On top of its durability and aesthetics, buildings with brick masonry can be better at cooling down during hot weather than framed and sided houses. Although brick siding will last the life of the building with very little maintenance, masonry eventually does deteriorate, generally at the mortar joints.
Related: How to Repoint Brick Walls
Today’s vinyl siding is weather- and insect-proof, fade-resistant, and virtually indestructible under normal circumstances. It also remains one of the cheapest materials to install, and comes in a range of colors and designs, even wood grain patterns. Vinyl siding does require some maintenance, however, because mold and grime can accumulate.
Related: How To Clean Vinyl Siding
Before settling on a wood species and grade, ask your builder about rot resistance, splitting, checking and cupping. While you can choose from a variety of wood siding options —pine, spruce, fir, cedar, redwood—not all may be suited to your region or climate. Proper maintenance includes power washing, staining and sealing whenever the heat of the sun fades the finish or moisture leads to mold or mildew.
Related: Wood Siding Options
If you love the classic look of wood siding but don't want to deal with the upkeep, then engineered wood is the choice for you. Both cheaper and easier to install, engineered wood is a great eco-friendly alternative to high-maintenance natural wood. The material does have one con, however—it’s prone to moisture invasion.
Stucco, which can last 50-80 years, has evolved from the standard white-washed model to a full range of textures and colors. Its breathability allows moisture to evaporate quickly, making it ideal for locations with normal precipitation, but poorly suited to rainy areas. While materials are not pricey, labor costs definitely can add up because stucco requires applying three coats.
Related: Stucco 101
Made from a mixture of Portland cement, lightweight aggregate and iron-oxide pigments, manufactured stone veneer products have become a popular siding option. While the look is a dead ringer and the cost of installation is considerably less than natural stone, the product does not offer the same durability as the real deal.
Related: Bob Vila Radio—Stone Walls
Fiber-cement siding—typically made from Portland cement, sand, and cellulose fibers—is impervious to wood-boring insects, rot, deterioration from salt and ultraviolet rays. It also carries a 1A fire rating and is available in a full range of wood-like lap and shingle styles and colors. After about 15 years, refinishing becomes necessary, but maintenance duties are otherwise light.
Related: Fiber Cement Siding 101
Aluminum siding has long been popular with coastal homeowners for its rust resistance. But its affordability and low maintenance make it a practical option for homes around the country. Aluminum, however, is prone to dents and dings. And over time it can lose its original luster, but nothing that a fresh coat of paint can't handle.
Related: How to Paint a House
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