Homeowners interested in renovating their home's exterior have a myriad of siding choices from which to choose. The home siding options available include metal, vinyl, wood, fiber cement and composite siding. The benefits and drawbacks of each home siding relate to durability, weather resistance and long-term return on investment.
The most economical siding material may actually prove costly over the lifespan of the product. Environmental factors play a major role, but the properties of the material are the deciding factor when comparing the pros and cons of each siding. Surely, the newest products on the market attempt to compensate for any problems that arise over time. At the end of the day, balancing initial cost versus maintenance cost is arguably the biggest deciding factor when selecting new home siding.
In the mid-20th century, homebuilders considered metal siding a blessing to the construction industry. The material was cheap to produce as well as easy to manipulate. Galvanized steel showed particular promise in the commercial construction sector.
Over the decades, homebuilders began to use metal as a siding material with mixed results. Metal siding for residential units allowed for the mass production of homes on a scale never witnessed before. Building large master-planned suburban neighborhoods would not have been feasible without the invention of metal siding.
Today, metal siding is an out-of-date building material. The cons of metal siding outweigh the pros.
First of all, metal siding is the least durable of the materials listed above. The harsh winter climate of New England punishes siding material with moisture damage. Hail damage is an issue as well. Metal siding, no matter how allegedly durable, dents and bends over time.
Moisture resistance is a major issue with metal siding. The protective coating on metal siding degrades over time after years of environmental stress, which leads to rusting on the exposed edges and seams of the material. The long-term return on investment of metal siding simply does not exist in reality.
Vinyl siding is a better material than metal siding when comparing longevity, weather resistance and return on investment. Similar to metal siding, vinyl siding is cheap to produce and easy to install. In fact, several decades ago vinyl siding was the preferred choice of siding. Homebuilders still consider vinyl siding the most economical siding option.
The material's PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic composition contracts and expands at a faster rate than other siding materials, unfortunately. This property is the biggest drawback of vinyl siding. For homeowners in the New England region, the extreme temperature swings of the annual freeze-and-thaw cycle subject vinyl siding to rapid expansion and contraction.
As vinyl siding expands and contracts, the material can warp and distort, creating unsightly buckling along the seams of the siding. The color of the material may fade and become chalk-like after many years of weather abuse. This environmental stress may cause moisture to seep underneath the siding.
In the worst-case scenario, this moisture leaking can prove very expensive to repair. The exterior walls of a home are rather sensitive, so even the smallest amount of moisture can be devastating.
The long-term investment return on vinyl siding ranks among the lowest of the siding materials listed previously. If maintained properly, vinyl siding can last several decades, but this longevity depends upon the amount of environmental punishment the siding endures over time.
Wood siding is the latest fad in the home construction industry. The new, green" appeal of wood sidings such as cedar clapboard and shingles has created a bustling market for wood sidings across the United States. The New England region is no different.
One of the main caveats of choosing wood siding is cost. Finding a competent, skilled contractor is the next issue to consider thoroughly since contractors have differing levels of proficiency installing wood siding. The newest wood siding products can cost several times more to install than vinyl siding, which is the cheapest siding option of all.
Wood siding has to be maintained regularly, if not annually. In order to maintain its rustic, all-natural appearance, the material must be treated repeatedly over the lifespan of the material. If homeowners neglect proper maintenance procedures, wood siding may begin to rot and collect mildew when exposed to moisture over time.
Pest control is yet another drawback of wood siding to keep in mind. Rotted wood is the perfect breeding ground for wood-boring insects. In addition to repairing damaged wood siding, homeowners may have to spend even more money fighting off a termite infestation.
Other than the high cost of annual maintenance, the investment return of wood siding is a good bet, relatively speaking. Premium sidings have the highest return, but wood siding gives a home a particularly attractive aesthetic when re-selling the property.
Fiber Cement Siding
Fiber cement siding, comprised primarily of Portland cement, is one of the most durable siding products homeowners can purchase. The composition and fabrication process of fiber cement siding allows the material to resist moisture far better than wood siding, which is very absorbent as a matter of fact.
Fiber cement siding does, however, contain a small amount of wood fiber. Wood siding is full of pores that aid in moisture absorption when the tree is alive. Fiber cement siding may absorb water causing delamination and peeling.
Everlast Composite Siding
Many agree that Everlast siding has the strongest durability, best weather resistance and the highest return on investment of all the siding products discussed above. The material's composition is rather unique in the home construction industry. In fact, the material has been engineered in such a way as to appeal to homeowners searching for a long-term home siding solution.
Comprised of inorganic materials such as stone and polymeric resin, Everlast composite siding does not absorb water. Unlike fiber cement siding, Everlast siding contains no wood fibers at all, creating a product that is even more weather-resistant than cement siding.
Everlast siding does not require painting in the same fashion as fiber cement siding. Composite siding is even safer to install since fiber cement siding is toxic when being cut, so a novice contractor could very easily install fiber cement improperly.
The long-term investment return of Everlast is no comparison to the other siding materials on the market, even durable fiber cement. Fiber cement is surely a quality product, but Everlast siding trumps fiber cement in every facet. Once installed, Everlast siding can last for many decades with little maintenance required. The lower maintenance costs offsets the initial installation cost over time with Everlast siding.
Each siding material has its benefits and drawbacks. The newest products on the market such as Everlast represent the next level of home construction technology, so the cost of the best product on the market is worth the investment.