A Comparison of Siding Materials
There are many types of siding materials out there (vinyl, metal, wood, stucco, among many others). They’re all good materials, but they all carry advantages and disadvantages depending on where you live and what your needs are. In order to determine which material is the best for your home, you need to consider three factors: performance, cost, and maintenance.
The performance of siding materials breaks down into efficiency, durability, and damage resistance.
Efficiency: For efficiency, stucco siding is your best, particularly in warmer climates, as it’s known to keep cool air circulating in the house, even while that hot sun keeps beating down. It’s thick enough in that it prevents heat from seeping in during the summer and cold from entering in the winter months.
Metal siding comes in second, as it provides strong protection against cold weather, while vinyl siding comes in varieties with extra insulation. Wood comes in fourth, as it is not known for its protection against heat.
Durability: Metal and vinyl siding are tied in the durability department. In addition, if painted, they can be protected even further, helping them last for decades. Wood and stucco aren’t as durable against the elements, and will have to be replaced every few years.
Damage Resistance: Vinyl and aluminum siding rate pretty high on the damage resistance scale. Vinyl doesn’t need repainting very often, because it’s usually one solid color throughout the plank. If you live by the ocean, aluminum is resistant to the salty air, which can cause corrosion in most other types of siding. Metal’s up there as well because nothing can break it.
Wood and stucco rate lower on the scale. As wood dries to over time, it begins to split, thereby become a welcoming environment for insects, rot, and water damage. Stucco is also extremely popular among woodpeckers, and easily soaks up stains and other chemicals.
Siding Materials: Vinyl siding is the cheapest because it has so many different styles and models. They can often be priced as low as $4 per square foot. Metal is the next up, then wood, and then stucco. Cedar siding, while rare, is known for its natural beauty, and it averages at $8 per square foot.
Installation: Metal siding is the cheapest to install, as it only requires a hammer and tin sips. So the tools and process are very simple. Vinyl installation is the next one up, but it requires a few more tools to install properly. Wood is a little more difficult, as it can be difficult to align correctly. Stucco is the most difficult, as it requires a few layers of materials to do properly, and a lot of experience. Some siding contractors avoid stucco altogether.
Vinyl siding requires the least maintenance of all, followed by metal, which can dent easily during hailstorms or if the neighbor’s kid hits a baseball in the wrong direction. Other than those repairs, there’s usually nothing to worry about. Stucco requires the most maintenance because of its susceptibility to the elements. Wood is up there too, as it has a tendency to split. Overall though, you have to decide what type of siding is right for your home. A contractor can help you with this decision.