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How to Choose the Perfect Siding for Your Home

When the time comes to re-side your home, here’s how to select the home siding that best meets your needs.

Owning a home comes with all sorts of responsibility, including keeping its exterior in good condition. You’ll spend a significant amount of time every year on yard work and other maintenance, with major jobs coming up every so often, as well. One of the biggest and most valuable jobs comes when it’s time to replace your home’s siding. 

New home siding is an investment that should last 20 to 40 years or more. As your old siding reaches the end of its lifecycle, you have some critical decisions to make about how you want your home to look, what you wish to spend, how much work you want to put in and how long you want your siding to last.

Here are the most important points to consider when selecting the right siding for your home and your future.

Top considerations when selecting siding

Before choosing a specific type of siding, you’ll have to figure out what you’re looking for in the product

For starters, you’ll want to consider the curb appeal of your siding options, because this decision will significantly change your home’s appearance. Much of that curb appeal comes down to the color you select, although the material you go with will also affect how it looks. 

Keep in mind that curb appeal is about more than how the home looks to you personally, as you must also consider how the house will look to prospective buyers. You’ll likely have the siding on your home for at least 20 years, and if you plan to sell within that timeframe, new siding can help the process.

The next aspect of new siding to consider is its durability. Going with a highly durable product that can last for decades to come will save you money, stress and maintenance in the future. You’ll need a material that will withstand rain, wind and sun exposure, particularly if you live in a climate where those environmental factors are bigger issues.

Your new siding’s energy-efficiency is worth looking at because it will save money in the years to come. Modern siding can reduce heat transfer between your home’s interior and exterior, lowering heating bills in the winter. Your home’s energy-efficiency comes down to its R-value, and choosing a product with a high R-value is ideal if you plan to stay In the home for a while because you’ll get the investment back in future energy savings.

Think about how much maintenance each type of siding will require before making your choice. Wood siding, for example, requires a lot of care because you’ll have to paint it every few years. Wood siding is also prone to rot and insect damage. 

Vinyl, PVC and HardiePlank siding don’t have these same issues, so they’ll significantly cut down on your maintenance time and expenses over your time in the home.

Maintenance expenses go hand-in-hand with the upfront cost of the siding you select. Of course, the actual costs will depend on your home’s size and how challenging the installation is, but choosing a material like vinyl can save you some money.

HardiePlank: An eco-friendly choice

One drawback associated with vinyl siding is that it’s constructed from toxic material. While this isn’t an issue when it’s on your home, it could make disposing of it more challenging at the end of its life cycle. There are also environmental concerns linked to the manufacturing of vinyl.

However, there is an eco-friendly alternative to vinyl in the form of James Hardie siding, also known as HardiePlank

HardiePlank is a fiber cement siding constructed from sand, cement and wood pulp. This make-up means the product is mostly natural, making environmental concerns less of an issue. 

For curb appeal, HardiePlank is near or at the top of the list. It mimics the look of wood and gives your home an immaculate appearance. In fact, installing HardiePlank can make an older home look decades younger, which could help if you’re trying to sell your home in the future. 

Durability is never a concern with HardiePlank because it resists environmental factors like rain, high winds, heat, cold and humidity. It won’t rot or succumb to insect-related deterioration, and it can even withstand significant strikes from hail and flying debris. You’ll also like HardiePlank’s fire-resistant properties, which could prevent substantial damage if this kind of mishap occurs. 

One issue you could experience with HardiePlank is its energy efficiency or lack thereof. Since cement is one of the main ingredients in a piece of James Hardie siding, the material tends to lose some heat in the winter, especially compared to insulated vinyl. At the same time, HardiePlank is five-times thicker than traditional vinyl, so it does a better job of protecting your home than this thinner material. 

Overall, HardiePlank is low-maintenance, withstands all kinds of abuse and comes ready to install in your preferred color. Much like vinyl, you might have to rinse your siding down occasionally, and there’s also the chance that you’ll have to repaint your HardiePlank every 15 years or so. The maintenance on this product remains minor, but you should know that it’s slightly more labor-intensive than vinyl. 

The cost of HardiePlank is sometimes an issue because it’s more expensive than vinyl and is more challenging to install. As a result, your installation costs could be higher if it takes your contractor longer to complete the job. Specialized cutting tools may be required, as well. Ideally, you should install HardiePlank with a company that knows the siding well and has the tools to do it right. 

In the end, HardiePlank is a popular material that’s becoming more common, but we could see other options increase in usage in coming years.

Cellular PVC: The siding of the future

One material that’s quickly increasing in popularity is cellular PVC siding, which has only been around as a siding for about a decade. 

The benefits of PVC siding are numerous. It looks just like natural wood siding, but without the issues that go along with it. As a result, PVC has great curb appeal and will make your home look as good as new from the second it’s installed. The panels are interlocking, as well, creating a seamless finish that other materials can’t replicate.

As far as durability goes, cellular PVC can withstand all weather types, including extreme cold and heat, and is also combustion-proof. There are no worries regarding insect damage or rot, mainly because it doesn’t absorb moisture. 

PVC siding is highly energy-efficient, and its R-value is twice as high as wood and HardiePlank. These properties mean you’ll save money every month on your energy bills. The material also decreases heat absorption from the sun in the summer, so your cooling bills could decline, as well. 

PVC siding requires very little maintenance and doesn’t need any caulking or painting. You can expect your siding to remain in good shape for about 25 years before it needs any work. All you’ll need to do is wash it occasionally to remove any dirt.

One potential issue with cellular PVC is the cost. This material has a higher sticker price than vinyl, so it will likely run you more to re-side your entire house. However, the material doesn’t require any special tools to install and will save you money in the long-run, making the upfront charges easier to stomach. Between lower installation costs and energy bills, the total costs may not be higher than other options.

There’s a good chance that cellular PVC is the future of this industry, and it’s available right now if you want to go in that direction.

Vinyl Siding: The siding of the past

Contractors started using vinyl siding in the 1950s, and it has remained popular ever since because of its durability, versatility and cost-efficiency. 

However, the energy efficiency of your vinyl siding will depend on the exact option you choose. Since vinyl is a thin material, it doesn’t provide much insulation on its own, but insulated vinyl is available if you’re serious about energy savings. 

Another drawback is that vinyl can melt when used in conjunction with energy-efficient windows. These windows reflect sunlight in the summer to keep your home cool, but that heat energy can also ruin your vinyl siding. 

Vinyl siding was popular for decades because it was relatively long-lasting, low-maintenance, and inexpensive. It also has pretty good curb appeal since it retains its color and comes in over 300 shades. Yet, with so many high-end options on the market, it’s becoming apparent that vinyl siding’s time as a leading option is beginning to pass, particularly on energy-efficient homes. If you’re putting in the investment for new siding today, the other options we’ve discusses will likely bring a better return for that investment. 

How Blue Nail can help

Selecting the perfect siding to meet your needs can be a challenge, and you’ll want to consider all of the information before making your decision. 
The experts at Blue Nail Roofing can assist you through this process by providing a deeper understanding of each siding’s pros and cons. We’ll make sure you choose the right material to match your budget and other needs. Contact us today to get started with your complimentary siding consultation.

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