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What Type of Siding Should I Choose for My Home?

In a world where every consumer choice has multiplied in recent years, people are often overwhelmed by the sheer number of options out there. This is true in so many areas, whether you’re shopping for electronic devices, appliances, or important renovations to our homes.

What about siding? Surely this decision is even more important than many other purchasing decisions a homeowner will make. Siding, much like roofing, is the home’s first defense against the elements. It’s one of the most important structural components of your home. The aesthetic importance of siding is also difficult to overstate. Few things can have such a dramatic visual effect on the home as new siding — or on the negative side of things, siding that’s in serious need of an upgrade.

The way siding is manufactured now makes it incredibly durable. For example, companies who manufacture vinyl siding routinely offer warranties that span decades, with many now offering lifetime warranties that can be transferred to new owners. What are the different types of siding to consider, and how can homeowners make sense of their options?

1. Vinyl

Vinyl is such a popular choice in the home renovation market today because it combines a huge array of styles and colors with superior durability, low maintenance, and friendly price points.

2. Natural wood

Natural wood siding is among the most attractive and “classic” choices. It provides an elegant exterior appearance and can last a very long time — but maintenance requirements (including regular application of sealants and/or stains) are much higher than vinyl or certain other materials.

3. Fiber cement

This type of siding is getting a lot of buzz lately, and for good reason. Because it’s a mixture of clay, sand, cement and wood pulp, it can mimic many other types of siding, including stucco and brick. It also provides excellent protection against the elements and a long lifespan. The downside is that the material is heavy and costs more to install.

4. Engineered wood

A strong blend of resins and fibers from natural wood, this type of siding is very good in extreme weather and comes in a diverse array of styles. You can get engineered wood that’s ready to install with a factory finish, or you can get material that needs to be primed and/or painted. The downside? Engineered wood hasn’t proven itself in terms of longevity and lifespan, and problems with early offerings on the market have resulted in lawsuits against manufacturers.

5. Synthetic stone

Cement, aggregate, and sand are combined to form synthetic stone siding, and the finished product mimics natural stone very convincingly. There are many possible styles as well, and it generally offers good protection and structural integrity. On the other hand, it’s still among your most expensive siding options, and many people feel that the visual results aren’t close enough to natural stone.

6. Stucco

This is a classic and highly durable option that provides a distinct look and feel. Stucco mixtures have also evolved. Modern stucco mixtures are typically created to prevent common problems in the past, such as cracks and chips. This kind of installation is highly specialized, however — you’ll need to find a contractor with plenty of hands-on experience with stucco before you can confidently invest.

How to make sense of your options

Making heads or tails of siding isn’t always easy. It’s a decision you’ll have to live with for a long time, and depending on the choice you make, you could end up with very different maintenance requirements. A reputable roofing and siding specialist is probably your best bet for dependable advice about what the best choice might be for your needs, tastes, and seasonal weather conditions. Make sure you find a contractor with years of quality experience in the industry and plenty of solid reviews from past customers. This is a decision that will have far-reaching effects on your property, so take your time and choose wisely!