Homeowners have many options when it comes to finishing a home’s exterior surface. One of the most popular options is siding, which is manufactured in many different styles and brands. Homeowners often prefer siding due to its durability, composite structure and resistance to mold and mildew.
There are many brands of siding on the market that vary in overall durability. Nothing is worse than spending money on a home’s exterior, only to discover years later that it is degrading and not standing up to the elements. One type that is often used in the New England area is wood fiber siding.
United Home Experts, leading New England siding installers, suggest not using this type of siding due to its lack of durability, inferior composition and the siding’s overall lack of resistance to mold and mildew. We in particular try to veer away from products like wood fiber siding because of our own experience with customers who had wood fiber particle board siding installed previously.
Lack of Durability
While this style offers several variants of siding and additional siding materials, it is not considered to be as durable as other options. Siding is generally warranted for 20 years against damage, rot, mildew and mold. Being composed of wood fibers, some siding does not hold up under wear and tear and extreme weather conditions as long as other, more durable brands. Companies run tests on siding, putting their brands to the test of simulated harsh environments and wet and dry environments. This siding does not hold up as well as some other options under these conditions.
As mentioned, this particular type of siding is mainly composed of wood fibers. Most styles of home siding include cement or vinyl, which hold up much better than wood to wear, winds, and extreme weather conditions. Some companies sell wood composite sidings, but ensure that each brand being considered stands up to industry standards for composition and functionality before purchasing.
Lack of Resistance to Mold and Mildew
Replacing siding that has become a victim of mold or mildew can cost a homeowner a lot of extra expenses in replacement and repair costs. For those living in damp climates or areas prone to excessive wet weather, Wood fiber is not an ideal home siding option. Due to its wood fiber composition, this siding is prone to mildew and mold, which in turn not only breaks down the siding, but can create damage beneath the siding’s surface.
For homeowners living in the New England area, contact United Home Experts for assistance in choosing a siding that will be durable and mold resistant. One of their dedicated professionals will be happy to answer questions about siding options and costs. Visit our main siding page for more information on siding!
Other than a roof, a home’s siding is probably the most important decision that a homeowner ever has to make when it comes to a home remodel. The reason is simple: a home’s siding not only largely determines how a home presents itself to the world, but siding is also responsible for protecting the home’s structure and for providing insulation.
Maintenance must also be a primary concern. Not only does maintenance require a homeowner’s precious time, but it also translates into either a direct cash savings or an expense for the homeowner each and every month.
How well a home’s siding insulates is also important. Proper insulation can save a homeowner on utilities each and every month, which can add up to a great deal over time.
Homeowners have a wide range of choices when it comes to the siding on a home. In some areas, a homeowner’s choices are limited by deed restrictions or other local considerations, but most homeowners have at least some choice. One choice is metal siding, and this article will focus on metal siding pros and cons.
Let’s start with the benefits of metal over other alternatives.
One of the advantages of metal cladding is its low maintenance. Compared with some other choices, metal requires very little attention from a homeowner once it is properly installed. This is especially true for those areas of the country subject to severe winters. Snow, sleet, frost, rain, wind and even heat have very little effect upon metal. Metal also does not absorb moisture or promote the growth of mold or fungus, both of which can destroy a home’s framing and can pose health hazards to the occupants.
Obviously, the thicker the metal, the better it will withstand day to day abuse, as well as any extreme events. Because aluminum is considerably softer than steel, the thickness of aluminum is especially important. Aluminum base siding has a .032 thickness which is 74% thicker than many steel counterparts, making it stronger and more dent resistant than aluminum.
Metal is also extremely unfriendly toward insects. Insect damage can be a problem with many home sidings, and the regular spraying which some sidings require in order to repel insects can be costly over time. All insect problems are eliminated with metal.
The aesthetic qualities of metal, both aluminum as well as steel siding, have come a long way in recent years. Today’s aluminum and steel siding comes in patterns and textures which mimic wood, and pre-painted metal can provide a homeowner with up to twenty years – or even more in some cases, of carefree living. Steel siding, as opposed to aluminum siding, can also be very dent-resistant.
Another advantage to metal siding is its fire resistance. Even if a home is struck by lightning, a metal-clad dwelling is almost impervious to fire. This can be a tremendous advantage in high fire areas or areas prone to frequent lightning storms. Such protection might also translate into lower monthly homeowner insurance premiums, you can check with local homeowner’s insurance agents regarding any potential savings on premiums.
Aluminum siding can also be economical to purchase and install, saving homeowners money up-front as well as down the road.
Of course, as with almost anything, metal siding also has its drawbacks.
Let’s start with aluminum siding. Aluminum is a soft metal and dents easily. Hail, a stray baseball, even heavy rain or a power wash can dent aluminum siding, especially the less-expensive lower gauge sidings. And when one piece or one section of aluminum siding is dented, it can be difficult to replace.
Not only can aluminum siding be difficult to replace, but matching the color of the replacement pieces can also pose a real problem. The reason for this is simple, aluminum siding (as opposed to steel siding) often does not hold colors well. Pre-colored aluminum siding has a tendency, in many cases, to fade or turn chalky after only a few years of exposure to the elements. Some homeowners also complain that colors tend to run off of aluminum siding after a while. Also, when trying to match pre-colored aluminum siding, there is little or no guarantee that a manufacturer will continue producing a specific color. However, it should be noted that aluminum siding can be re-painted with a quality paint for long-lasting beauty.
All metal sidings, even the most heavy-duty siding, are subject to denting if struck with sufficient force. Sharp objects can even pierce metal, especially aluminum, which is softer than steel. Metal sidings are also subject to scratching, which will reveal the underlying metal. Aluminum will not rust, but steel siding that has been scratched must be repainted immediately or it is subject to rusting.
Steel generally holds its color better than aluminum. Steel siding does not turn “chalky” over time as aluminum can. However, after exposure to the elements steel siding can be susceptible to rusting. This is true even of steel siding, which has been coated with a rust-resistant compound. Homeowners in coastal areas, subject to salt spray, frequent fogs or other dampness need to keep this consideration in mind.
Steel siding is also more expensive than aluminum or most other types of siding. Not only does it carry a higher initial price tag, but steel siding is thicker and heavier than aluminum siding and is more difficult and time-consuming to install; this can drive up installation costs and time considerably. However, these initial costs can be balanced by the longer life expectancy of steel siding over most other types of siding.
Metal does not insulate as well as other types of siding, although adding insulation underneath the metal can alleviate most of this problem. Many homeowners with metal cladding also complain that they are not protected from outside noises as well as homeowners who choose other types of siding. Again, this problem may be rectified, at least to a large extent, by adding additional insulating material under the siding.
There is one final advantage to metal, especially for homeowners who are attempting to go “green.” Metal is recyclable and need not end up in a landfill when its day is done.
No siding is perfect. Every type of siding has its advantages and its disadvantages. Metal sidings are unlikely to allow water to penetrate, but metal is more subject to disfigurement than other types of siding. The severity of any disadvantage must be balanced by the area in which one lives, the intensity of local weather and the homeowner’s specific needs, both short-term as well as long-term. Once all of those considerations are added into the mix, the homeowner then has to balance the advantages and disadvantages – as well as both short-term and long-term costs – of any particular siding before making any final decision.
Homeowners looking into installing cedar shingles for their siding are often faced with two main choices: white or red. These two kinds of shingles vary in significant ways when it comes to color, style, durability, resistance to natural forces and eco-friendliness.
United Home Experts has experience working with both types of cedar shingles. The best way for homeowners to make an informed decision about which kind is best for them and their home is to review the pros and cons associated with both types of shingles while considering what factors are most important to them.
Color and style
In the color department, shingles come with many possibilities. Left unpainted or unfinished, white shingles come to take on a pretty silver-gray color. Red shingles, on the other hand, appear rich and classic in their natural state. However, red cedar shingles cannot be painted, while white shingles can be painted any desired color as they naturally absorb paint well. Stained or painted white shingles will be better protected from the elements than unpainted or unstained white cedar shingles.
Durability and resistance
White shingles possess natural qualities that enhance their resistance to insects and decay, which are two of the most common threats to wood insulation. However, due to their fibrous nature, white shingles are more likely to split or crack (possibly during installation), and this makes them a less durable option than red shingles. In comparison, red shingles require less maintenance and, when installed properly, can last multiple lifetimes. As for resistance, red shingles do well resisting moisture, which keeps them from warping. However, even though they are more durable than white shingles, red shingles contain an acid that will cause them to become darker and blotchy and in appearance over time, which is a problem that does not affect white shingles.
Overall, red cedar shingles are more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than white cedar shingles. This is partly due to the red shingles’ unique cellular composition that results in the capturing of small pockets of air and improves insulation capabilities. In comparison, white shingles can deteriorate early and often, thus requiring regular maintenance and weaker insulation.
Regardless of which type of cedar shingle homeowners decide is best suited for their siding, the team at United Home Experts has the skill and experience to ensure proper installation. Countless satisfied customers across New England agree that United Home Experts is the right choice for any kind of home improvement.
Vinyl siding can be used to improve the appearance of the outside of a home. This can increase a property’s value and can make it a better place for the residents to live. A lot of people understand the importance of making sure their properties look good on the inside. They also need to put effort into making sure the outside of their houses look great. Vinyl siding is an option which can help the outside of a home look new.
It is available in many colors and textures. There are colors to complement the styles of older homes and there are textures that closely resemble wood. Vertical vinyl siding can be a better choice than horizontal vinyl siding for homeowners. Vertical siding is a lot easier to clean. It can be sprayed with a water hose or pressure washer. A mild detergent can be used if needed. Cleaning should be done once a year or more. Vertical siding also has a lower risk of becoming water-damaged.
Types of vertical siding materials include steel, aluminum, vinyl, pressed composites and plywood. Aluminum does not weigh a lot, which makes it easy to install. This can lower the cost of installation. It does not ever rust and can be painted over if desired. It is an eco-friendly option since it is made from a high percentage of recycled materials. When discarded it is fully recyclable. The disadvantages of this type includes fading due to sun exposure and the fact that it can dent easily. Steel is a lot heavier than aluminum and therefore can be harder to install. However, it is more durable than aluminum. It will not fade but it will rust. There are coatings that can help it resist rust.
Pressed composite siding is made of fiber-cement and other additives. It is resistant to cracks and is fire resistant. It is more costly than some of the other types.
Vinyl vertical siding can last for a long time in normal weather conditions. It does not to be repainted and only needs cleaning once a year on average. It can be a lot less expensive than the other types. Price does vary depending on the quality of the vinyl chosen. It can crack under extreme conditions so panels may need to be replaced if cracks occur.
Vinyl siding can last twice as long as wood siding. There are many colors and patterns to choose from. It is affordable and will not suffer from termite damage. Some vinyl siding has insulation attached, which can increase energy efficiency. This can save an owner of a house or building money when paying their bills each month. It is also low maintenance, which allows homeowners to spend their time doing other things they enjoy instead of spending all their time working on their homes. Panel replacements may be required if they are damaged due to extreme weather or other rare occurrences.
Fiber cement board siding is a type of prefabricated siding that protects the exterior of a home. Fiber cement is a mixture of materials that includes sand and fibers made from cardboard. There are both benefits and consequences to investing in fiber cement siding.
New Englanders will especially appreciate the fact that this type of siding stands up well to sea salt air. It is very durable and withstands harsh weather for many, many years. The siding protects the home from wind and rain damage as well as hail, and can withstand hurricane-level storms “facts that every New Englander can appreciate.
The material is not flammable. Among the many worries of homeowners, fire is usually somewhere at the top of the list. Fiber cement is made up of more than 90 percent of inflammable material. In one reported incident, a fire destroyed fire trucks almost 100 feet away from the flames, but the home constructed with fiber cement was completely protected.
The appearance of fiber cement siding is perhaps the most surprising aspect of the material. Fiber cement can resemble wood planks or wood shingles. A homeowner does not have to sacrifice the traditional look of a home to gain the many benefits of fiber cement siding. The siding is also available in a variety of colors; or, if a color is not suitable, the siding can be painted.
Fiber board cement siding offers complete protection from insects and rotting. The siding has no seams that overlap, which prevents mold or mildew from growing between the outside and interior walls. This feature lessens allergens within the home, further protecting a homeowner’s family. Fiber cement board has all the benefits of other sidings with few disadvantages.
Installation of fiber cement board siding is costly. Labor costs are higher because fiber cement requires more manpower to deliver and install. Cost can be two to three times higher than aluminum or vinyl siding. If a homeowner is planning to sell within the next five years, investing in fiber cement siding might not be ideal.
Unlike aluminum or vinyl siding, fiber cement siding has to be re-painted. While the paint job lasts longer than usual, normally about fifteen years, the siding does require painting after some time. Initially, the siding can be installed painted. However, the task of painting fiber cement should be considered when choosing this type of siding.
UNITED HOME EXPERTS
When deciding what type of siding is right, contact United Home Experts. We are the leaders in construction in New England. We know and understand the unique needs of New England homeowners and offer warranties on all contracted work. Estimates are provided at no charge, along with a recommendation for the type of siding that is right for the homeowner. Siding is an investment, no matter the type of siding that is chosen, so it is important for homeowners to make sure the choice is the right one for home and family.
Frequently homeowners contact us wondering if their siding can be painted or if it’s in such disrepair that it should be replaced. As a company who offers both solutions, we’re often able to customize an unbiased recommendation based on each individual home, and the homeowners desire.
In this video, Tod and Todd of Weather Tight Corp in Milwaukee do a great job explaining when it’s time to replace your siding versus just painting it.
Weather Tight is one of the premier Siding Contractors in Milwaukee. This and other videos are viewable on their Siding Blog.
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