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Siding Buying Guide

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New siding installation provides several benefits to your home. Aesthetically, it gives your home a new makeover that increases value and makes it more appealing to prospective homebuyers should you decide to sell. On the other end of the spectrum, it also protects your home’s structure from negative affects such as insect infestations, moisture, mold and mildew growth that could have severe ramifications on your home’s underlying structure.

Types of Siding

There are many types of materials used for siding a house. Below you will discover the most common types used in residential construction:

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is by far the most popular siding material due to its low price, wide range of colors, and easier installation. The low-maintenance material does not require painting, does not warp, twist and repels both insects and water. However, it can crack, melt, and burn in extremely warm temperatures. Wood grain integrated into the material’s surface gives it the appearance of wood, though it falls short of the real thing.

Before you choose vinyl or other siding materials for your home, you should consider the overall architecture of your neighborhood. For example, you could diminish your property value by installing vinyl siding in a neighborhood where wood siding is dominate.

Plastic Siding

Plastic siding often takes the form of shingles or shakes designed to mimic cedar. Similar to vinyl siding, plastic requires minimal upkeep and does not require painting. Plastic siding is more expensive than vinyl siding but is thicker and more impact resistant in cold weather.

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement siding is a blend of concrete, sand, and cellulose fabricated with wood-like characteristics. Fiber cement is resistant to insects and fire. The material is sold pre-primed with a pre-painted option available at a higher material cost. Although its painted surface offers versatility in home decor, it also presents a problem should you allow the paint to fail. Fiber cement siding can succumb to water and moisture damage during freezes, thaws, and rainy seasons due to improperly sealed surfaces.

Wood Siding

Wood carries the highest price tag of the ones mentioned here. Available in shingles, clapboard, as well as cedar sheathing, its beauty is superior to most siding types. Wood is impact resistant but can warp, twist, and burn. In addition, it is vulnerable to insect infestation like termites, wood rot, and moisture when not maintained properly. You can paint or stain wood siding but with either choice you must maintain the surface with periodic refinishing or painting to protect it.

Determine the Amount of Siding Area

Although your siding contractor will measure how much siding your home needs, you can achieve a rough estimate yourself. A quick way to determine how many squares — one square represents 100 square feet– of siding you will need to purchase is as follows. Measure and multiply the height times the width of all rectangular sections of your home in feet to determine square footage. Do not subtract window and door openings to allow for waste. Next, measure and multiply height and width of gable ends and any other triangular areas and divide the total by two. Add all of the totals together and divide by 100. The resulting sum will be the number of squares of siding you will need for your project. In addition, you can use one of the many free online calculators by clicking here.

buying guide siding

Hire a Siding Contractor

Because siding installation is labor intensive, a licensed contractor is recommended. It is to your advantage to select a reputable contractor experienced with siding installation. A licensed siding contractor will have the necessary insurance to cover the installation, materials, and labor.

For any contractor you contact, request a written estimate that is inclusive of all the costs involved which includes removal and disposal of old siding and other job related debris. All estimates should be signed and dated. To eliminate confusion regarding contract details, clearly outline the scope of the work, the contractor’s warranty, and how long the warranty is in effect.

In addition, it is recommended that you check with any local government office that has information about licensed contractors as well as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for contractors regarding past or present complaints.

While many contractors claim to have the necessary license, insurance, certification, and the experience to install new siding, some may not meet the necessary requirements for completing the installation properly. It is to your benefit before entering into a contract that you verify the contractor’s legitimacy.

Maintain Your New Siding

Proper care and maintenance of your new siding will help to extend its useful life as well as avoid additional damage to your home should it fail. Periodic cleaning and inspection will help you identify areas that may need attention. Simple caulking and painting, especially in high moisture climates, could save you hundreds of dollars in structural repairs.

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