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Your home's siding is its shield from the elements, so what you choose to clad your house in can be a crucial decision. Your siding should help keep you cool in the summer and warm in winter, and it needs to be able to expand and contract with those climate changes. You also want durable siding that can repel pests and insects.

Your home's siding is its last line of defense. And, it doesn't hurt if it looks good too!

Vinyl Siding

Quality siding, installed with skill and creativity, can add to your home's curb appeal as well as its resale value. Siding is as much about reflecting your taste and personality as it is about protecting you at night. So, for your convenience siding comes in a variety of materials that a certified siding contractor can install: vinyl, fiber cement, wood, and metal.

Vinyl siding is hands down, the most popular form of home siding today. But, is this because vinyl is the best, or simply because it is by far the cheapest? Vinyl siding has the lowest material cost and requires very little maintenance after installation. It is very light and easy to transport, and comes in a variety of colors and textures so painting isn't required.

That's where the good times end.

Vinyl offers no insulation, so some kind of backing might be required. Vinyl siding might not be able to stand up to violent storms and is susceptible to extreme heat. So keep your barbeque grill away from your siding! When vinyl siding is damaged, it is very difficult to repair.

Aluminum Siding

Another inexpensive option is aluminum siding, but aluminum siding has really fallen off the map in recent years. It's more resistant to fire than vinyl, but the best inexpensive solution is still vinyl siding.

If you want something that costs less and is low maintenance, vinyl siding is the way to go. However, if you have an open check book there are some much better alternatives such as wood siding.

Wood Siding

Wood siding makes any home exterior look classy and expensive. Timber siding fell out of popularity when vinyl was introduced, but modern technology has increased its functionality.

Wood siding is durable, natural, environmentally friendly, and easy to install or repair if necessary. Keep in mind that the cost of painting wood siding and the cost of the materials make wood siding much more costly than vinyl siding. One of the disadvantages of wood is that it can foster mold which if left untreated, can lead to rot and deterioration.

Proper maintenance such as power washing and resealing can prevent rot, but these projects require someone's time and effort.

If wood siding is your choice, there is a variety of types of wood siding to choose from. These include: pine, cedar, redwood, spruce, or fir. Since timber is regional, it might prove difficult to find the wood species you prefer at a cost you're willing to pay. A siding contractor will know which species selections are available in your area.


Fiber cement is the siding to look out for. It is a composite material made of sand, cement, and cellulose fibers. The most popular fiber cement siding is Hardiplank, but check with your siding contractor about other manufacturers.

Fiber cement siding looks like wood, but is much less expensive than natural wood and requires less maintenance. It's resistant to termites and fire, plus fiber cement doesn't buckle, warp, or rot.

Moisture resistance can be a concern with fiber cement, but it can be avoided if a home improvement contractor installs your siding properly. If you're willing to spring for cladding that looks good and functions as a great shield, fiber cement is probably the best option on the market.

For your home improvement project, you should look for a siding contractor who specializes in exterior design and will consider all the details: age of your home, local climate, maintenance needs, neighborhood aesthetics, city restrictions, and your personal style. A siding contract can help you determine the best material for your needs and install it professionally so there are no mistakes to pay for later.

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