Siding is an integral part of every home. It keeps the elements outside — where they belong — and helps to regulate your climate inside. Its aesthetic value can be huge, too.
Some types of siding can last for 30 years or more, but nothing lasts forever, and all siding will eventually need to be replaced. Deciding on the type of material and the color of your home’s siding can be a big commitment.
Re-siding creates an opportunity to transform the look, feel, function, and curb appeal of your home.
Before you make such a major decision, you’ll want to carefully consider your options. Let’s take a look at how a few of the most common siding materials for homes stack up.
One quarter of all new homes built in the U.S. in 2020 were clad in vinyl, making it one of the most popular types of primary siding for homes.
Part of its popularity is because it’s kind of a set-it-and-forget-it material.
“Vinyl takes very little maintenance,” says Eric Martin, the manager of new construction siding installation department at Big C Lumber. “If you want siding that you can put on the house and that you won’t have to worry about for years on end, vinyl is the way to go.”
Vinyl is a durable material that can hold up to the rigors of Mother Nature. There’s no painting needed and there’s no caulking involved. All that’s needed is a once-a-year washing.
Vinyl is the most affordable of the siding choices on the market, another reason it’s so popular.
Engineered wood siding — like LP SmartSide — comes in a wide array of styles from planks to shingles and beyond. It offers the distinct, classic look of wood siding, at a lower price.
While engineered wood isn’t pure wood — it’s a composite of wood byproducts and resins — it has a lot of the same properties as true wood.
“At the end of the day, it’s a wood product. It’s going to expand and contract as you install it, just like wood,” Martin says. “Because it’s wood it will wick water and can expand and deteriorate if you don’t properly maintain it.”
Because of that, Martin recommends that if you have engineered wood siding, you pay attention to how you use your sprinklers. You want to make sure the water isn’t hitting your wood siding so as not to waterlog it and cause unnecessary damage.
The extra spacing required for board expansion also means that caulking of joints will be necessary with engineered wood siding. Martin explains that the caulking will need to be inspected and replaced every three to five years. Fortunately, it will last you 30 years or more and can add more value to your home than vinyl siding.
“It’s got a great look to it and is very durable,” he says. “You’re not stuck with just a few colors, either. The selection is pretty much limitless.”
Cement board is a composite of cement and cellulose fibers, and it comes in as many styles as engineered wood.
It’s one of the most durable siding materials, is rot-resistant, water-resistant, and fireproof, but it has the classic look of traditional wood siding.
This isn’t a DIY-friendly siding, though, as it requires special tools, safety practices, and specific installation details.
“You definitely want to have a professional install cement board on your home because it requires a lot of expertise,” Martin says. “But most cement board siding has an installation warranty of 15 to 30 years, and sometimes more. So, you know you’ll have a quality, durable product that will last.”
Maintenance of cement board is simple, though, and only requires checking caulking and the occasional wash with water and a soft-bristle brush.
THINKING ABOUT COLOR
Almost as important in choosing the right siding is choosing the right color. After all, it’s going to be on the side of your house for the next 30 years!
There are hundreds of colors available to choose from when it comes to vinyl, but there are still some supply chain issues when it comes to some colors.
“With vinyl, a lot of the premium colors — the darker colors, which are harder to produce — are very hard to get right now,” Martin says. “Some of the companies are discontinuing their premium colors like that for the time being and just going back to the basic colors.”
Martin says that it’s not hard to find colors for other materials, though.
“As far as cement board or engineered wood, you can still get any color,” he says. “Lead times are a little bit longer than normal, but your color choices are still as unlimited as before.”
But what color do you choose?
Consider starting by taking a drive around your neighborhood and looking at the colors of the other homes. Look at the combination of colors other people are using, and look to see if you truly like the way a color looks on a house. If you choose a color that makes your house stand out too much, it’s worth noting that it could affect the resale value of the home.
“The trend right now is for people to go with all-white,” Martin says. “A lot of people are also choosing black or want really dark colors.”
You’ll want to take your landscaping into consideration, too.
“If you’re in an area that gets a lot of sunlight and heat and has few trees, then dark vinyl will sometimes get wavy from the heat,” Martin says. “You can’t even get cement siding in black because there’s an issue with heat.”
Ultimately, though, you should choose a color that you enjoy looking at and that you’d like to have for a long time.
“It all boils down to a personal preference. I’ve seen just about every color you can imagine go on a house,” Martin says. “There aren’t really any pros or cons to which color you pick. What you want is what you’re going to get.”
CONTACT THE SIDING EXPERTS AT BIG C LUMBER
Are you ready to tackle a re-siding project or are you building a new home? The pros at Big C Lumber can help you find the perfect siding.
We’ve been in business for 100 years and we stand behind our products and installation services! Call us at 574-272-6500 or 800-837-1882 to find out how we can help you with your siding project.