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Wall cladding: siding and masonry veneers

»Wall cladding: siding and masonry veneers

Wall cladding: siding and masonry veneers

April 22, 2020| Lester Yat

How to choose between siding (vinyl, fiber cement, wood) and masonry veneer (stone, brick, stucco)?

Like it or not, a building’s exterior surface speaks volumes to all who pass by — and if that surface is faded, dingy, dirty or damaged, the message sent about the building, its residents and management is a negative one.

But there’s no way around it: wood clapboards, vinyl siding, even seemingly solid stucco, will eventually show their age. Wood may splinter or warp; vinyl may fade or crack; stucco may flake and peel. At some point, building boards and managers will realize that it’s time to bite the bullet, give up on the never-ending rounds of maintenance, and replace the well-aged cladding.

That gives rise to the quandary: What’s the best material to install today in order to give a building the bright, new look that will make residents happy to call it home?

Unfortunately, as with so many things in life (and in construction), there’s no single or easy answer. Every material has pros and cons, costs and benefits to weigh — and the considerations go beyond the building’s skin-deep beauty. Factors to consider include ease of maintenance, fire resistance and anticipated lifespan.

As owners and Boards debate ways to get the biggest bang for the buck, questions that arise can include: What’s the material’s track record? How much will regular maintenance cost? Is the product environmentally-friendly?

To help with those discussions, here’s a simple chart laying out the good, the bad, and the potential price tag of several popular cladding options today.

What is insulated siding?

Well, it basically takes the normal siding approach and makes it more effective in terms of home insulation and siding support. It involves expanded polystyrene that fit the different contours of siding panel that are on a house/building.

The effects are even greater: it provides outstanding insulating properties that are five times higher than the average of conventional insulation. The benefit for the people inside the house may be even more remarkable, whereas the insulation creates a cozier atmosphere that adds strength and an instant thermal improvement. And as the temperature in the home becomes more adequate, so will the dollars that pile up in your wallet.

The best bet is to consult a professional installer, to find out all the information relating to the advantages and disadvantages of insulated siding.

Maintenance tips for siding?

There are certain do’s and don’ts, when it comes to keeping siding in top shape without destroying the material or minimizing its life.

One thing any owner or maintenance crew can do is wash the siding. A project that can be done a couple times a year, it helps get rid of dirt and grime that builds up over time. The key is to wash the residue before buildup forms and then it becomes a huge, laborious project.

Another tip is pretty self-explanatory: take care of it. Don’t let your kids ram their bikes into the siding, and watch not to accidentally brush up against it with your car or golf clubs or what not. While siding like vinyl doesn’t dent, it can crack or break — especially if you live in a colder climate. Also, be careful not to leave grills or other hot material near siding because it may melt the siding.

And, finally, it’s important to not only check out the siding from time to time, but also to inspect it. This means getting close to the siding and checking for moisture, dirt or grime that has accumulated and is not seen by the naked eye from a distance. Inspecting may conclude in the discovery of leaks, which may lead to staining or streaking — an even bigger problem because that may say bigger problems are ahead. Nails or screws that may be loose might give you a hint that other problems are awry.

Extreme maintenance is not warranted in most cases, but it’s important to check up on and inspect siding every once in a while for the most positive results.

How to pick the right siding for your home?

Let’s face it: looks are everything in our society.   Whether you are a big timer in the corporate world or a talented athlete or a supermodel, appearance means a lot – whether we like it or not. The same thing applies to inanimate objects like, say, your home.

That’s right. The interior and exterior of a house says a lot about who you are, and it gives others a glimpse into the kind of person(s) living in such a place. If you are driving down a street and see a rundown home that is not taken care of, you are bound to make some assumptions about the people who live or own that house.

And when it comes to the exterior siding of a home, the options are plentiful.

First, people have to know what they want in terms of water resistance, ease of installation, energy efficiency, aesthetics, versatility and durability. It is ultimately up to personal taste, though, as to how the siding will add character to your home.

Siding, after all, adds color and definition to any home. But beyond how something looks is how it performs, so the person with the most beautiful siding may also have siding that is not as durable or was a pain to install.

The good part is that there are many different types of wall cladding to choose from, including: Siding -vinyl, wood, fiber cement, PVC (like a vinyl-plastic combination), or Masonry Veneers -brick, stucco and stone.

Fiber-cement siding has gained popularity over the years due to its affordability, low maintenance, and how it is anti-flammable and prevents termites. Available in a wide array of styles and textures, fiber-cement siding may pose problems that result from high levels of moisture. Older homes may also need more construction if fiber-cement siding is to be used.

Stone siding, like granite or limestone, presents a visually appealing look to a home’s exterior. Stone is on the higher end of the price spectrum due to the materials needed, as well as the possible difficulties associated with adding stone to an existing exterior. However, stone-veneer siding may be more cost affordable and comes in both natural and synthetic forms. Also, stone siding should last an almost infinite amount on most houses.