Siding Replacement: The Right Material for the Right Climate and Price Point

One thing to consider when looking for siding replacement or installation is the material that will be used. Among the factors that come into play during the selection of material is the cost, the appearance of the house, the insulation and waterproofing needs of the house, and the climate that the house is exposed to. Each type of material possesses certain properties that make it ideal for certain climates or budgets.

Vinyl is a versatile material that is available in a variety of colors and textures. It is often used in newer homes and in older structures that are being retrofitted, sometimes being installed right on top of the old siding. It costs significantly less than most other types of sidings. As it becomes brittle in colder weather, it is vulnerable to siding damage when accidentally hit. That’s why vinyl sidings are recommended for humid, warm climates.

Developed primarily as a substitute for wood, aluminum siding started becoming popular at a time when wood was scarce. Since then, it has become a popular low-maintenance choice for newer homes. It is available in a range of patterns and prefinished colors. While aluminum is highly durable, some prefinished aluminum panels are prone to fading and runoff, staining whatever lies below. For this reason, aluminum is best suited for drier climates.

Wood Shingles
As could be expected with an organic material, wood is particularly susceptible to rot and insect infestation. Shingles treated with fire and insect retardants can last many years if maintained properly. Wood shingles installed over a flat surface covered with a waterproof membrane are ideal for more humid climates as they repel water and snow quite well.

This material is often associated with Spanish colonial architecture, and is one of the top choices for many home styles. While the old Southwest is known for a dry and warm climate, natural stucco has the ability to “breathe” or let air and moisture pass through. Synthetic stucco, on the other hand, will require the installation of a vapor plane to prevent the buildup of moisture inside the wall itself. If properly maintained, the need for siding replacement is drastically reduced.

While stone is naturally more expensive than all the other options mentioned above, it is one of the most durable and versatile materials in the market. Granite, slate, and limestone are impervious to the weather keeping away both heat and water very well. Stone keeps its shape and appearance decades after it was first installed, and the cost of maintenance is very minimal. If one can afford it and the house can support the added weight, stone is ideal for all kinds of weather.