How To Compare the Maintenance Requirements of Siding


When you are designing your new home or tackling a major renovation project the issue of siding is bound to come up. There are various choices for the exterior finish of your home, including vinyl, brick, stucco, wood and fiber cement siding. Consider a few different factors to make the very best decision for your home.

Appearance and Durability

Each type of siding has a distinct appearance. While wood and fiber cement siding offer charming warmth and a traditional feel, vinyl can be clean and bright and stucco offers a more modern appeal. The appearance of brick depends on the color and manufacturer, but it can range from a classic look to something more contemporary.

Each type of siding has a comparable level of durability, depending on how well it is installed and maintained. Professional installation is often key is presenting a durable finish on your house. Products such as brick, fiber cement siding and stucco are not designed for the DIY crowd. And even vinyl and wood siding are more difficult to install than many assume.

Taking Stock of the Maintenance Requirements

Every type of siding has some maintenance requirements, even sturdy brick and modern vinyl. The steps and work involved in maintenance will add to the overall cost of your siding and should be factored in when making the initial decision. Not all maintenance is created equal and the size and cost of these regular jobs will add up over time.

Brick Maintenance

Brick siding is often considered maintenance free. You may be surprised to find out that after a period of time, generally every ten years or so, the mortar in your bricks will need to be repointed. Mortar breaks down with exposure to cold, heat and moisture. If sizable gaps are formed between the bricks your walls may become unstable and bugs or small animals will find their way into your home.

You will need to hire a mason to do this work. It must be done when the weather is cooperative and can be a long, drawn out job depending on the size of your home. Although it is not a frequent occurrence, brick maintenance is costly in comparison with the other siding styles.

Wood Siding Maintenance

Wood siding is often chosen for the traditional warmth it creates, as well as the ability to be painted nearly any color of the rainbow. This ability creates a high level of maintenance though, since that paint will need to be freshened up every few years. Even paint or stain of the highest quality will fade and peel with time and exposure.

The time and labor involved in refinishing your wood siding can be intimidating. Those who attempt to tackle this maintenance task themselves will need to factor in the cost for renting equipment such as ladders and scaffolding. Safety may also be an issue, since a large part of your exterior walls is high in the air. Consider whether or not you can properly handle this job. Hiring a professional painting contractor to paint or stain your exterior wood siding is often a wise choice, allowing for a quick and professional finish.

Fiber Cement Siding Maintenance

This style of siding was designed to mimic different styles of wood siding. It often comes with a wood grain finish, but is prefinished from the factory. This allows you to skip the initial staining or painting. But the finish on fiber cement will not last forever. It fades with age and exposure to the weather. Refinishing is done in the same way as wood siding, with the same equipment needs and safety concerns.

Fiber cement often needs to be sealed as well, in order to provide a tight, energy efficient finish. The caulking used will likely deteriorate with time due to age, movement and exposure. It pays to use the highest quality caulking product that you can find, but even that will need to be repaired or replaced over time.

Stucco Siding

Stucco is generally pre-colored, meaning that no initial painting is required. But that color will fade over time and the stucco may need to be refinished. Sealing is another maintenance task that is required with this style of siding, protecting the finish from the elements.

Whether you need to refinish or seal this type of siding, the same safety and labor concerns apply. It is especially important to hire a professional contractor to paint or seal your stucco, as repairs due to carelessness or inexperience are difficult and can get very costly.

Vinyl Siding Maintenance

Most experts in the building industry would agree that vinyl siding requires the least amount of maintenance over the course of time. Because the color runs right through the vinyl, fading and scratches are not an issue. Vinyl holds up to the sun, wind and rain, as well as extreme temperatures in either direction.

Cleaning vinyl is easy. Simply take a hose and spray off the siding. You can attack a particularly stubborn stain with a scrub brush and mild soap - dish soap often works well and washes off easily.

Damage is a factor with any type of siding and all will require replacement if cracking, splitting or breakage occurs. Brick is perhaps the strongest choice and can withstand the largest amount of force, but it is also the most expensive option.

Many homeowners opt for a combination of siding materials. This lends character to their home and allows them to benefit from the strengths of each type. Routine maintenance must be done, no matter what the combination, in order to ensure durability and a beautiful exterior finish on your home.

When choosing which type of siding to install on your home it's important to understand the different levels of maintenance required. Bricks require repointing, while wood, stucco and fiber cement siding will all need to be refinished at some point. Vinyl stays true to its original color, but will need a wash down every once in awhile to stay clean and beautiful.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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