The exterior of your house plays multiple roles. It protects the inside of your house from the elements and it provides curb appeal. It's the first thing people see when they drive up to your house. Deciding on the materials you use for the siding will make a big difference in how your house looks and how it functions.
The two most popular siding materials are vinyl and fiber cement. Each has its pros and cons, so here are a few factors to keep in mind when deciding which is right for you.
What Are They Actually Made Of?
Vinyl is composed of a plastic material called PVC that expands and contracts to adapt to changing temperatures. It is the number one choice of siding in the United States.
Fiber cement siding is a mixture of wood pulp and cement that is formed into boards or shingles and attached with nails to the outside of your house.
How Durable Are They?
Both cement and vinyl siding are incredibly durable and can last for up to 50 years. Once you install them, you won't have to worry about replacing them for a very long time.
The only drawback with cement is that it absorbs moisture. If you live near water, this could eventually lead to damage, but for the most part it will still last a long time. In fact, a lot of fiber cement products come with a lifetime guarantee.
A few great qualities about fiber cement is that it doesn't fade in the sun, the individual pieces don't randomly fall off due to expanding and contracting and it won't crack when struck by something hard.
If something hard hits vinyl siding, it can result in cracks or even missing chunks. Fortunately the panels can be snapped in and out, but finding the same exact color can be difficult, especially if they've been in for a while and experienced fading.
Vinyl siding has other risks in that with the expanding and contracting comes the possibility of gaps in coverage where water can get in, especially if you live in an area that experiences a lot of wind and rain. If this leak goes unnoticed for too long, the repairs could be extensive.
How Much Maintenance Is Required?
Maintenance is an important factor when choosing siding materials. The less time you spend repairing the outside of your home, the more time you can spend on the inside.
Vinyl is known for its low maintenance because it doesn't have to be repainted due to wear and tear. This quality is great for those not wanting to spend the time and energy painting the outside of their house every few years. A little bit of soap and water is usually all you need to keep it looking new.
Fiber cement requires a little more maintenance. It will need to be repainted every 15 years or so, and the caulking should be checked, and repaired if necessary, every year.
How Good Are They for the Environment?
Vinyl siding is made of plastic, which means both making it and disposing of it are bad for the environment. While it doesn't require any trees to be cut down to make vinyl siding, forming this type of plastic releases chemicals into the air. And when you're ready to replace vinyl boards, they will end up in the landfill because they are difficult to recycle and they don't decompose.
Fiber cement, on the other hand, is made mostly of wood waste. This means you don't have to cut down trees to make it, it doesn't release toxic gases into the air and you can easily dispose of it, making it the more environmentally friendly option.
Fiber cement and vinyl are the best options when it comes to choosing the siding on your house. Remember these pros and cons when you're making this decision, decide what is most important to you and if you have any further questions, give us a call over at AAC Building Materials. We are sure to meet all of your home improvement needs.