Today we’re going to be talking about fibre cement, composite, and vinyl siding, discussing the big three in preferred home siding choices.
Why do these products occupy the top three positions? Because they all satisfy what most homeowners desire in a siding— that being relative good looks, low maintenance, and low cost, or somewhat coincidentally, the same qualities one might look for in a mate if you’re a balding, middle-aged fellow who’s had little luck cruising the dating sites.
Are these sidings to be viewed as somewhat lesser than? Absolutely not.
They may not carry the same prestige as stone or brick, but when you consider price and longevity, they’re definitely the homeowner’s best value.
What about real wood siding?
Choosing real wood siding is like dating a member of the Kardashian family— essentially, beauty with an extreme price tag, along with a tonne of maintenance.
Why choose a fibre cement siding?
The grain of a fibre cement plank has been designed to duplicate cedar, which results in a look and texture that is very familiar, and quite traditional. Plus, it’s a 90 per cent sand and concrete mix, which essentially makes it fireproof and extremely durable in extreme-weather conditions, carrying a 50-year warranty.
At three pounds per square foot of coverage, fibre cement is the heaviest of the big three, and just feels solid to the touch, which will be comforting for the homeowner.
Cons to fibre cement?
Although the homeowner will love the elements of weight and rigidity, your contractor is going to hate you for it, which may result in a few more complaints, a few more hired hands, and two extra Tims runs per day.
Fibre cement installs like a wood product, using trim planks (also made of concrete) around windows and doors, as well as for outside corners, instead of J-trims and other pre-bent support moldings.
Last thing to know about fibre cement, it’s a painted product (15-year warranty), which of course means you may have to paint it again one day.
Composite sidings are products such as Canexel or Goodstyle, and are a mixture of wood fibres and various bonding agents. The raison d’être, and/or selling feature of these two composites is they provide the homeowner with a product that looks and feels like wood, without all the headaches of a real wood siding, including warping, cracking, or rot.
Essentially, Kardashian looks without having to escort them through a day of shopping for makeup, getting their hair styled, and trying on yoga wear.
Available in a variety of both solid and stained colours, composite sidings come with a similar warranty to fibre cement— 15 years on the finish, and up to 50 years on the product itself.
Why choose a composite product?
It’s the closest thing to real wood in both texture and stain. Because composites are basically real wood products that have simply been shredded up and re-glued back together again, they cut, nail, and are an easy carry, just like wood. As a result, composites are a very install-friendly product.
Composite wood sidings can be installed in a manner similar to wood, using matching trim boards for around windows and for use on the corners, followed by a bead of caulking along the seams and joints, in true ‘old school’ wood-siding mode.
Or, for a cleaner look, and what would be my recommendation, is to forgo the caulking and instead use the appropriate J-trims and joiner clip-type moldings.
Next, vinyl siding.
Definitely the least expensive option of the three, except for the heavier shingle, accent type of profiles, vinyl siding wins hands down as the best value product in home building.
Essentially, for under a buck per square foot, you’ll be investing in a siding that’ll require basically zero maintenance, and will last forever, or until which time the olive-green colour you chose in the mid-80s drives you mad.
Vinyl siding foe? Only one: a back deck barbecue in close proximity.