Low maintenance siding
Siding gives you a great way to add color and definition to your house. There are lots of options these days to help you create the perfect façade and you want to choose carefully. While aesthetics are always important, you also want to consider the material's durability, ability to resist water, ease of installation and versatility.
"From a functional point of view, siding gives you protection, " says architect Amy A. Alper. "From an architectural point of view, there's an interest now in using a variety of materials to highlight special features on a home. For example, using stone or Western red cedar to highlight an entry."
The low cost, versatility and easy maintenance of vinyl siding has helped it become the most popular siding choice in the United States. While some design professionals and homeowners are turned off by the "plastic look" of some vinyl siding products, the variety of colors and styles available helps explain this siding's popularity.
"The technology has changed dramatically, even in the last five years, " says Max Bumgardner, sales manager for Sutton Siding & Remodeling, Inc. "All the manufacturers are competing to offer the best product."
Requiring few tools to install and available at home improvement stores, this is an option for those looking for a do-it-yourself product. Since mistakes can be costly, make sure to follow instructions from the manufacturer and take advantage of online how-to videos.
Photo courtesy of Ply Gem
Commonly used for bungalow, Cape Cod and cottage exteriors, wood siding offers a rich look and is durable if maintained properly. If you are attracted to this look keep in mind that it requires periodic maintenance (chalking and painting or staining to prevent weather damage) and is susceptible to insect or rodent attacks. Depending on maintenance, your rich wood siding can last from 10 to sometimes 100 years.
Wood siding comes in clapboard (also known as lap or bevel siding) as well as shakes and shingles. Clapboard siding uses planks of wood installed horizontally with an upper piece that overlaps the lower piece. Western red cedar and redwood, woods known for being attractive and durable, are considered the best choices.