Types of Siding
Wood-composite, wood, fiber cement, and vinyl are common siding
types. Each carries its own advantages and disadvantages and is
available in a variety of quality levels and prices.
Wood-composite siding is engineered out of wood fibers, binders, and
glue. A low-quality wood-composite product, such as Masonite or LP, is
the cheapest siding option. Some types are treated with chemicals to
ward off termite infestation, fight mold, and resist moisture
Wood siding. Real wood, such
as pine, oak, and redwood, is usually much more expensive than a wood
composite. Wood naturally absorbs water and will deteriorate over time.
To protect wood and to keep it looking good, wood siding must be
painted every few years. There are two common ways wood siding is cut:
vertical and plain sawn. Vertical siding is typically more
durable than plain sawn siding because it has more growth rings, which
are the hard, dense part of the wood. It also holds stain better and
won’t warp as heavily as plain sawn siding. These traits make vertical
siding the more expensive option.
Fiber cement siding. Two
major brands of fiber cement siding are CertainTeed and HardiePlank.
Fiber cement siding is a composite material made of cement, sand, and
natural wood fibers, and it is manufactured to look just like wood.
However, it is more durable than wood and resists damage from water and
termites. Fiber cement siding must be painted. It is usually less
expensive than brick but more expensive than vinyl or a wood product,
such as Masonite or LP.
Vinyl siding. Vinyl siding
is usually less expensive than aluminum siding and most grades of wood
siding. The vinyl siding manufactured today is available in a wide
variety of colors and never needs painting. Good-quality, thick vinyl
siding with stiffeners rarely warps or breaks down, and it usually
carries an extremely long warranty. In general, the thicker the vinyl
siding and the more stiffeners that reinforce it, the fewer problems
the siding will develop down the road. Periodic pressure washing
returns vinyl to its original appearance.