The Siding on Your House

From vinyl to aluminum to wood, the siding on your house is what defines it from the street more than anything else. You can choose stucco, brick or river stone to add a rustic style. There are lots of choices, all of them are great.

The most important part of deciding on what types of siding to put on your home is:

  • Thinking about what types you can do yourself
  • Which type will last longest
  • Which type is most environmentally friendly
  • Which one needs to be painted
  • Which one can be dented or damaged by weather and wear
  • Which type fades
  • Which might reveal the unlevel features of your walls

This short article will help you to make some wise choices and understand many of types of siding that are available. We will review the major types of siding, their advantages and disadvantages. We will also look at how to find a good siding contractor and a few hints on how to stay out of trouble.

Different Types of Siding

There are many different types of siding, but here is a short list of the most popular and interesting that are readily available in our area.

  • Vinyl – This type siding is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It is very durable, but tends to look dusty over time. It never needs to be painted, since the color is throughout the plastic. One of the least likeable options is that it is not recyclable and can’t be used for anything else. That means that your siding will be in the world for thousands of years, even after your house has disappeared. While most people will hire a contractor to put vinyl siding on their home, it can be done by yourself. You can buy this siding in many big box stores in 10 foot lengths. It’s relatively easy to work with.
  • Aluminum – One of the most popular types of siding, aluminum is a great option on almost any home. If can be had in nearly any color and can be painted as well. Its biggest drawback is that it will eventually need to be painted and it dents fairly easily. It, unlike PVC, is 100% recyclable, which makes it an environmentally responsible option. Aluminum siding isn’t really a DIY project. It requires some fairly specialized equipment to cut it well.
  • Wood – Of course among the oldest siding materials, wood is a great option. It can be found in long slats that lay on each other horizontally. It can also be put on vertically, with small wooden breaks. When it is put on vertically, the expanse is relatively smooth so it can show if your walls have a bow in them. You can also get wood in shakes just like roofing. Wood needs to be painted to protect it. This can be a bit of a pain, but it also gives you the option to change colors every few years. Wood is pretty easy to do for yourself with some basic tools. It’s worth taking the time to learn the hints and tricks, but you can do this.

  • Stucco – That lovely textured concrete look is one of the most durable types of siding available. Of course, it is concrete. Stucco is applied by putting a type of metal mesh on the wall. The concrete mixture, specially designed for siding, is then applied to the wall. The cement clings to the metal mesh and stays up for years. Stucco can be dyed a specific color so that you might never need to paint is. Stucco isn’t a job that most people can do for themselves. The big advantages to stucco are that it is very fire resistant, prefect for areas that frequently get wildfires, and it can last for up to 50 years. The biggest drawback is that when pieces of stucco let go, it can be pretty unsightly. It literally look like your walls is breaking off.
  • Brick – It isn’t necessary to rebuild a wall out of brink to get the durable protection of brick. Similar to stucco, a metal mesh can be nailed to a wall. Mortar is then applied to the mesh and thin brick are mortared onto the wall. This type of siding is ideal for a side of the house that gets most of the weather. For example, if most of your wind and rain comes from the south, you can put a brick facing on just the south side of the house and save your wooden or vinyl siding from taking a beating. This is again not really a DIY job. The only downside is that when a brick lets go, you have a hole in your wall, but it is relatively easy to fix. Of course, brick is fire resistant so it’s another great choice for a home that is in fire prone area.  There is a variation of this same idea that uses river rock and can give you a very rustic style.
  • Fiber cement – This siding is made from a cement that is mixed with a fibrous material that holds it together. This is a great choice for homes that get a lot of weather or might be exposed to fiber. The siding can be had as slats that are long and horizontal or can be had in shingles that are nailed onto the house. This types of siding will need to be painted and can be heavy if you choose a thinker style, but it is extremely durable not too expensive. One of the advantages is that fiber cement siding will last a very long time as long as you take good care of it.

Finding a Siding Contractor

Siding, like roofing, has a disproportionate number of nefarious characters who will literally knock on your door and make you an offer you can’t refuse. The problem is that they will often take your money and never do a thing.

They are some rules that apply to all contractors, but they are especially important when dealing with siding contractors. For the record, most siding contractors are good, hard-working folks who will make your home look great. Each of them should and will embrace these ideas, knowing that you are taking care of your family home.

Ask for a written offer – You should get at least three bids on your siding job. Each contractor should be willing to give you a complete bid that includes all of the costs, the projected time everything will take and detailed explanation of what to expect.

Narrowing it down - Once you have you have the bids, you can begin to figure out which of the contractors you want to work with. Start with looking at online reviews to see who has the best reviews. Remember, it’s only the least and most happy people who write online reviews.

The paperwork – You should ask for the contractor’s license number, liability insurance policy number, and their workers’ compensation policy info. Verify that everything is in order. If they don’t have these things, you can’t work with them. Not having this stuff can expose the homeowner to liability and lawsuits, not to mention just getting ripped off.

Helpful Articles

Here are some Quality Smith articles that can help you to decide what to do and how to handle some of these types of siding. Knowing what might be instore in the future might help you decide what type of siding you want.

Cleaning many types of siding is part of life. There are several articles that can teach you how to clean your siding:

5 Steps to Clean Your Vinyl Siding like a Pro

5 Steps to Cleaning your Wood Siding without any Help

How to Clean Your Aluminum Siding Yourself

Quality Smith also has a large number of articles that can help you understand what’s entailed in putting on your own siding.

How to install composite siding on your house will take you how this siding needs to be put on. It can be easy as a DIY project and last a long time.

How to install stucco siding on your house will walk you through how this types of siding is put on your house. It is a difficult project, but it can be done if you’re ready to learn some new ideas.

Pro Tip

Don’t be stingy with your siding. The siding on your house literally keeps out the elements. You can lose a lot of heat and feel a breeze in your house if you don’t put on good siding. There aren’t many things in your house that, like siding and your roof, must be in great shape and reliable. Everything else in your house is relying on these two items being in good shape.

The type of siding you choose will depend on your local weather, the style of your home and your personal preferences. Enjoy your siding and home; siding is the easiest way to tell the world what you love most about your house.