When everything is functioning as they should, the home is a veritable fortress against the elements, heat loss, and even against unwanted intruders. However, it only takes one thing going wrong for that to change. That is why home maintenance is one of the most important components of property ownership and management—as the proper care and upkeep of the home can prevent serious problems and dramatically reduce long-term costs. Siding assists with insulation and provides protection much the like the roof does for the top of your house. As with any home feature, choosing the best and highest quality materials is critically important. Homeowners usually seek siding options that will last a long time, while requiring as little yearly maintenance as possible.
With so many siding options available, it can be difficult to determine the best low maintenance choice that matches your needs. For this reason, we’re going to walk through how to compare and contrast the care and upkeep for some of the most popular siding options available today.
What to Look for With Maintenance
Before we can compare different siding options, we need to cover what low maintenance actually looks like—considering your needs as a homeowner. Depending on where you live, some options can perform worse or better than others. Regardless of your geographic location, you need siding that offers optimal performance in the following categories:
- Weather resistance: This is the most important factor to consider when buying siding. Weather affects everyone differently depending on your location. In the Midwest, the weather is intense. Homeowners should consider materials that stand strong in high winds from tornadoes, thunderstorms, heavy rain, blizzards and ice storms. All in all, your chosen siding needs to have the ability to withstand the weather patterns common to your location.
- Moisture retention: Your siding will get wet from time to time. However, the real concern is moisture retention. If the siding holds its water too long, then problems such as warping, expansion, and rot can negatively affect your siding.
- Sun: UV rays can wash out the color and finish off your siding. The good news is some siding options are more resistant to this effect than others. Unless you want to invest in repainting every 3-5 years, it’s recommended to consider a siding that holds its color.
- Pest prevention: No one likes termites or other insects invading the home. Some siding materials like wood are susceptible to these pests, which only raises the level of maintenance needed to keep those unwanted pests at bay.
- Durable: Let’s face it, no one wants siding that’s going to crumble or show damage easily. When considering siding, you want to choose a material that can handle some impact of varying kinds—especially in high wind areas like Kansas City.
- Little time spent after installation: Time is valuable for everyone. The last thing you want is to spend what little time you have cleaning the siding every weekend. Some options require far less cleaning than others, so do your research and take this maintenance into consideration before buying.
Maintenance by Material
Now that we have covered what low maintenance looks like overall, it’s time to explore the most common siding options available to further highlight how well they perform. Our breakdown is as follows:
When people think of low maintenance, this option inevitably comes up due to its long history of being labeled as such. Like any option, this one has its pros and cons, which include:
- Regular painting not needed
- Doesn’t rot
- Resistant to moisture problems
- Melts in hot temperatures
- Cracks in extreme cold
- Susceptible to impacts such as hail or debris
If you live in an area where the weather can be extreme or impacts are a concern, it’s worth considering other more durable options to maximize your low maintenance desires. However, it’s the most budget-friendly options available.
Engineered Wood Siding
The beauty of wood without the maintenance and fuss is what engineered wood siding is known for. Nevertheless, engineered wood comes with its own set of pros on cons, which we will go into here.
- Highly durable
- Resists insects
- Cheaper than wood and heavier siding
- Susceptible to moisture problems
- More expensive than options like vinyl
Ultimately, this option is showing great promise as a low maintenance siding option for homeowners. However, it still has its issues that can cause homeowners to seek out other choices.
Wood Siding Maintenance
One of the most popular and long-lasting siding options, this material is known for its rustic yet streamlined charm. Some things to consider are:
- Improves curb appeal
- Long lifespan
- Susceptible to rot
- Weak against insects
- Requires regular, costly, and time-consuming upkeep to maintain protective properties
By far, this is the most high maintenance option you can choose. The end result is worth it if you’re willing to invest the time and money into keeping it well-maintained. However, if low maintenance is your make or breaking point, then this is not the right option for you.
Fairly new compared to other siding options like vinyl, this one is a siding choice that’s here to stay. The most popular brand is James Hardie siding, which has an excellent reputation for its high-quality, low-maintenance requirements, and long-lasting beauty. While this is one of our favorite options, it’s important to take a look at the pros and cons before making a decision.
- Flexibility in appearance and color
- Moisture resistant
- Highly durable
- Resistant to harsh climates
- More expensive than vinyl and other options
- Requires professional contractor trained in fiber cement siding installation for optimal performance
For the absolute best performance, you can’t go wrong with fiber cement siding. However, this choice isn’t as budget-friendly as other options when it comes to upfront costs. Additionally, it may require extra work to have installed properly. In any case, this is an option worth considering when it comes to low maintenance options, and higher returns when it’s time to sell.
When making your decision, it’s important to keep three things in mind before committing to a course of action. Your chosen material needs to fit within your budget. The second most important consideration is your environment. Some materials just don’t perform as well in certain environments. Finally, it’s never a good idea to take on this project without a professional siding contractor to walk you through the process so take the time to shop contractors as well.
If you’re ready to discuss your options for siding, Smart Exteriors is here to help you. Give our team of professional contractors a call today for more information, or fill out our quick online form to set-up a free, no-obligation pricing estimate and consultation.