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How to Choose Siding

To beautify the exterior of a home or help with heating and air conditioning efficiency, many people are turning to siding. Years ago, the only type of siding available was metal. While it served its purpose, and is in fact still used in some instances today, technology has completely changed siding, providing homeowners with better quality and appearance.

Before a person decides on one specific type of siding, it would be beneficial to talk to several contractors and/or manufacturers, as well as conduct research via Internet. The goal would be to determine the type of siding that would look best on the home and fit best with the structure of the home. Armed with information, the homeowner could then make an educated decision.

While expensive, when installed properly, siding transforms the appearance of a home, improves energy efficiency, and increases the value of the home drastically. Some of the options for siding that people could consider include:

  • Aluminum - Although still metal, aluminum siding is actually a good choice. Because this type of metal is not prone to rusting, it is much more popular than the old standard metal type siding. Aluminum siding is installed in long panels that have a baked-on enamel finish in the homeowner’s choice of color. Additionally, this finish comes in both textured and smooth. Although aluminum can dent, it takes a lot for that to happen. Now, one thing to remember is that if the siding should become dented or damaged, depending on how it was installed, it could be difficult to replace. Regardless, this type of siding is excellent for heat insulation and waterproofing.
  • Rectangular Plank - Made from wood, these planks are installed vertically instead of horizontally as with other types of siding. The ends are butted tight so the finished look is clean and smooth. Then, the joints are covered with long strips of wood (battens) that help keep moisture out and give the siding a nice “rise and fall” appearance. Rectangular plank siding has a nice, rustic appearance, making it ideal for country homes.
  • Clapboard - This is another type of rectangular planking but in this case, the siding is installed horizontally with the planks overlapping. Although some people like the look of this siding, it does not create a smooth look, as what the homeowner would get from other siding types. However, the beveled appearance is nice and homey.
  • Composition Board/Hardboard - These planks are made from compressed wood fiber. Being weather resistant, this type of siding would be a good consideration for homes in dry regions. Additionally, with planks available up to 16 feet long, the result is a smooth, clean line with no gaps. In addition, composition board or hardboard can be installed so it looks like clapboard.
  • Shingles - Generally, shingle siding would be made from cypress, redwood, or cedar. The shingles are sawn smoothly and with uniform shape and size. For the installation, the shingles are applied starting at the bottom, working upward so they overlap slightly. The nice thing about shingle siding is that the amount of overlap can be varied depending on the look wanted. The only drawback is that shingles tend to cup, which is when they roll to the center. Therefore, if the homeowner chooses this type of siding, he or she would need to watch for splitting or cracking.
  • Shakes - This siding is similar to shingles but instead, the texture is rough. Shakes can be hand-split, hand-split and then sawn on just one side, or hand-split and sawn on both sides. The shakes are not uniform in shape and size, giving a home a more rustic, country appearance. Like shingles, shakes are also prone to cupping.
  • Veneers Usually made from stone or brick, this type of siding actually gives the appearance of a real stone or brick-front home. Applied from the bottom up, this type of siding is beneficial by allowing moisture to escape through weep holes, which means the foundation does not become wet. For people living in areas of the country prone to rain, veneers would be ideal.
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