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Your Options For Exterior Siding

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Exterior siding does more than give your home plenty of curb appeal. It also provides a protective barrier against rain, snow, wind, and anything else Mother Nature throws at it. Whether you're building a new home or renovating your old one, chances are you want siding that offers great protection as well as great look.

Siding comes in a wide array of materials, each one with its own set of advantages and drawbacks. The following lists some of the more popular siding options as well as their unique pros and cons.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is perhaps one of the most popular types of siding available in the United States and for good reason. Made from PVC resins, vinyl siding is exceptionally durable and long-lasting. This makes it a great choice for homeowners who want siding with great looks but without the hassle of constant cleaning and upkeep. It's also one of the cheapest options for siding, with prices as low as $1 per square foot for DIY vinyl siding panels, according to CostHelper.

There are a few downsides to vinyl siding, however. Many homeowners dislike the "plastic" appearance of vinyl siding, despite it being able to mimic the looks of other siding types. Vinyl siding can also fade due to UV ray exposure, and certain varieties of vinyl siding can be difficult to paint over without ruining its appearance. Vinyl panels also have the potential to bend and crack under severe weather conditions.

Stucco Siding

Stucco siding is an ideal choice if you want to emulate that classic Mediterranean or Spanish mission-style appearance for your home. Made from mixture of Portland cement, building sand, lime, and water, stucco siding provides moisture-resistant and fire-resistant cladding for the average home. Stucco siding typically costs $6 to $9 per square foot to install.

Unfortunately, stucco siding has its fair share of downsides. For starters, stucco isn't suited to homes built in earthquake-prone areas due to its brittleness. Older homes with foundation issues may also suffer siding damage. In rainy climates, stucco siding can become oversaturated and lose its ability to repel moisture, resulting in potential water damage to wood and other building materials.

Fiber-Cement Siding

Fiber-cement siding emulates the look and feel of wood clapboard and masonry but at a lower cost. Like stucco, fiber-cement siding is also resistant to fire damage and termites, giving it excellent durability and longevity. Fiber-cement siding also offers better performance than ordinary vinyl siding in cold climates. At $4 to $9 per square foot, the cost of installing fiber-cement siding is roughly comparable to that of stucco siding.

Unlike vinyl siding, where you'll have the option of painting or leaving panels bare, fiber-cement siding panels must be re-painted on a regular basis in order to keep it in good condition. The installation process can also be time-consuming and it requires plenty of skill, making it unsuitable as a DIY project for many homeowners.

Stone Veneer Siding

Stone veneer siding is a great way of replicating the timeless appearance of stone without spending a fortune. Stone veneer offers the look and feel of natural stone at a significantly lower cost and a much shorter and easier installation process. In addition to delivering excellent aesthetics, stone veneer siding also offers impressive longevity and durability.

Cost is one of the main detractors for stone veneer siding. While it's still much cheaper than natural stone, it remains relatively expensive compared to other types of siding. According to CostOwl, stone veneer siding costs $10 to $15 per square foot, compared to upwards of $30 per square foot for genuine stone. Stone siding also requires a greater level of care to prevent moisture intrusion.