Choosing Siding Materials and Styles for Your Home
Whether deciding to re-side your home is a cosmetic choice or a one of need to protect the integrity of your home, there are so many options and styles available, it can feel like a massive undertaking just to make the smallest decision.
This guide will walk you through the different terms you need to know when picking out siding, siding material options you have and their pros and cons, and different siding styles.
Siding Terms to Know
- Siding Accent – this may be a small area of siding, corner pieces, or pieces along your porch or windows that are in a different color to create interest
- Shutter – Use primarily for style, shutters can be added on each side of your windows to give additional accent. Oftentimes they are in a contrasting color to stand out.
- Soffit – This piece covers the underside of your roof, usually in the overhang.
- Fascia – similar to a piece of trim, fascia is seen near the roofline and is used to attach gutters.
- Batten- this tiny piece connects joints in siding and keeps them fitted tightly together.
- Vent – these slotted pieces cover exterior holes in the home that allow for airflow
- Mounting Block – this piece is a base for installing additions to the outside of your home, such as a porch light, doorbell, or security camera.
- Weep Holes- small holes along the bottom edge of siding pieces where water that has condensated can escape
- Channel – These are areas on the edge of a piece of siding that helps them connect to each other and slide together
- Backerboard- is fastened to the studs so that siding can be attached to it. It is usually plywood.
- Course – this term means one row of siding.
- Flashing – metal pieces that keep water from coming in your doors and windows
- Eaves – the roof overhang
- Gable – the area at the peak of the roof that creates a triangle-shaped wall
Your siding plays a very important role in defending your home against weather. By choosing materials that are suited for our Kansas climate and for the amount of upkeep you want to perform, you can find the siding material that is the best fit for your home.
When we think about material options, we find it easiest to evaluate them based on two factors: durability and cost.
Durability of Siding Materials
Steel siding takes the cake when it comes to durability. There just isn’t much that can damage it as it is fire resistant, insect proof, and waterproof. This eliminates many of the major factors of damage. Additionally, it is tough- holding up against damage from storms.
Following steel, vinyl and engineered wood are next in terms of durability, followed by fiber cement and last, stucco. Vinyl siding can hold up well, if installed well. However, imperfect seams are a liability to this siding type, as well as less attractive. One of the biggest factors that brings down the durability of vinyl is the damage caused by UV rays, which can cause siding to crack and deteriorate. With hot Kansas summers, we see this as a factor to not take lightly.
Fiber cement products are considered to be pretty durable. They are low maintenance and more weather resistant than lap siding materials.
Engineered wood is considered to be a durable product, as it is a great improvement over natural wood, being more insect and weather resistant, though significantly less resistant than steel or vinyl. Engineered wood can lose some of its durability with improper maintenance routines though. Ongoing maintenance is important for engineered wood siding.
Cost of Siding Materials
In terms of return on investment, steel siding is the highest due to its durability. While it is a greater investment upfront, the long-lasting qualities of steel make the cost more affordable when considering the low maintenance and unlikeliness of damage.
Engineered wood siding can be pretty affordable upfront, but it’s important to consider the time and cost investment of ongoing maintenance as this drives up the overall cost of using this material.
Fiber cement is an affordable, middle of the budget option, but definitely more of an investment than most kinds of vinyl siding.
Vinyl is considered one of the lowest-cost options. However, knowing the likelihood that repairs will likely be a cost, especially considering the weather extremes and UV exposure in our region increases the overall potential cost of this siding option. We once heard that “over time, there is nothing more expensive than buying cheap.” When it comes to siding, we know this couldn’t be more true, which is why we recommend high quality and durability almost every time.
This is where most of our customers feel the most at a loss for what to choose. After choosing a material and colors, the many different styles can feel overwhelming and can be difficult to imagine how they might look on your house. We utilize computer programs to help you bring the image to life and visualize what the completed project will look like.
Lap siding is what most people picture when they think of siding. It runs in horizontal pieces. There are a lot of different options for textures, width of the planks, and finishes. You may also hear of lap siding called clapboard or bevel siding as well. Lap siding can come in vinyl, wood, metal, fiber cement, and other materials as well.
Shake & Shingle Siding
This style of siding uses small “shingle” like pieces that overlap to cover an area of the side of the home. It is common to see shake or shingle siding made out of cedar. Today, the shake and shingle shapes can be achieved with many different materials that require less upkeep than the cedarwood.
Vertical siding is pretty self-explanatory! It is also sometimes called board and batten siding. It may come in large panels, rather than planks.
You might be thinking this makes more sense as a siding material – but the aesthetic of log siding can actually be achieved using wood, or other materials. This gives homeowners interested in this look more options, as wood log siding typically requires a lot of upkeep and care.
Brick or Stone (or Brick or Stone Veneer)
Most people in the midwest are very familiar with brick and stone as building materials, as many old farmhouses in our area are constructed of limestone, and brick was a very popular building material for many years. In modern architecture, it’s more common to see brick and stone accents and features on a home’s siding, rather than used exclusively. Today, we can also use brick or stone veneer which is a synthetic material made to give the traditional appearance, but with ease of installation and maintenance.
While it technically falls under a siding material, stucco is also considered a style of siding as well. Stucco has been used for centuries and creates a solid, uniform wall appearance. It can be texturized and colored pretty much any color under the sun!
Many of the most stylish homes today use a combination of siding styles to achieve a sophisticated look. While they may utilize lap siding on the majority of the house, the gables may feature shake and shingle or vertical styles, and the bottom of the house may have a stone or brick feature – either real or veneer. Combining styles and colors can make your home’s aesthetic and curb appeal incredible and take an average looking home to new heights!
There’s nothing we enjoy more than helping homeowners create something truly unique and beautiful for their home’s exterior style with siding. We love that our preferred siding manufacturer (Quality Edge) makes all of these styles possible with the siding they create, while keeping the materials maintenance-free and long-lasting!