Purchasing new siding for your home is a decision with major significance, both aesthetically and functionally. Unlike a fresh paint job or decorating scheme, new siding is something you’ll likely commit to for many years. 

By making the right decisions regarding color and material, your siding will be a source of pride whenever you pull into your driveway. Keep reading for a rundown of what to consider when purchasing new siding for your home.

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When to Replace Siding

red clapboard siding falling apart due to dry rotSiding replacement has a great return on investment—you’ll recoup approximately 93 percent of the money you spend on the project—so it’s almost never a bad decision. But since siding work does involve a significant financial investment, it’s worth waiting until replacement is truly necessary.

Here are a few tips to help you determine whether your existing siding needs to be replaced:

1. Inspect any siding that appears warped.

Using a screwdriver, poke beneath the warped siding and note how firm the layer under the siding feels. If this layer feels rotted in any way, it’s probably time to replace your siding.

2. Watch for peeling paint or wallpaper on interior walls.

Peeling paint or sagging wallpaper indoors may indicate that your aging siding is allowing moisture to seep beneath it and into your wallboard. The moisture can damage your home’s interior walls, so it’s something you should get checked out as soon as possible.

3. Look for mold or mildew on your home’s exterior.

Another sign that your siding allows too much moisture into your home’s walls is the presence of mold or mildew on the exterior of your siding. While it’s not always a sign of failing siding, mold or mildew often signifies additional issues. Call in a pro for further investigation.

4. Check a few spots for dry rot.

Dry rot, one of the more common problems with wood siding, is not always visible to the naked eye. To detect it, tap various areas of the siding with the bottom of a screwdriver or hammer to expose an area that has succumbed to dry rot, as only the topmost layer of siding will be intact. Pay special attention to areas around windows, doors, and protrusions, such as chimneys and porches.

If you find any areas of dry rot, you may be able to get away with just replacing the damaged sections, especially if the rest of the siding is in good shape. Depending on your home’s age, the condition of the rest of the siding, and the extent of the dry rot, however, your contractor may recommend a full replacement.

Since dry rot may compromise the structural integrity of your home, this is an area where you’ll want to defer to the experts.

Choosing the Right Color of Siding

installer attaching beige siding panels to home exteriorThe color of your siding has no impact on how well the material protects your home from the elements, but there are some things you should think about before you commit to one shade over another.

1. Is your house going to turn too many heads?

What colors predominate in your neighborhood? While that canary yellow might have looked sharp in a magazine, you may not want your home to stick out too much in the context of your neighborhood’s palette.

Remember too that your neighborhood or homeowners’ association may have rules on the books regarding color options. Don’t risk a fine or a lawsuit: do your due diligence before deciding on a bright or unexpected paint color.

2. Does your area experience long, hot summers?

If you live in a hot climate, you may want to consider siding in a lighter shade that won’t absorb as much heat as a darker shade. Lighter colors do a better job of reflecting the sun’s rays, which helps you save energy and money as you keep your home cool in the summer.

3. What color is the trim?

Notice the colors of your doors and window frames, and try to imagine your new siding juxtaposed with those. Better yet, ask your contractor for samples of the siding products you’re considering in the colors you like. Take a few days to look at the samples in different lights. Do the colors complement each other?

If you’re planning on changing the trim color or making other exterior home updates in the future, consider how your home’s new color and design scheme will harmonize with your siding.

4. Do you want the option of a new paint color in the future?

Think carefully about how the material you select is related to its color. Wood siding, for example, will need to be repainted in the future, so you’ll have the opportunity to change its color. Aging vinyl siding, on the other hand, is much harder to paint—and modern vinyl siding products should not be painted at all.

Siding Materials

cabin with natural wood sidingNaturally, material is one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make when you replace house siding. There are many options to choose from, and the best choice will depend not only on the benefits you’d like to get from the siding but also on how much maintenance you’re willing to take on.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you decide:

1. What kind of siding do your neighbors have?

If all the homes on your block have the same kind of siding, choosing a different type of siding for your home might have a negative effect on the market value of your house.

2. What type of siding is most common in your climate?

Ask your contractor what type of siding would be best suited to your climate, taking into account not only heat and humidity but also the probability of termites. You may also want to consider insulated siding if energy efficiency is a top concern.

3. How much upkeep are you willing to commit to?

Most siding products made from synthetic materials (or combinations of natural fibers and synthetic bonding agents) are low maintenance. As long as you keep shrubs and vining plants from growing too close to your house and neighborhood kids don’t start up a baseball game in your yard, the most you’ll need to do is give the siding an annual rinse with your garden hose, removing any stains with a gentle scrub.

Wood siding will require the most maintenance, and you’ll need to budget for a new paint job approximately every five years. If you opt for factory-painted fiber cement siding, expect to need a new paint job every fifteen years or so; factory-primed fiber cement will likely need repainting after approximately ten years, but this varies on climate as well as the quality of the exterior paint.

Replacing Siding: The Bottom Line

close-up image of green sidingIf you’re in the final steps of deciding to replace the siding on your house, you’re probably well aware of your budget. Siding isn’t cheap, but it’s an aspect of your home where you truly do get what you pay for.

High-quality siding that is professionally installed adds significant value to your home. Here’s what to keep in mind as you make your decisions:

  • Make sure that your home really does need new siding.
  • If you’re considering a major aesthetic change with your new siding, do your research. Understand any restrictions imposed by your HOA, and don’t forget that when it comes to market value, turning your house into an avant-garde fashion statement isn’t necessarily the best choice.
  • Choose the best siding for your area’s climate, but also think about maintenance realities. If easy-care solutions work best for you when it comes to home maintenance, opt for a synthetic siding product.

Most importantly, work with a licensed, reputable siding contractor to make sure that you get the best product and installation for your investment. All Best Pick siding companies are fully vetted and covered by state-required licenses and insurance policies for your protection. When you work with a Best Pick, you’ll be pleased with the entire experience—we guarantee it.