How to Buy Siding
Siding is a comparatively inexpensive way to give a home a fresh makeover. New siding is relatively easily to install and may even result in lower energy bills if additional insulation is also installed.
The broad range of products, however, can make selecting the right siding and contractor something of a challenge. In doing research, consumers should ask:
- What's the best material for my home?
- What features should I insist upon?
- Which brand best meets my needs?
- How much will it cost?
Choosing the Best Material
Siding is produced in vinyl, fiber cement, stucco, wood, steel, and aluminum. The manufacturing of asbestos siding has been discontinued but the material remains on older homes. Consumers will want to keep in mind the amount of sunlight, snow, rain, hail, hurricanes, storms, and wind their area gets. The climate -- more than any other factor -- will likely determine which material is best suited for their home. For example, vinyl or cement siding is a better choice than wood or steel in coastal environments because damp, salty air causes wood to rot and steel to rust.
Consumers have many choices in colors and color-application method. Choices include factory-applied and baked-on finishes on steel siding; pre-colored vinyl extruded in the shape of siding planks; or paint applied on wood or cement siding at the home site.
The method used to lock vinyl siding planks together is important as they can suffer a lot of stress in high-winds. Most manufacturers promote innovative, patent-pending systems but these usually offer only slight variations on a standard model. Other features to look for in vinyl siding are double nailing hems for increased resistance, and foam backing that provide insulation.
Which Brand Meets Your Needs?
Consumers should ask questions regarding the quality and durability of the product such as how long before the color fades, and whether the planks will dent or chip from hail. A siding installer or salesperson should also provide information specific warranty information and product features about any brand they are recommending.
Ratings systems for siding vary by the material. Vinyl siding is rated by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Applicable standards include ASTM E119 or ASTM D3679, both of which relate to the fire endurance of the material. Fiber cement and stucco siding are also rated for fire resistance by the ASTM. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Hardboard Association (AHA) provide ratings for engineered wood siding. Cedar shakes and shingles with a Certi-Label™ have been manufactured by experienced professionals in the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau. The Aluminum Association and ASTM have developed standards and rating systems for this siding material which include a variety of qualities such as color fading, cracking, or peeling.
How Much Will It Cost?
Homeowners who want to undertake the siding installation themselves should start by doing research regarding the skills and special tools needed, materials available, permits required, and the costs. Vinyl siding do-it-yourself panels cost approximately $1 per square foot, so a 2,000 square foot home would have a $2,000 price tag for materials. Good-grade cedar wood siding sells for approximately $4 per square foot so a house of the same size would cost $8,000 in materials alone.
Consumers are always wise to get three estimates prior to hiring any contractor. In the case of siding installation, make sure the estimates include costs such as: removal of existing covering, clean up, and hauling (if appropriate); all new materials such as siding, trim, insulation, soffits, facia, and window openings/trim; labor and custom work; as well as all applicable local, state, and federal taxes and permit fees.
- LP Siding
- MaxiTile, Inc.
- Nichiha USA