What you need to know about siding your home


Our households dress in siding like a winter season coat, bundled up in cedar-verify plaids or vinyl stripes to endure the weather. And when that overcoat is on the lookout tattered — no matter whether your residence is clad in 100-calendar year-previous painted pine shingles, 60-year-previous asbestos-cement tiles, 50-calendar year-old aluminum, or 30-12 months-old vinyl — you could possibly entertain the strategy of replacing it with new siding.

It’s a challenging choice, simply because not like a roof — which, when it fails, desires to be changed pronto — “siding is extra of a want than a have to have,’’ stated John MacDonald, basic supervisor of REI Roofing & Siding in Holbrook. And as would like go, it’s not a affordable just one: The common price tag to replace 1,250 square feet of vinyl siding in the Boston space is $24,626, in accordance to Remodeling Magazine’s 2022 Price tag vs. Value Report.

But couple of other residence improvements have this kind of a extraordinary, immediate affect on control attraction. Owners can be expecting to recoup about 80 percent of a vinyl siding project’s charge at resale, according to the exact report, building it just one of the most economically satisfying advancements.

It’s also a single of the most confounding, due to the fact there are so several solutions. And as the first effect your house helps make on readers, siding is a high-stakes selection — one that, with any luck, will previous for numerous a long time. So here’s what to know ahead of choosing a spiffy new glance for your household.

Wood siding

In the modern-day market, residential siding choices can be simplified into two primary classes, mentioned Joseph Danz, president of Boston Exterior Reworking in West Roxbury. “There’s artificial siding, and there is real wood siding.’’ Houses have worn numerous species of wood around the years, but the two most important types of wood siding are pink and white cedar, both of those of which are in a natural way rot-resistant due to the fragrant tannic acids found in their heartwood.

Purple cedar, which grows out West, is a taller tree with a denser grain, so it can be applied for greater shingles, clapboards (these extended, horizontal strips), and shakes (equivalent to shingles, but with a thicker and rougher slice that offers them much more texture and heft). Jap white cedar, developed in destinations like Nova Scotia and Maine, is a smaller species employed largely for shingles — like the kinds you see on Nantucket.

Cedar is the most sustainable siding content out there, claimed Phil Kaplan, principal at Kaplan Thompson Architects in Portland, Maine, and co-host of the Environmentally friendly Architect’s Lounge podcast — at minimum, if it was harvested responsibly. He suggests inquiring for wooden licensed by the Forest Stewardship Council. “More people ought to definitely get started searching at FSC lumber,’’ he reported. “The cost quality is not as excellent as it made use of to be.’’ For the reason that Eastern white cedar is grown nearby, it has the minimum embodied carbon — that is, the emissions resulting from its harvest, output, and transportation to the job website — of any siding.

Cedar can come pre-stained or pre-handled with oils to lengthen its lifespan (if staining or painting, make guaranteed to coat all sides of a shingle or clapboard in advance of installation for most longevity). But even left untreated, cedar is tough. “Cedar shingles will past for 20, 25 several years on the wall if they’re untreated,’’ MacDonald reported. “If they are addressed, you are going to get even more time out of them.’’ Purple cedar tends to darken as it ages, even though white cedar typically fades to grey.

The principal downside? Cedar siding is expensive, particularly at the instant. Concerning COVID shutdowns and supply chain problems, MacDonald stated it is gotten pricier or even impossible to procure the product essential to side an full household in cedar. “Lumber yards have experienced a really tough time receiving that at a excellent selling price, so it’s not a little something you can definitely quotation these times,’’ he mentioned. “Because a lumberyard will only market you — if they even have it — a constrained amount, normally not adequate to do a whole residence.’’

There are a handful of more recent and niche wooden siding possibilities, way too, which includes some that depend on purely natural remedies to extend their lifespan. Acetylated wood, for instance, is dealt with with acetic anhydride (a a great deal stronger relative of vinegar), and torrefied wood is basically baked at extremely substantial temperatures to strip it of its energy, generating it a lot less inclined to pests and mold. “These efficiently wooden-based mostly products are a great deal more tough they do not rot,’’ Kaplan explained.

A worker installs panels beige siding on the facade of the house
.—Adobe Stock

Artificial siding

When it arrives to rot resistance, while, vinyl and other small-upkeep, non-normal supplies have received favor with homebuilders and home owners. In 2020, 72 percent of the new households built in New England had been sided with vinyl, according to census study information, compared with 16 p.c clad in the runner-up, wood.

And whilst classic vinyl siding — the ubiquitous double-rowed panels of 4-inch clapboards, seams and all — is the most reasonably priced siding option, “there are tiny methods of the trade to actually make vinyl glimpse not like vinyl,’’ Danz stated, such as using treatment to put on reliable window trims. “This is not the times where Sears utilized to walk all over the community and provide you thin vinyl siding that only arrived in 3 shades.’’

If a property owner can afford the enhance, Danz likes to use a solution termed Grayne: a cedar-seem artificial siding built from PVC. “It appears to be like like individual cedar shingles, but it will come in a panel,’’ he claimed. “The other nice point about it is it has 2 % waste and a Class A fireplace score — that’s unheard of.’’

As a vinyl update, MacDonald is a enthusiast of CertainTeed Cedar Impressions, which are created of PVC and arrive in a wide range of textures, dimensions, and colours. However, the sophisticated installation increases labor expenses and squander. “It’s a really distinct slash and nailing sample, so as a substitute of the 10 % squander component you have with wooden siding or fiber cement or vinyl clapboard, it is much more like a 20 percent waste variable,’’ he reported, specifically when set up on an outdated Victorian with nooks and crannies or diverse windows. “The labor is double the price [of standard vinyl siding], and then to acquire the content is almost 4 moments the price tag,’’ he reported.

Other composite siding choices contain TruExterior, designed from polymer and fly ash (a byproduct of coal combustion) Everlast, which is about 80 p.c PVC-centered resin blended with inorganic products (these types of as crushed stone or fly ash) and extended-lasting acrylic colorant and SmartSide, produced from strands of wooden dealt with with zinc borate and sure with wax and a non-PVC resin.

From a useful standpoint, yet another rationale Danz likes Grayne is that it is simple to take out if a homeowner would like to put on a deck or addition afterwards. “Everlast is a gorgeous item, but it has this locking mechanism the place they stack on prime of each individual other, so you cannot just take off a panel mid-wall,’’ he said.

An additional composite substance, fiber-cement siding, has grown hugely popular in the earlier two a long time. It ordinarily consists of cellulose, cement, and possibly sand or fly ash. That will make the merchandise sturdy if installed correctly, but also weighty and hard for contractors to function with. Fiber cement isn’t susceptible to insects, fire, or rot — and though it calls for much less upkeep than wood, it does often contact for a new coat of paint, which it holds effectively.

Some fiber-cement boards consist of silica dust, even so, which can be hazardous to installers when they slice it to size. And property owners have had combined effects with the solution CertainTeed paid out out more than $100 million to settle a course motion lawsuit alleging its fiber-cement siding warped and cracked prematurely.

“We never touch fiber-cement siding,’’ MacDonald mentioned. “It attracts a whole lot of dust, the solution breaks very easily — so at REI we just decide on not to use that solution.’’

“In center America, it appears to be to be alright, but in New England, it just gets eaten alive,’’ Danz agreed. “I’ve taken off much more cement board than I have at any time put on.’’

“Not all fiber cement is the same,’’ countered Andrew Bella, director of sales/Northeast location for James Hardie, perhaps the ideal recognized producer of fiber-cement products and solutions in New England. “Hardie fiber-cement merchandise have been especially engineered for local weather to stand up to harsh New England temperature, resisting harm from drinking water, pests, rot, high winds, temperature extremes, hail, and even hearth.’’

It is what’s beneath that counts

For all the attention paid out to siding, it’s the things underneath that definitely does the really hard operate of shielding your home from the elements. “All siding is sacrificial to some extent,’’ Kaplan explained. “The siding, in and of alone, is not the detail that retains the drinking water out.’’

That position falls on a climate barrier, these as a Tyvec or Typar household wrap, or a peel-and-stick membrane these as Vycor or BlueSkin, which is utilized in excess of the sheathing (the boards or plywood that comprise your exterior walls). “[The siding] efficiently safeguards the h2o barrier from direct exposure to the solar and rain in buy to preserve that drinking water barrier in fantastic form,’’ Kaplan mentioned.

That is just one cause Danz generally strips off aged siding in its place of setting up new materials right more than the aged. “You’re only as excellent as what you’re nailing anything to when you do those people go-overs,’’ Danz stated, and the previous siding could be hiding rotten sheathing or other issues. “We only have just one formula, where by we strip every thing down, repair the rot, incorporate Vycor.’’ (Danz prefers Vycor to BlueSkin because it is far more transparent, so he can see what is driving the membrane. But each products and solutions are a move up from common residence wrap, delivering air sealing in addition to h2o resistance.)

In cedar applications, in unique, there’s a single past essential undergarment: a rain monitor. Regardless of whether it is a mesh layer that sits at the rear of the shingles, or a sequence of thin strapping boards that develop an air channel at the rear of the clapboards, it’s very important to allow the siding to drain and dry out.

“It mainly generates a hole involving the siding and the drinking water-resistant barrier that makes it possible for airflow to get powering there, so you don’t have siding pushing right towards sheathing, where by it has a inclination to rot if it gets wet,’’ Kaplan mentioned. And the openings at the prime and bottom really should have precise screens on them, to hold bugs out.

Time to accessorize

Anybody who’s purchased a new coat is aware of it’s a very good celebration to decide up a matching hat or scarf, if there is area in the spending plan. In the same way, there are other home jobs that dovetail perfectly with new siding.

If you’re looking to up grade home windows, for instance, without having resorting to replacement windows (which include a body in the existing body, dishonest you out of precious daylight), a siding challenge is the opportune time to do it. It’s also a terrific time to get insulation blown into your partitions, one thing most Massachusetts people can get performed at a steep discount through Mass Help you save. “The most effective insulation you can have is constantly the stuff that goes in your walls,’’ Danz mentioned.

Soon after all, in New England, it doesn’t truly make any difference how great your new coat appears to be like if it does not maintain you warm and dry on a chilly January evening.

Jon Gorey blogs about homes at HouseandHammer.com. Send comments to [email protected]. Adhere to him on Twitter at @jongorey. Subscribe to our absolutely free true estate newsletter at pages.electronic mail.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp. Follow Tackle on Twitter @GlobeHomes.


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