Whether you are building a new home, or are replacing your exterior home covering, you might be wondering about the differences between vinyl, fiber cement siding, engineered wood and real cedar.
In this post, you’ll find the pros and cons for each of the siding applications and products. We hope to give you all of the information you might need while researching your siding options. As always, contact us to request a free quote.
The most common choice: vinyl siding
Vinyl is a very popular choice for exterior siding because of its durability and longevity. Especially in the harsh northern climate, the swing in temperatures can be a boon for exterior home coverings. Enter vinyl onto the scene. It’s able to withstand the realities of frigid winters and hot and humid summers, while keeping its color and its look. Among the top vinyl siding manufacturers, we choose Napco, CertainTeed, Exterior Portfolio and Mastic.
Vinyl is also one of the most cost-effective siding options. Each manufacturer has an extensive number of colors, and the versatile product is able to be made into a variety of finishes and options. There are different grades of vinyl; at HVE, we use either the “better” or “best” grades (not just settle for the “good”).
What about fiber cement siding?
If you are looking for an extremely durable product with unmatched beauty, then you might be considering fiber cement siding. We usually recommend the James Hardie brand. Because it’s 5 times thicker than vinyl, it allows for deeper grooves, making the wood-grain effect more visible. It’s an elegant look, especially for a historic home that’s being restored.
You are going up in the price point to jump to fiber cement over vinyl. Fiber cement siding is still less expensive than wood/cedar, but it offers the benefits of being 100% resistant to insect infestation, and holds up much better against moisture or mold, and freezing temperatures.
Why should I choose engineered wood siding?
If you really want that real wood look, but would like some help against moisture, insects and harsh weather, consider looking at an engineered wood product like LP SmartSide. LP SmartSide treats the wood with binders, waxes and zinc borate and then tops it with a water-resistant resin overlay. This process helps keep out moisture for long-term durability and strength against harsh weather.
The downside of this product is that it is still wood, so it will need to be painted. You can buy the product pre-primed, which will save time. But always make sure to use an installer who has previous experience, as the installation is crucial to ensuring the product doesn’t have moisture-related problems.
When you love the look of real cedar siding
More than any other material, many homeowners are drawn to the natural beauty of cedar siding, and the patina that comes as the wood ages and changes. Real wood or cedar is also the most expensive of the siding options. To save some effort, you can purchase pre-primed boards.
The biggest negative about wood siding is that it requires diligent effort to maintain its appearance. You’ll want to make sure to ask about rot resistance, splitting, checking or cupping.
Bob Vila’s website recommends that, “Proper maintenance includes power washing and staining and sealing whenever the heat of the sun fades the finish, or when moisture starts to turn to mold or mildew.”
For more information contact Rick Hall at HVE, Inc.