What are the popular choices for siding besides vinyl or aluminum?
There are so many choices of alternatives to wood that our discussion here will just scratch the surface. Introduced in the 1950’s and for probably 30 years following, the only choices were aluminum and eventually vinyl siding. Then new products began to surface like fiber cement and wood composite products that rivaled the appearance of wood with generally more durable features and better price points when compared with real wood. These days, there are even more siding and shingle alternatives that can be found at almost any price point. As wood quality continues to be an issue as well as availability, alternatives are perhaps worth looking into when deciding on exteriors.
Are there other choices than wood for trim features?
Yes, many. As mentioned above, the quality of wood products for appearance grade seems to be going down all the while the price of natural sawn products continues to rise. The choices are endless but wood composites are perhaps the least expensive to consider but care must be taken to limit their exposure to moisture and sustained weather. Fiber cement and other like products are more stable and hold paint better but care still must be taken to avoid them being exposed long-term. At the upper end of the spectrum would be your non wood composites. These would include foam and cellular PVC products that are designed to be around for the next coming of the dinosaurs. These are nice alternatives in areas with high moisture exposure or severe weather. Care must be taken if these materials are to be painted. As there are many like brands on the market, work with your pro to make sure that you are getting everything that you are paying for and be careful about the paint grip and color palate you can use with some of these higher end composites.
What’s this fiber cement siding all about?
First introduced in the states nearly 30 years ago, fiber cement siding has become quite popular as an alternative to solid sawn or composite wood siding. It basically boils down to a material that is relatively inexpensive to manufacture, one that is resistant to the adverse effects of moisture and rough weather and takes and hold paint pretty well. One drawback is how brittle the material can be and how it is manufactured limits its ability to have a taper to it like sawn wood clapboard but from a distance that “flatness” is hard to distinguish. All in all, fiber cement is a pretty good alternative considering the price point, appearance and durability you get from this proven product. It does take a pro to install however as the “devil is in the details” when it comes to proper install practices.
Is residing expensive?
Residing a home is potentially a large investment but there might be some additional opportunities that offset this cost like enhanced energy efficiency. At the time you begin to consider residing, get with a pro remodeler to assess not only the siding work but also the existing window and door condition, the insulation in the walls and whether this is a good time to consider adding to the insulation as well as installing a weather resistant barrier under the siding. Most sidings are only considered one line of defense in keeping the home dry. Adding new siding and a weather resistant barrier at the same time is truly the gold standard for tightening up an existing home and protecting it from wind and water.
Can you match my existing siding if remodeling or adding an addition?
Depending on the age and style of your siding, a relatively good match or even the same siding can be sourced. Even if you can find the existing siding, your old siding will have some fading to it, so you may see some difference between the old and new siding. A forward thinking contractor will carefully remove and save any old siding removed from the house and use that to fill in on sides of the house with old siding. By transitioning to the new siding at corners and on different sides or elevations, the experienced installer can minimize any noticeable differences in the old and new siding as well.