It is not easy to determine what siding products today can be considered the top five on the market. Different homes require different sidings. Different people also have different criteria about what fits their taste. There are, however, some common factors that everyone considers when choosing what fits one’s needs best.
One of the most important criteria is durability. Siding, when placed in the exterior of a house or building, is susceptible to whatever weather conditions are prevalent in the area. Also, depending on the type of siding, it may deteriorate in various ways. For example, the siding may fade, crack, rot, dent, peel, and so on. This will detract from the building’s or home’s attractiveness.
Maintenance is another concern related to durability. There are sidings that require very little maintenance, while others need to be repaired and damaged parts replaced every couple of years. High maintenance products are generally better aesthetically than their more durable counterparts. Today, however, there are siding products that are both pleasing to the eye and requiring little or no repair.
The price tag also has an impact on how good a person perceives a siding product. Included in this is installation cost and maintenance cost. However, something cheap is not really what people are after but something reasonably priced. Many designers state that the beauty of exterior siding is enhanced by using the right trim, mould, or soffit. Incorporating this into the overall design will raise the installation cost. This aspect is largely dependent on the design of the house and one’s budget, of course.
The environmental soundness of a siding product is another very important criterion. There have been siding products in the past that have caused people health problems. One such siding is the type that incorporates asbestos. This siding is hazardous to both install and remove. Most siding installation contractors attach new siding on top of it in order to protect themselves from its harmful effects.
The Top Five Products
One of the best siding products today is the fiber cement siding. This type of siding has variants available that look very similar to wood. Unlike wood sidings, fiber cement siding is highly resistant to fire and the weather, is more durable, requires little maintenance, and is less prone to attract insects. This siding is in fact one of the most durable in the market today. Its manufacturers usually provide warranties that range, in duration, from at least quarter of a century to double-lifetime. This testifies to the makers’ faith in their products. Care should be exercised in order to avoid those that have asbestos in their makeup. The price per square foot is also very reasonable—about $7 to $11.
Even better than fiber cement are the more recently developed premium synthetic composites. These sidings are blends of polymeric resins and rigid materials such as granular stones. Some even have color preserving coats. When compared to vinyl sidings, these newer sidings are three times stronger. Their thickness and resilience make them highly resistant to various weather conditions. Thus, the warranty coverage for these products ranges from 50 years to multiple-lifetime. The properties of these composites make them excellent sound dampeners that can significantly reduce noise from the outside. Because these are synthetic, manufacturers have developed a wide range of styles and colors. These sidings, like fiber cement, are difficult to install. They cost slightly less at $6 to $10 a square foot.
Another very durable and very beautiful siding choice is stucco. The natural variety of this siding has the ability to breathe. This means that it can let out moisture from the inside. The synthetic type does not have this quality, so a drainage plane, or a barrier for vapor, is an important design aspect. The available varieties of this siding fit a wide range of house designs, from contemporary to modern to Prairie. Stucco is usually associated with Spanish Colonial style, particularly the southwestern type. This siding is a bit more expensive than fiber cement at approximately $10 to $13 a square foot.
Metal sidings, although not very common, is becoming increasingly popular because of what it can offer. It is highly resistant to weather conditions that may cause significant damage to other siding types. This is not the type that was used on barns a century ago. The metals used are not susceptible to rust and warping due to extreme heat. There are some drawbacks though. Only a few craftsmen are adept at installing this type of siding. The price is rather high—anywhere between two to three times that of vinyl. Depending on the type of metal used and the process it goes through to produce the actual siding, the cost can go even higher. Its durability compensates for this, as it can literally outlast its owner.
Of course, wood siding remains a marvelous choice. This may be an expensive choice because the material itself is costly and because careful maintenance is imperative. Its beauty, especially if installed properly, compensates for the price one has to pay. With the right care, this siding can last a really long time, centuries even.
In terms of being environmentally sound, the first four mentioned have low impact on the environment and on the health of those who live within it confines. Some people are hesitant to use natural wood because trees today are not being replaced as fast as they are being used up.
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