those with that certain style.

Stucco is often used in the southern states as it is used in Spanish style homes and is resistant to insects and does well in dry climates.  Stucco is easy to maintain.  However, it easily shows weathering and dirt and does not hold up to heavy rainfall.  From a distance, stucco tends to look flat and plain.

From basically maintenance free to almost yearly touch-ups the types of sidings out there vary.  It is important to not only take style into consideration, but function as well.  Will that wood siding look good in 2 years if you are not willing to put in the maintenance work, or pay to have someone do it?  Think, choose, and side your home!

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