There's a lot to consider when choosing between siding types. The style of your home and neighborhood will affect not only the color and finish you choose but also the style of the panels. You should also take into consideration the frequency and intensity of maintenance required for the siding product in which you are interested. Other factors that affect your decision will include cost of siding installation and possible repairs and warranty of the product.
Generally installed on older homes and where a more rustic feel is desired, wood siding, whether it be pine, cedar, spruce, or redwood, offers a lot of variety to enhance the look of your home. Wood clapboard consists of beveled wood panels hung horizontally with overlapping joints. Wood plank boards are hung vertically by several means, including board on board, channel and groove, or tongue and groove styles. Wood siding requires a lot of maintenance including painting or staining and caulking. Paint on top of the wood can blister or peel and is prone to chipping from hail and impact from other objects. Repainting or restaining should occur every 5 years or so. The wood itself is also prone to damage from insects and moisture which can lead to warping, rotting, and/or splitting. Properly maintained wood siding can last up to 30 years.
The cost of installing wood siding is typically higher than other materials. The cost of the lumber itself depends on the region in which one is located and can vary from year to year depending on availability.
Wood siding installation will run the most of all the siding options. Pricing varies depending on the house type and difficulty.
A popular choice for its minimal maintenance and high durability, aluminum siding can also be installed horizontally or vertically. It comes as strips with holes at the top that fasten to flanges that are attached to the top and bottom of the wall. The strips interlock to create a seal against moisture. While aluminum siding is impervious to moisture unlike wood, it can be noisy when impacted with hail and is prone to denting.
Aluminum siding is available in many pre-painted colors. However, some of these pre-painted finishes have been known to fade or flake off, which can then cause discoloration to brick portions on the side of the house. Newer aluminum siding products are finished with a vinyl coating which helps prevent these paint transfer problems. These products tend be more expensive than non-vinyl coated aluminum siding but usually have longer warranties, up to 35 years in some cases.
Aluminum siding installation is a great middle of the road pricing option. Keep in mind, if existing siding must be removed and disposed of, this will add to the cost of your installation.
Vinyl siding is installed the same way as aluminum, as strips attached to flanges at the top and bottom, and is also available in a variety of colors. Proper vinyl siding installation is important since improperly installed panels are prone to warping and buckling. Also, vinyl siding has been known to crack in cold weather upon impact, but cracked panels are easily replaced. Otherwise, vinyl siding is low maintenance. It experiences none of the painted finish issues that aluminum does since the color is solid all the way through the material itself. This also means that no painting is required and scratches are usually not noticeable.
Typically, vinyl siding costs will be the most economical. Trim, molding, and soffit pieces should all be included in any quote you receive.
Fiber Cement Siding
One of the most popular new siding options on the market today is fiber cement siding. Made from cement mixed with sand and ground cellulose fibers, it is more durable than wood, aluminum, and vinyl. Fire resistant and virtually maintenance free, it is pre-finished and rot and insect resistant. Typically made to look like wood clapboard, it cuts and is installed just like wood. Fiber cement siding can also come in panels that mimic stucco or in shakes or shingles to look like cedar siding.
More expensive than vinyl, and aluminum but not as expensive as wood. The higher quality the material, the more you will pay. Warranties of some of these products last up to 50 years.