Siding is your home’s “skin”. As such, it’s integral to curb appeal, collective aesthetics, and resale value. From a functional perspective, home siding is the first line of defense against the weather, and it’s integral to your home’s wall assembly. Also, depending on the size of your home, siding can comprise a significant part of your budget.
Nowadays there are many different siding types to consider, which is another reason why choosing the right siding is so important. From stucco, aluminum, and stainless steel to vinyl, ceramic tile, and stone veneer, a variety of styles are at your disposal depending on climate, home style/age, and budget.
First thing’s first: before you shop for siding, determine how much you want to pay. If your budget is limited, then vinyl siding is a good option, as are wood, fiber cement, and metal. Homeowners with larger budgets can broaden their search to include brick, brick veneer, stone/stone veneer, and premium vinyl siding, which is more durable, more stylish, and more customizable than standard vinyl siding.
Our siding contractors understand the important role climate plays in the decision of which siding type to pursue. In a four-season climate such as we have in Chicago, vinyl is a sound option. The vinyl siding of yesteryear was subject to fading, but 21st-century vinyl is specially treated so that fading is negligible. Wood siding is another versatile option, especially cedar and its naturally water-resistant temperament. Other woods perform better in dry/moderate climates. Bear in mind though that considerable maintenance is required with wood siding, not least of which is regular sealing to keep moisture out and prevent mold and rot.
Stucco absorbs water, so it isn’t ideal for wet climates or high-humidity areas. Brick and stone siding options look fantastic and are very durable, but their weakness is water and frost. Left untreated, these materials will crack as a result of the freeze/thaw/freeze cycle.
Some homeowners don’t mind engaging in regular maintenance of their home’s various components. For other homeowners, the less maintenance the better. Where you fall on this spectrum can also depend on your home’s age: if it’s a 1950s bungalow that requires consistent TLC, you might not want to add siding to your list of to-dos.
The siding options on the lowest end of the maintenance scale are aluminum, steel, and vinyl. These materials are practically maintenance-free, requiring only a yearly inspection for cracks and loose siding, along with washing if/when needed. Brick and stone don’t require much maintenance either, aside from annual checks for loose caulk and cracked mortar. In the minds of most exterior siding contractors, highest on the maintenance scale are wood, stucco, and fiber cement.