As any homeowner knows, making updates can be a significant decision with considerable ramifications to your life. Many people have fears about choosing the wrong update for their homes. If you put in bad plumbing elements, you may have water all over your floor or ceiling. If you use the wrong electrical system, you put yourself and your family at risk of a fire. If you use the wrong roofing, you could end up with leaks in the ceiling or even a new animal roommate in your attic.
But the facade of your home is almost more important than the others. It’s the way you present yourself to your neighbors and friends. If you use the wrong siding, your house not only looks bad but needs to be updated as soon as you can afford it.
One question we hear a lot is: Is vinyl siding the best material for my house?
Vinyl siding is one of the best value investments you can make for your home. It’s versatile and affordable.
If you are looking for a quick facelift to your home that offers bang for your buck, then premium vinyl siding provides a high value with little work. If taken care of, it is mainly maintenance-free. In addition, it’s inexpensive and comes in an incredible amount of styles.
From a look’s standpoint, non-vinyl composite sidings are durable and paintable, but vinyl offers similar qualities at a much better price point. In addition, it’s versatile and easily molded to look like other siding styles such as board and batten or natural wood. However, unlike wood, it’s incredibly fire-resistant (PVC vinyl is fire resistant up to 750 degrees).
Ultimately we think that vinyl is a great material, but suggest you use high-quality vinyl. There are many vinyl siding brands (CertainTeed, Encore, Better Main Street), but we think Monogram is the best choice for value and performance when our southern New Jersey customers want to use vinyl on their homes.
While vinyl has a lot of upsides (especially in value), some downsides need to be considered by any homeowner thinking about installing it.
The biggest issue with vinyl is that it will need to be replaced much sooner than many other types of siding materials. Budget vinyl tends to fade quickly due to its sensitivity to ultraviolet rays, which leaves sad-looking, dull facades. The thinness of the vinyl material means that it is also not particularly energy-efficient. All the savings will come from the materials between your siding and home.
In locations that experience high humidity and rainfall, cheap siding becomes a hotspot for mold, and if installed incorrectly, the materials underneath the siding can easily rot. In incredibly windy conditions (like the Jersey Shore), gusts can pull cheap vinyl right off the side of your home—leaving you with huge repairs to make and insurance claims to file. This is why it is always important to take your geographic location when choosing a siding option.
Homeowners committed to vinyl siding might be surprised to learn that it’s just one step in home building technology and that newer and better materials are coming out every year.
While it might be obvious that ancient builders used stone, wood, and brick to build their homes, it wasn’t until the 20th century that a new material came along: aluminum. For almost 50 years, aluminum siding was the main technology used to cover and protect homes. But over time, builders realized that the fragile and easily dented aluminum was also energy inefficient.
Builders moved to asbestos siding, which dampened sound and provided more energy-efficient insulation. But as more and more science came out about the damage that broken asbestos can do to the human body, it was time for another upgrade. So finally, builders turned to the neglected vinyl siding.
While it was invented in the 1950s, it wasn’t until the ’70s and ’80s that vinyl came to dominate the market. Vinyl technology has evolved from recycled panels to virgin vinyl panels, insulated panels, and now vinyl mimics wood grain panels.
Today fiber cement and other composites are the height of siding technology. They will likely eclipse the market share of any plastic product like PVC vinyl siding as time goes on. However, some top-end vinyl is affordable and can hold its own when it comes to value against these higher-priced composites.
As we’ve mentioned, there are more types of siding available to homeowners than vinyl, such as wood siding and aluminum siding. It’s essential to look at the pros and cons of each as you consider re-covering your home. Each can bring a brand new look to your house and provide certain unique benefits and a few drawbacks. Choosing what is best for you depends on your situation and budget.
Here are a few of our favorite siding options broken down:
Wood – Wood is a classic building material that looks great. And while it is well known and commonly seen, there are a handful of drawbacks to choosing this material. Not only is the price of wood on the rise, but it needs a lot of maintenance to keep it looking its best. It takes paint well but needs regular repainting to keep from fading. Fire safety is also a constant concern with wooden structures. However, one of the most difficult problems a wooden homeowner can deal with is termites. These critters will destroy your siding and then dig into the beams of wood that hold up your house. Wooden homeowners need constant vigilance to protect their homes.
Metal Siding – Metal siding isn’t just for roofs; with all of the technological breakthroughs in manufacturing, metal siding is more affordable than ever, stronger than ever, and rising in popularity. Often cheaper than wood and composites, metal is a good option for low-maintenance siding. It does well in cold climates but can easily be dented by hail and intense storms.
Brick – Brick is another classic building material with a few pros and cons. The biggest cons are that it is expensive to install and almost impossible to match if you need new bricks. Many homeowners get around this by painting, but a homeowner can never revert to the original brick color once they choose to paint. In addition, it is energy efficient but can be unsafe in regions prone to earthquakes.
Vinyl – Vinyl is the most affordable and versatile option for siding. Still, it often needs to be replaced sooner than its counterparts made from other materials due to sun bleaching and damage.
Fiber Cement (and Other Composites) – Fiber Cement (we use James Hardie siding) is the future of home siding. These space-age materials are virtually indestructible and look great. They are as perfect for regions that experience extreme weather as they are for mild climates. While it is more expensive than vinyl, wood, and metal, it offers an incredible return on investment and is under a 30-year warranty. In practice, it should last much longer. Another benefit is that the Hardie board needs very little maintenance.
Choosing a new siding for your house can offer a great return on investment. New siding will make your home look nicer and more efficiently protect it. Upgrading your siding option can make your old house feel brand new while raising the home value. If you can benefit from installing new siding, we recommend that you do not wait, just as we recommend that you shouldn’t wait to replace your roof.
Installing new siding is a relatively quick job as long as you don’t choose brick. Most homes are finished within three to five nice weather days. Of course, the size and complexity of the job will affect the timing, but most will be done in under a week.
At Proven Contracting, we believe that if you are looking to sell, a siding investment will reap dividends with more marketability and higher interest from the potential buyers. Whichever you choose, upgrading your house siding is an investment in your home’s equity.