When it comes to the aesthetics of a house, exterior siding plays a huge role. Not only does it enhance curb appeal, but it also decides how people feel about their homes. In fact, a study by NAR found that 64% of people felt greater joy to be at home after installing new siding.
Besides adorning the exterior of your home, the right type of siding can provide insulation and create significant energy savings in the long run. Plus, it can increase the value of your home. The NAR report (discussed above) also found that new siding was one of the top ten improvements likely to increase the resale value of a house.
However, as with any home building or home improvement project, choosing the right material can be tricky. There are many popular types, each with its own pros and cons. This article explores several different home siding options with tips on how to choose the best siding material for your real estate projects.
1. Wood Siding
Natural wood can be a great siding option owing to its beautiful texture. Real wood shingles provide an unparalleled vintage/rustic look and greatly enhance curb appeal. With proper care and maintenance, wood siding lasts a very long time — up to 40 years.
However, maintenance can be expensive. Particularly in pest-prone areas, termites and ants can create extensive damage. So, wood siding needs to be treated with anti-termite, moisture-proof, fire-resistant coating every three to four years. And while wood is eco-friendly, the chemicals used to treat it necessarily aren’t and these can be toxic.
Certain types of wood (e.g., redwood or cedar) are typically more expensive than others. But they’re also more decay-resistant and last longer.
- Looks good, increases curb appeal
- Easy to paint and change the look
- Very versatile, can be used for different types of buildings
- High-maintenance, requires coatings every three to four years
- Expensive, especially in the long run
- Wood siding costs $4.5 to $15 per sq. ft. (without long-term maintenance costs)
2. Engineered Wood Siding
Engineered wood looks just like wood and for the most part, is. It’s made of wood strands combined with resin under high heat and pressure. Wax and anti-fungal coatings are then added to improve durability.
Different manufacturers use different names for it and often add a coating that resembles real wood. The result? A material that looks just like wood but lasts longer and requires less maintenance.
Engineered wood is also remarkably cheaper, both in terms of material and installation costs. They come as boards that are lighter than wood, in different finishes and pre-primed for paint — all of which result in lower labor costs and time.
While they have similar issues as real wood — e.g., moisture and pests — engineered wood is way more resistant to them due to its manufacturing process.
- Lower material and installation costs
- Available in different finishes
- Requires less maintenance, more resistant to pests and moisture
- Fairly new, so longevity is not well known
- The manufacturing process is not environment friendly
- Costs $7 to $11 per sq. ft. on average, including materials and installation
3. Vinyl Siding
Vinyl is one of the most common siding materials used in the U.S. and Canada. It’s made of PVC resin, with other components added for color, opacity, gloss, etc. Vinyl siding is often made to imitate other types of siding and is known for being highly versatile.
Vinyl sidings are available in a variety of styles, thicknesses and finishes. Some manufacturers even add a UV coating that prevents damage due to sunlight. These sidings tend to expand and contract with changing weather conditions and are often loosely nailed to the frame.
Besides traditional vinyl, you can also use insulated vinyl which includes a layer of polystyrene insulation behind it. Due to the added thickness, insulated vinyl is more rigid and solid compared to traditional vinyl and of course, creates more insulation.
- Lasts longer
- Easy to install
- Multiple color options
- Doesn’t need to be painted
- Tends to crack in cold weather
- Installation is tricky
- Vinyl siding costs between $3 and $10 per sq. ft.
4. Brick Siding
Brick is a very good siding material in terms of durability and aesthetics. It gives the appearance of a home constructed using brick when it’s just a brick wall outside the frame of the house. As such, it doesn’t offer any structural support to the house.
Brick siding is on the expensive side but requires less maintenance compared to most other materials. It isn’t affected by pests or moisture (to a large extent), and can even add to the value of your home.
- Very long-lasting
- Improves aesthetics and resale value
- Requires less maintenance
- Environment friendly
- Brick has color limitations
- Difficult to remodel
- Brick siding costs anywhere between $5 and $15 per sq. ft.
5. Metal Siding
Metal is a fairly popular siding choice that creates a modern look for a home. Galvanized stainless steel siding or aluminum siding is quite common and lasts a long time. Aside from the occasional paint job, they require very little maintenance.
But if your house is near the sea and may be exposed to salt water spray, metal may not be an ideal choice. There’s also the risk of scratches or dents, but in case of damages, it’s fairly straightforward to replace the panel.
- Requires very little maintenance
- Energy-efficient; reflects the sun’s rays away from a building
- Susceptible to dents
- Can rust if exposed to moisture
- Prices range between $1 and $35 per sq. ft. (for the most expensive options)
6. Natural Stone Siding
Natural stone siding is highly durable and good-looking. It can greatly increase the resale value of a home. Natural stone gives your home a grand appearance — often associated with mansions and cathedrals. It requires very little maintenance and can last as long as 100 years.
However, it’s costly, difficult to install and quite heavy, so the house needs to be able to bear the weight. On the plus side, it is fire-proof and resistant to most elements with minimal care every couple of years.
- Highly durable
- Improves resale value and curbside appeal
- Very expensive
- Difficult to install
- Natural stone siding can cost anywhere between $30 and $48 per sq. ft.
7. Stone Veneer Siding
One of the main problems with natural stone siding is that it’s too expensive, and because of its weight, it’s difficult to use. Stone veneer offers the aesthetics of natural stone without costing as much. It’s made using cement and plastic along with other compounds to create the color and texture of natural stone.
Stone veneer siding is fairly easy to install, with some manufacturers even going so far as to call their products DIY. It improves curb appeal and gives a grand appearance. It also lasts a long time and is highly durable. But it can get damaged by mold if not properly installed.
- Improves curb appeal
- Durable, resistant to most natural elements
- Moisture can cause problems if not properly installed
- Cheaper than natural stone, but still expensive
- The price of stone veneer can range from $5.50 to $10.75 per sq. ft.
8. Composite Siding
Composite sidings are a class of sidings engineered from a range of materials. Engineered wood and fiber cement are both examples of composite sidings. Available in a wide variety of colors and textures, they are generally more durable than natural materials.
Because of how they are manufactured and the materials involved, composite sidings tend to be resistant to rot, pests or moisture. But of course, this varies by the specific composite.
- Cheap compared to other options
- Highly versatile, available in many textures and colors
- Composites can crack under some conditions
- Some types of composites may be affected by moisture
- Prices start from around $4 to $6.5 per sq. ft.
9. Fiber Cement Siding
Fiber cement siding is made of cement, fly ash and wood fibers mixed with water. The wood fibers give it strength. Like other composite sidings, fiber cement sidings are also available in various colors and textures.
This type of siding has been in use for more than a hundred years, although asbestos fibers were used back then. The fiber cement sidings produced these days don’t contain asbestos.
Fiber cement siding is resistant to rot and requires little maintenance. It’s also flame-, insect-, pest- and moisture-resistant. Some manufacturers even offer warranties of up to 50 years.
- Available in many different textures and colors
- Long-lasting, even up to 50 years
- Resistant to pest, fire and moisture
- Requires little maintenance
- May crack under certain conditions
- Need specialized equipment to install safely
- It costs between $5 and $14 per sq. ft.
10. Hardie Board Siding
Hardie board is a particular type of fiber cement siding invented by James Hardie. It’s one of the top-selling sidings in the U.S. and is available in many different colors and textures.
It’s incredibly durable, capable of withstanding most natural elements and lasts decades. James Hardie Industries offer a 30-year warranty on the board and a 15-year warranty on the color and finish.
- Highly durable and long-lasting
- Requires little maintenance
- Available in many textures and colors
- Improves curb appeal and resale value
- Installation takes time and is costly due to the heavy nature of the boards
- Prices vary by textures, colors, etc. and range from $1 to $6 per sq. ft.
11. Stucco Siding
Stucco is a type of finish that has been used on houses and buildings for centuries. Due to its durability and availability in multiple textures and colors, it’s becoming increasingly popular as a siding material.
Unlike most other sidings which are available as boards or sheets, stucco siding is developed over a house’s frame. A heavy wire mesh is attached to the surface of the house and layers are applied on top of the other. Properly applied, stucco can last a long time and is extremely fire-resistant. However, if not done properly, it can develop cracks.
- Highly durable and long-lasting
- Highly customizable, available in different colors, textures and finishes
- Susceptible to cracking if not applied properly
- Installation requires experienced professionals, so labor costs can be high
- Total cost including materials and installation can range between $6 and $9 per sq. ft.
How to Choose the Right Type of House Siding
The budget will probably be the biggest consideration for most people. But other factors can come into play as well.
For example, if someone wants to install new siding before selling their house, the visual appeal will be an important consideration as it can increase the resale value. But if someone’s buying a new house, they may prefer something that requires low maintenance even if it costs more to install. Of course, the aesthetic appeal will still play a huge role.
With tools like Hyphen HomeSight, prospective homeowners can explore the aesthetic appeal of different siding options before making a decision. Our software allows buyers to customize the designs using simple drag-and-drop features so they can easily visualize what a particular type of siding may look like.
Plus, they can easily compare different options along with their prices to make an informed decision. Contact us today to learn how Hyphen HomeSight can help you provide a sophisticated and convenient home buying experience to your customers.