Its siding doesn’t just protect your home against moisture and pests. It also promotes greater energy efficiency – and it’s crucial to maintaining (or even improving) your most valuable possession’s value.
If you’re thinking about replacing your home’s siding, then you have likely narrowed the candidates down to the three most popular options: vinyl, metal and wood. What are the relative advantages and disadvantages to choosing one of these types of siding over the others? Let’s take a look at the major pros and cons of different siding materials!
+ Low maintenance – Have you ever painted a house, and are in no rush to repeat the exercise? Then you’ll be relieved to know that vinyl siding never requires painting. Unlike the majority of siding materials, the exterior of vinyl siding isn’t coated with a color layer. Vinyl’s color is completely homogeneous. Although vinyl siding can fade if it is bombarded by ultraviolet light over a long period of time, abrasion cannot affect its coloration in any noticeable way. Furthermore, cleaning vinyl siding requires nothing more than a hose and a brush.
+ Affordable – Next to aluminum, vinyl is the lowest-cost solution for siding. And thanks to its light weight and manageable precut sections, your siding contractor will charge you relatively less for vinyl siding installation.
+ Energy efficient – Airtight vinyl siding excels at retaining warmth and coolth. Insulated vinyl siding is especially effective at maintaining a home’s desired temperature.
– Difficult to paint – We mentioned just now that vinyl siding does not need painting, but you’re probably better off treating it as unpaintable. Vinyl painting requires special materials and techniques. Even when it is done correctly, the paint will appear wrinkled and ugly when the underlying vinyl contracts in cold temperatures.
– Fragile – Vinyl siding is fairly rugged, and has a suppleness that enables it to withstand physical impact unharmed. But once the weather has done its worst to vinyl over the course of a couple of decades, the material tends to become brittle. Even light hail and smaller tree branches are capable of cracking an older vinyl panel, and strong wind can strip an entire section of wall bare. Fortunately, replacing a single broken panel is cheap and easy.
+ Low maintenance – Metal siding cannot rot, absorb moisture, or nourish mold and mildew. It also cannot be eaten by insects. And although no type of siding is completely invulnerable to insects, pests like carpenter ants and carpenter bees cannot burrow through metal.
+ Fire resistant – The melting point of aluminum is 1,220 °F; steel doesn’t melt at temperatures lower than 2,200 °F. House fires seldom reach temperatures higher than 1,100 °F, which means metal siding is normally left intact even after a house burns down. Better yet, the chemical properties of solid metal mean that it is essentially noncombustible!
+ Durable – Metal siding can withstand strong wind, heavy hail, and high-velocity impact with toys and other airborne objects without becoming any worse for wear.
+ Energy efficient – Because it reflects heat so effectively, metal siding makes an air conditioner’s job significantly easier during the summertime. The flip side of this advantage is metal siding’s lesser ability to absorb solar energy during the winter, which is why adequate insulation is an absolute must in colder climates.
+ Attractive – Metal siding is available in any color and style you could name. Many metal siding products mimic natural materials so convincingly that you couldn’t tell them apart without close inspection. And because metal siding can be cut to the exact length of an exterior wall, it can do away with unsightly seams altogether.
– Expensive – Although many types of metal siding are affordably priced, higher-quality products typically cost more. Furthermore, because metal siding is heavier and more challenging to cut to size, its installation usually costs more than that of vinyl.
– Malleable – Metal siding is resistant to denting, yet it is not invulnerable to it. A fallen tree branch, misguided vehicle or carelessly thrown football can leave an impression that is difficult to mend without professional assistance.
+ Beautiful – Perhaps a futuristic type of vinyl or metal that flawlessly imitates the appearance of wood will one day hit the market, but until then only the real deal will give you wood’s natural charm. Pine, spruce, cedar and fir all give their own distinctive qualities to a home. Limitless style, stain and paint options give you even greater control over your exterior’s appearance.
+ Durable – Wood siding can easily last for several decades. But there is a big caveat to that promise of longevity: Wood siding must be refinished every five years or so, or else it will quickly fall victim to rot, mildew and insects.
– Expensive – Some types of wood are more affordable than others, but for the most part they are all more expensive than vinyl and metal alternatives. That said, wood siding’s higher price tag is offset by its tendency to increase a home’s market value.
– High maintenance – Wood siding doesn’t just require regular staining. If a single piece of wood siding becomes rotted or cracked, it must be immediately replaced in order to prevent moisture infiltration. Wood siding is also more difficult to clean, as it can be damaged by pressure washing.
– Flammable – This may not come as a big revelation, but wood is flammable. That’s why wood siding may actually increase your homeowners insurance premium. Certain wood siding products with Class A fire ratings are available – but as you might expect, they tend to cost more.
If you would like expertly installed vinyl or metal siding for your home or commercial property in the greater St Cloud, Little Falls, Alexandria or Brainerd, MN areas, then we welcome you to contact Exterior Pro today to request your free estimate. We’ll make sure your building is attractive and well-protected all year long!