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Home Siding Tips: Materials, Maintenance, and More

Siding your home is not only an investment in your property but at times might be necessary depending on the age of your home. Given what can be considered a costly project, knowing and having the right materials and contractors is key to handling this type of project.

Contractor with a hard hat inspecting the siding of a home.

Types, Costs, and Aesthetics

Some siding is more resistant to wear-and-tear:

  • Vinyl is known to be inexpensive and durable, but it can melt or crack. It's not recommended in areas that experience high heat.
  • Plastic is more durable than vinyl, which can make it more resistant over time. It's also up to three times more expensive than vinyl.
  • Composites often provide affordable protection from insects and fires alike, but they can warp over time in high-precipitation climates.
  • Wood is considered to be highly resistant to impact, but less so to water, insects, and wildlife (e.g., woodpeckers). Real wood is also comparatively expensive, though shingles and clapboards are more affordable alternatives.

If you're on a budget, keep in mind that materials like batten are going to cost more, and the same goes for details like scalloped edges along the siding. Homeowners are often tempted to put a new siding layer over the old layer, but this isn't recommended.

If you have any damaged siding, covering it up won't repair the damage ━ it can just make it more difficult to access if it needs to be repaired down the line. Plus, the extrusion of the exterior layer could make your windows and doors look inset, which can compromise the curb appeal of the home.

Why Installation Matters

Installation has a lot to do with how your siding looks and functions over time. If it's improperly installed, moisture will buckle the siding. In the worst-case scenario, the moisture will breed mold in the interior of the house and compromise its structural integrity over time. Properly installed siding doesn't mean that no moisture will get behind the boards; it just means anything that does get back there should drain.

Ask for All-Inclusive Estimates

Materials, labor, installation, disposal: Being diligent about reading reviews will help alleviate some of these concerns (as most customers complain about these kinds of practices), but to be on the safe side, you'll want to make side-by-side comparisons with all of the facts in hand. If you need help with financing, you don't have to go through the contractor. Your bank or credit union might offer far better loan terms.

Know Your Limits

You should be aware of how much maintenance and repair work you're liable to go through over time. There is no wrong answer here, only what's right for you. For instance, some homeowners love the look and feel of real wood siding, so they're willing to put in the time and money to maintain it. As long as the maintenance schedule and level of repairs are reasonable for your budget and lifestyle, you should have no problems keeping up your home's appearance.

Family in the kitchen.

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