The siding you choose for your home can have a large impact on maintenance and curb appeal. But what are the siding types, and which one should you choose?
While there are several different materials used in siding – or covering the outside of your home – we’ll just be looking at the most common ones used today: Wood, vinyl, stucco, brick and stone.
Starting with the classic, wood siding is exactly what it sounds like – wood. The wood can be installed vertically or horizontally, depending on the look you like for your home. It comes either in long, thin strips, panels or shingle-type shapes, and is applied by overlapping wood pieces. Wood gives a very classic look, but given that it’s an entirely natural material, it comes with its own drawbacks. Over the years, paint will chip, crack and peel, requiring repaints on a regular basis. Wood is susceptible to moisture damage, either warping or bloating from absorbing moisture or cracking and splintering from a lack of moisture (which is the problem you’d more likely face in a dry climate like the Tri-Cities). Wood is also prone to pest damage, from gnawing rodents to wood-destroying termites. The upside to wood maintenance is that it’s one of the easiest, if not the easiest, types of siding to replace if you need to repair a small portion of it. Wood does tend to be a more costly option, so keep that in mind when buying or building a home.
Stucco is the most common siding in new construction in the Tri-Cities. It has several benefits with fewer drawbacks than wood siding, making it a popular choice. It has great curb appeal, giving a very classical Spanish look that’s popular in the area, and it comes in a practically limitless amount of colors. Stucco is made by mixing water, lime, sand and cement, and is best left for professionals to install for a clean look. Due to the materials, stucco never needs to be repainted or refinished, and doesn’t succumb to most types of environmental damage. The biggest concern with stucco is that it can crack, if your home settles or if it was installed improperly. Beyond fixing potential cracks, stucco requires no regular maintenance at all.
Another popular type of siding in the Tri-Cities area is cement fiber siding. Cement fiber siding is made with Portland cement, sand, water and fibers, and can be shaped into shingles, planks, slats or solid pieces and textured in a variety of ways. It’s cheaper than wood or stucco sidings, and incredibly durable. It can withstand heat, cold, moisture and direct sunlight with little fading or wear. It’s also fire resistant, an increasingly important aspect in our area as wildfire season ramps up year after year. It typically comes in two varieties: pre-finished or unpainted. Pre-finished has the color already mixed in and ready to install, while unpainted, as the name suggests, comes plain and needs to be painted after being applied. Cement fiber siding is best left to professionals to install, to ensure it’s correctly layered. Maintenance is low as well; chipping and cracking are uncommon, so the only maintenance you may have to do is repainting, depending on if your cement fiber siding came pre-finished or unpainted.
Vinyl is another popular siding type. Wood-like in appearance, vinyl usually replaces wood siding for those who like the look but don’t want the regular maintenance of wood. Vinyl is a synthetic material, meaning that it can sustain much more than natural materials like wood can. Vinyl is applied with a special tool and resembles wood when finished. Due to being plastic, it never needs to be repainted, so your only maintenance comes if the vinyl itself gets damaged. It’s incredibly damage resistant. The only major damage risk is the potential to crack under extremely cold temperatures, which isn’t exactly a concern in our desert-like environment. Vinyl is also far cheaper than wood, but does need to be professionally installed for the best results.
Brick is a far more common building material on the east coast. It’s pretty rare to find an entirely brick building in the Tri-Cities area. Brick siding is assembled by stacking clay bricks on top of each other, sealing together with a mortar. Most commonly, brick is used as an accent siding rather than the main structural siding in our areas. It can offer a great, old-timey look to your home, but does come with maintenance of its own. Mortar is prone to crumbling and succumbing to weather damage, meaning you’ll have to regularly repair it.
The final siding type you’ll see in our area is stone siding. Not many homes are built entirely of stone or rock siding, much like brick, and it’s typically used as an accent piece for existing siding. Stone work provides a fantastic, luxurious look to the outside of your home. The main drawback to stone is that it’s extremely expensive, so often people will use a synthetic stone instead. The natural pits and texture of rock is prone to collecting dust, especially if you live in a windy, dusty environment like the Tri-Cities. To combat looking dirty, it’s best to power wash your stone siding regularly.
What does all of this mean for you? As a seller, you’ll want to make sure you know what kind of siding your home has and what sort of maintenance it needs. A home with peeling paint or cracked siding can be a major turn off to buyers. Different types of siding can have drastically different curb appeals when maintained, which can adjust the cost of your home and it’s desirability.
As a buyer, knowing the sort of maintenance you’ll need to do depending on the siding of your home can be a huge factor in which home you’ll purchase. And if you’re working with a builder, you’ll get to choose your siding and your accents, so make that decision count! Are you interested in working with a builder and building your own home? We have several builders, so contact our Builder’s Specialist today for more information!