What are the most popular siding materials for homes?

  • Articles
  • May 30,22
It’s vital to identify the differences between siding materials to determine what’s right for a particular project, says Emily Newton.
What are the most popular siding materials for homes?

An excellent way to give a home a new look and upgrade the curb appeal is to install one of the many popular siding materials. It can be applied over an existing layer or completely replace what was there before.

New siding can improve the aesthetics, longevity and characteristics of a home. It can also add an extra layer of insulation for cold or warm climates. Many materials can be used for siding projects, each offering unique properties, benefits and sometimes drawbacks. 

It’s vital to identify the differences between siding materials to determine what’s right for a particular project.

What are the most popular siding materials?
Some of the most popular types of siding materials include:
- Vinyl
- Wood
- Fiber cement
- Stucco
- Stone-veneer or stone
- Aluminum or steel
- Brick

There are subsets of these siding material types, and while some of these materials are related — such as aluminum and steel — they are popular enough to deserve mention. Each kind offers pros and cons, and certain ones may be better for specific regions or climates thanks to their inherent properties.

New technologies introduce some unique prospects, as well. For instance, prefabrication or additive manufacturing is possible with certain materials, allowing for easier assembly, massive cost savings and innovative designs. 

Perhaps the most popular siding material is vinyl because it’s low-cost, low-maintenance and relatively easy to install. It comes in various colors, styles and themes, so one can personalize the appearance of their home any way they want.

Vinyl offers great all-weather protection, is incredibly durable, and is suitable for DIY projects or professional installs.

Wood siding materials carry the same properties as standard wood. They’re durable, offer decent elemental protection when treated, and come in many colors and styles. Wood siding is typically available in clapboard, which are thin planks akin to shakes or shingles.

Wood siding can be a bit more expensive than vinyl, but it’s still relatively cost-effective. It’s also worth noting that wood paneling or siding can be painted or stained after installation. Moreover, it’s considered high-maintenance and may require frequent care compared to other popular siding materials.

Fiber Cement
Fiber cement is a facade material consisting of many different ingredients like cement, water, sand, silica, wood pulp and more. It is cost-effective compared to stone, and unlike some other materials, it can be customized by altering the color, texture and overall design. In fact, it can replicate the look of wood and may even be used to emulate brick, cement and stone. This explains why it’s accepted for use in historic districts.

It’s also one of the few materials that excel in all climates, from dry, arid deserts to bitter winters to high humidity. It is considered one of the best for hot regions because it doesn’t warp, melt or crack like other materials.

Fiber cement is best installed by professionals. It’s not ideal for DIY projects.

Stucco is a facade material made up of a combination of ingredients, primarily building sand, cement, water and lime. It can last for a long time when properly applied, with only minor touchups required. However, the installation process can be complicated and involves using barrier paper and metal screening as a base or guide for the stucco spray.

It’s not considered cheap, but it’s not expensive either and occupies a solid middle ground. It works well in most climates, especially warm and dry regions.

Stone-Veneer or Stone
Stone and stone-veneer are natural materials that often have a much more organic look. However, it can be made of synthetic materials, too. Veneer and stone siding tend to be lightweight compared to their natural counterparts and are slimmed down for easier application.

Stone can be more expensive and requires additional prep and materials — like mortar — to be properly installed. It is one of the more costly popular siding materials, but it’s also incredibly durable. It can last for the lifetime of a home if installed correctly.

Aluminum or Steel
Aluminum and steel siding is designed and installed similarly to wood or vinyl paneling. It’s much more durable, requires little maintenance and is easy to clean. It comes in various styles and colors, and while more commonly installed in a horizontal pattern, it can also be applied in vertical strips.

Average costs are higher than wood or vinyl, and installation may be higher as well. However, the material will last for the lifetime of a home. Metal siding is suitable for nearly all climates but works best in cold or cool regions.

Genuine brick is made of fired clay and comes in a few different sizes, textures and colors. It can be shaped into thin dimensions to make application easier and more appealing. It is much more expensive than the other siding materials on the list, and professional installation costs may also be high because the process is labor-intensive. However, mortarless brick options are somewhat easier to install and more cost-efficient.

Appropriately installed bricks require little maintenance, are relatively easy to clean, and will last for the lifetime of a home or structure.

The Deciding Factor
The final question is which material is best for which project. Most of these popular siding materials would look great on every home, but they are often more suitable for a particular project, style or personality thanks to their unique properties.

An excellent approach to deciding which option is best is to consider factors like budget, climate and general longevity of the finished product. From there, it’s about finding a material that matches the style of the home and will enhance its curb appeal for many years to come.

About the author:
Emily Newton is a tech and industrial journalist and the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized Magazine. Subscribe to the Revolutionized newsletter for more content from Emily.

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