The exterior cladding or finishing material of your home has more than just an esthetic value – it is what will protect your home’s structure from the elements, keep critters away and keep you warm and dry on the inside. The kind of cladding you choose will depend on the climate in which you live, your personal style and taste and also on your pocket book. In general, the colder the climate, the more durable a cladding you will want to select for your dwelling.
There are a number of materials that can be used as the exterior cladding for your home. Ranging in choice from natural wood to brick and stone to composite and vinyl, aluminum and metal, the choice is large. Aside from climate and cost, other factors that might play into your decision can include maintenance, durability and environmental impact.
If you are looking for a small eco footprint, then either natural wood, composite or brick and stone would be your best bets. However, bear in mind that when it comes to natural wood and composite, maintenance is quite high and the siding will not last as long as other options. It is also more susceptible to mold, rot and insects. Cedar siding is longer lasting and requires less maintenance and last longer but it will weather to a grey finish that isn’t necessarily pleasing to everyone. When it comes to brick and stone, although the production of these materials is clean, the extraction process isn’t and they are among the more costly options on the list. However, maintenance is very low and it will last for decades.
Some of the more common exterior cladding choices on the market are vinyl and aluminium siding. They are relatively cost effective and highly durable, but they can leave a much larger environmental impact given their production process. Vinyl siding is especially affordable and easy to work with, although it won’t last as long as some other options. Aluminum siding is another very good option, but it is usually used for upper floors because it has a tendency to warp easily when dinged.
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Lastly, be sure to always check with your municipality’s by-laws concerning external cladding as some materials can be frowned upon