Hudson Valley Home 2011: Siding

Long-lasting, economical, and eco-friendly — fiberglass siding is the next wave in outdoor home remodeling



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The siding used on homes in our area is usually made of vinyl, wood, or fiber-cement. Here are the pros and cons with each of these materials:

Vinyl

pro
• Least expensive of all options (from $6.50 to $9 per square foot installed)
• Little to no maintenance
• Handles moisture well
• Very wide range of colors, sizes, and textures
• Impervious to insects
• Easy installation and very “forgiving” of mistakes  made by do-it-yourselfers

con
• Cheaper varieties can look tacky
• Melts easily (at about 160 degrees F)
• Releases toxic gasses when burned
• Cracks and chips under strong hail
• Petroleum-based product that leaves a large carbon footprint

Wood

pro
• Organic and sustainable product
• Provides small amount of insulation against cold and heat (known as R-value)
• Looks natural – because it is

con

• Can be expensive ($12 to $20 per square foot installed)
• Requires frequent maintenance, painting/staining, and sealing
• Some varieties of wood are susceptible to bug infestations
• Can mold in damp weather
• Flammable

Fiber-cement

pro
• Long-lasting (up to 50 years)
• Insect resistant
• Fire resistant, though not fireproof
• Easily repainted and holds paint well

con
• More expensive than vinyl siding (about $10 per square foot installed)
• Requires regular caulking to remain waterproof
• Difficult to install because it’s heavy and fragile (a challenge for do-it-yourselfers)
• Contains crystalline silica, which has been found to cause cancer if breathed into the lungs; thus, special cutting tools are required to reduce silica dust during installation

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