Your Complete Guide to House Siding

Home with blue siding.

What are house siding options?

Whether you’re having a new home built or updating your current home, the exterior siding will make the appearance everything you want it to be.  You’ll choose a siding in the right color and texture, longevity, and budget, and most of all one that offers easy siding repair

Whether or not you have kids yourself, there are baseballs and footballs to be found in any neighborhood, along with hail storms and tree limbs, all of which can damage your siding. Repairs should be easy to do though, and with the right choice in siding, they are. 

What are the different types of siding for a house?

Over the years, we have seen many different types of siding materials come and go, but there are a few that have stayed, taking a sidestep for newcomers only to return to the spotlight again later. Here, we provide four that are long-lasting and likely to be here forever: 

  • Wood Siding: Most of us would agree this makes the most attractive siding in wood boards, panels, planks, or shingles. Wood is the most natural and with clapboard lap siding, it brings the historic beauty out in older homes. 

It’s available in a variety of finishes, styles, and textures, whether it is beveled, clapboard, horizontal with overlapping joints, or a wood plank or board among many other choices. When it comes to siding repairs, wood siding is easy to repair.  

  • Metal Siding: Whether you choose aluminum and steel, these are the best options when homeowners are looking for a low maintenance material, with aluminum first on the market. Installed horizontally to resemble wood lap siding, it comes with a top mounting flange and an interlocking edge on the bottom for weatherizing. It’s available in a wide range of styles from horizontal and vertical strips to shingles, looking just like wood siding. It also comes from the factory in a corrosion-resistant paint or unfinished galvanized finish for corrosion resistance.

Metal siding can be installed over wood siding, and is durable, but will fade and become chalky with age.  Some metal sidings come with a coating of plastic or vinyl, giving it more fade and weather resistance. It does dent easily, but siding repair is possible by replacing the section that dents. 

  • Vinyl Siding: A low-cost and low-maintenance siding that is an evolution of metal siding, this choice comes in strips and interlocking edges. It requires a special tool for installing. With a range of horizontal and vertical styles, colors, and textures, it is good for retrofitting over old wood siding. 

Prone to cracking in cold temperatures with any impact. Easily buckles or warps with improper installation. It is a low to a mid-cost option that requires minimal maintenance, making it a popular choice among homeowners and flippers. 

  • Fiber Cement: In residential siding, fiber cement is the latest craze and there isn’t any sign of it going away. A durable material that is low-maintenance, it’s made from recyclable materials and is energy efficient. It installs like wood siding and has the closest emulation of natural wood. 

This choice can be painted to match any architectural styling and is available in beveled planks, shakes, or shingles, or even a stucco-panel style. Insect and rot-resistant, it’s a virtually maintenance-free siding that still comes at a moderate price. 

What is the best house siding material?

Looking at the different types of siding, fiber cement siding may be the winner here. It’s a composite material made from compressed cellulose and cement fiber to form different siding products. The benefits of this siding will outweigh any issues: 

  • Resistant to moisture and rot: Ideal for coastal areas homes where flooding, hurricane, and storms are commonplace. Stands up to saltwater and high winds better than other siding options. 
  • Non-combustible: Fiber cement siding is impervious to fire, so much so that you may get a discount on your homeowner’s insurance. 
  • Pest resistant: For a home in the woods, fiber cement siding is resistant to squirrels, woodpeckers, and termites.
  • Weather resistant: Flying debris and hailstones are nothing for fiber cement siding. It doesn’t crack, shrink, or swell. 

A downside to fiber cement siding is it isn’t a DIY material. Specific tools are required for installing, which will make some siding repairs a challenge for DIY. Because it is a durable material though, siding repairs are infrequent. 

Is vinyl siding better than wood?

Your home’s exterior is important, and the more well-maintained it is, the more the value is enhanced. Curb appeal is everything which is why you need to consider both good and bad about what type of siding you choose. Aspects to consider are: 

  • Appearance

Both vinyl and wood siding comes in different styles so you can customize your home. Wood is the more versatile of the two. 

  • Energy-Efficiency

Wood siding without additional insulation is a tad more energy-efficient with an R-value up to 0.87 versus vinyl siding without insulation 0.67. However, adding foam insulation to vinyl siding will give you an R-value of 4, but insulation is not encouraged in moist climates. 

  • Installation

Vinyl siding installs easier and faster, with no need to sand, prime, or paint it. Wood siding takes longer to install though, as it must be primed and painted first.

  • The Costs

Vinyl is the less expensive at $2 a square foot versus wood siding at  $7 on average. A 1,500-square-foot home will cost up to $7,000 in vinyl siding and $11,000 in wood siding. 

  • Maintenance

No siding is going to be 100% maintenance-free, but vinyl will require less maintenance than wood siding with wood siding needing to be repainted from time to time. Knowing when to clean house siding is as important as the painting and siding repairs. 

  • Durability

With regular maintenance and upkeep, wood siding will last up to 40 years or longer, and vinyl siding approximately 40 years or longer without maintenance.

  • Pests

When it comes to pest resistance, vinyl siding wins over wood siding, although there is wood siding available today that isn’t as vulnerable as it has been in the past. With vinyl siding, pests enter in gaps between and underneath causing damage that is less noticeable.

Other aspects to consider with vinyl siding versus wood siding are soundproofing, temperatures, environmental concerns, and most of all resale value. Wood siding will give you a higher resale value than vinyl siding. 

How long does siding on a house last?

Like anything, the quality of the material and the quality of the installation will determine the lifespan of your siding.  With high-quality material and experienced installation, you could have up to 60 years before you need to replace your siding. This also requires that as the homeowner you maintain it, making siding repairs as needed. 

So, how do you know when to replace house siding? If your siding has cracked or is coming loose in several places, siding repair may not be adequate. When more than one board or strip has to be replaced, it may be time to get new siding installed. 

With wood siding, fading, and peeling are key indicators for replacing it, and replacement is standard after around 10 years. With any siding that has begun to rot or warp, siding repair isn’t sufficient – it needs to be replaced. With a little dent damage here and a hole there, siding repair is possible, but when there are several of these issues, replacement is the best solution. 

How do you calculate square footage for siding?

New siding will be ordered by “squares” so you’ll need to convert your measurements accordingly. Begin by measuring the height and width of walls that are rectangular and square. With one square of siding equals 100 square feet, you’ll multiply the height by the width and divide by 100 to get the total number of “squares” needed.

Can house siding be painted?

Wood siding will have to be repainted every 5 to 7 years.  Vinyl siding can be painted, albeit with some prep work first. But do remember, once you paint it, it will need repainting again. This is why many choose vinyl siding – so they don’t have to paint!  

Home with white siding behind a flower bed.

In Closing

From our piece here, you can see there are many house siding benefits to be enjoyed no matter which material you choose. There are also cons for any siding as well. Compare and determine the best one for you and the future. Ready to learn more, or is it time to schedule siding repair in Austin, TX? Give the Freetail Roofing team a call at (512) 299-6576!