When choosing siding for your home, there are a lot of factors to consider, and more options than you can count: from aluminum, wood, engineered wood, stucco, synthetic stone, vinyl, steel, fiber cement, just to name a few.
This can make your decision process feel overwhelming. Add on to that a persuasive salesman, and the pressure to make the best choice for your home might feel impossible. But thankfully, all siding can be broken down in terms of quality on a few key factors: energy efficiency, durability, and cost. Here, we will compare the best and commonly used modern siding options available.
When it comes to keeping your energy costs down, many materials are comparable, as long as they are installed by professionals. Steel and insulated vinyl are at the top of the list. These materials are both good insulators, which is the number one consideration when thinking about efficiency. Following these is wood, with engineered wood products being superior. And following wood, fiber cement is significantly less insulating than the other options. Manufactured products like metal and vinyl are definitely ahead of wood or fiber cement siding when it comes to keeping your energy costs low.
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.
In terms of return on investment, steel siding is the highest due to its durability. While it is a greater investment up front, 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 up front, 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.
Once you know the facts of the quality of your siding options, you only have a few other factors to consider: maintenance requirements, and style or color options available.
Steel siding is the lowest maintenance option available- it doesn’t corrode as other types of metal siding might, and rarely needs any maintenance at all outside of a good cleaning. When thinking about steel siding, you might have some thoughts about the options available. But, it does not have to look industrial. Our recommended siding options can match virtually any style you choose for your home.
One of the only downsides of steel siding is the experience required to install it. Installing steel siding correctly is pretty labor intensive and having experience with material is a definite advantage. This is where we come in! Our installers at Midland Exteriors have been trained and mentored to know the exact process to install your siding with to get excellent results.
Final Considerations: Installation
Regardless of what type of siding you ultimately choose, installation is one of the most important factors to consider. Having professionals who are familiar with the siding products you choose is of vital importance. Improperly installed siding, no matter how durable, efficient, or budget friendly can be a nightmare on your pocketbook. Many companies choose to not perform quality work, which is one of the reasons we started Midland Exteriors in the first place. We believe our communities deserve a trusted resource who will perform high quality work to increase the value of your home.
If you are considering new siding – or if you just want to find out more about what’s involved – please give us a call toll-free at (855) 735-8255 or request an estimate online. We are always happy to provide information and a free NO PRESSURE price quote. It would be our pleasure to speak with you.