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What is siding made of?

 Have you ever wondered what siding on your home is made of? What options are out there? Which one is better than the other? What are the trade-offs?

Metal siding

From what we see here in Oklahoma City, the days of metal siding like aluminum for homes is pretty much gone.

Wood siding

Wood siding can be very attractive. However, you’ll have to paint or stain it on a regular basis, typically every three to four years. If you wait longer, the appearance will degrade quickly.

If you don’t paint it, you’re allowing the elements to get into the wood. And the paint wears off over time. So there’s definitely maintenance involved with wood siding.

Vinyl siding

Vinyl siding is the most popular option on the market currently. You don’t ever have to paint it, and it’s essentially a maintenance-free item. Many people choose vinyl siding because it’s an investment not only in the here and now, but also in the future. Unlike the other options, it requires essentially no maintenance.

Real estate investors like putting vinyl siding on. That keeps them from having to do as much maintenance on the home’s exterior. And appearance isn’t an issue, as there are a lot of choices for color.

A subset of vinyl siding is impact-resistant siding. This type of siding uses thicker vinyl and there is often a styrofoam lining that keeps the siding from bending when struck by hail or other objects. That keeps fractures from occurring.

Unfortunately, there is no advantage to impact resistant siding as far as insurance goes.

Fiber cement siding

Fiber cement siding—a.k.a. cement fiberboard—doesn’t degrade or decay as quickly as other types of siding. It’s a longer lasting product overall. Think about the effect of water on cement versus wood. Wood will degrade at a much faster rate than cement will.

Fiber cement siding is made of a composite of cement reinforced with cellulose fibers. In years past, asbestos was used as the reinforcing material, but that hasn’t been the case since the 1980s.

Of all these options, the best is cement fiberboard, then vinyl, then wood. That’s also the way the prices will work out, unless you get the impact resistant siding.

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