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Reading: Modern Home Exterior Ideas: Treatments for Your House Siding

Modern Home Exterior Ideas: Treatments for Your House Siding

05/30/2020
7 min read

If you want the best-looking house on the block, it helps to get creative with your choice of exterior siding. At Caesarstone, our love for design extends far beyond interiors, which is why we’ve put together this article highlighting popular home exterior siding materials and design ideas.

Exterior Siding: What Is It?

Functionally speaking, siding is what protects your home’s exterior walls. Prior to the 1950s, the material of choice was aluminum. However, as we’ll explore in the next section, there are now many siding materials available on the market.

As with quartz countertops, the purpose of these materials goes beyond mere function. Your house’s exterior can make a statement and plays a major role in communicating its overall style to guests even before they’ve entered your residence.

Exterior Siding Panels: Common Materials

As with countertop materials, exterior paneling is available at budget, premium, and luxury price points. Let’s start with one of the most common budget options – vinyl.

Exterior Vinyl Siding

Cost: $2-$7 per square foot

Vinyl is popular for several reasons, most notably its cost-effectiveness, versatility, and durability. The material is lightweight and can also be installed over existing exterior siding, which helps keep installations costs low. While vinyl can collect chips and scratches, most products are the same color all the way through. This means the damage is not as evident as with painted materials.

Combined, these features have made vinyl one of the most common siding materials you’ll encounter on mass-produced homes.

Vinyl has a few downsides, though. According to the Minnesota Sustainable Housing Initiative, exterior vinyl siding poses some environmental risks. It is primarily composed of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which releases harmful chemicals over its lifespan.

Further, vinyl presents a safety risk in the event of a fire. According to a report from CBS Austin, the rise of vinyl siding has contributed to a rise in house fire fatalities. Vinyl catches fire very quickly, which can render a house fire inescapable just three minutes after ignition.

This isn’t to say you should run from vinyl siding altogether. After all, millions upon millions of homes in the United States use it. The safety risks are just something you should be aware of.

Natural Stone for House Exterior

Cost: $35-$50 per square foot

Stone is considered one of the premium exterior siding materials. It should come as no surprise that stone is a very durable material, considering there are numerous prehistoric buildings made from rock that are still standing.

Additionally, using natural stone for your house exterior is very environmentally-friendly given its abundance in nature and recyclability.

The material’s primary downside is its cost. The stone itself is expensive but you’ll also need an experienced stonemason to get the job done right and avoid cracks that can compromise your home’s structural integrity.

Composite Exterior Siding Panels

Cost: $5.50-$11.50 per square foot

The term “composite exterior siding panels” refers to siding made from a variety of manufactured materials. The most common is composite wood made by mixing wood fibers with dust and bonding agents.

This is similar to the process for producing laminate countertops in that it results in a surface that is lightweight and cheaper than the material it attempts to emulate (wood).

Another benefit of composite siding is that it’s easy to repaint, unlike other materials such as vinyl.

On the downside, composite wood requires proper sealing. Without this, the material can soak up moisture very easily, which causes unsightly warping and swelling.

Exterior Plywood Siding

Cost: $3.50-$4.75 per square foot

Exterior plywood siding is a step-up from composite wood siding. It’s still fairly light and is less likely to fray at the ends than some types of solid wood. Improvements in the plywood manufacturing process have made the material more durable and available in an array of attractive styles.

On the downside, it’s still not quite solid wood. If you’re going for an old rustic cabin aesthetic, it might not be entirely suitable. Because plywood is made from several layers of material, it also requires a fair bit of expertise to cut properly. As such, you can expect to pay a bit more on installation than you would for some types of composite.

Solid Wood Siding

Cost: $8-$20 per square foot

Of course, we’d be remiss to go without mentioning solid wood siding. For those seeking a very specific aesthetic (and an authentic version of it at that), there’s no other option. In fact, nearly every other option (with the exception of stone) attempts to mimic wood.

Wood comes in so many different varieties that all have a different feel and function. The material also lends itself well to being stained or repainted.

It’s also very easy to find workers capable of installing wood since it is one of the most popular materials on the market. Lastly on the positive side, solid wood siding is very environmentally-friendly. It doesn’t get much greener than wood.

As with butcher’s block countertops, though, there are many, many downsides to wood. For one, it harbors bacteria and insects. You need to seal it regularly in order to avoid having these undesirables fester in your siding. Further, if you don’t reseal and repaint wood siding, it is prone to rotting, warping, and water damage.

As with butcher’s block countertops, those considering solid wood sidings need to think very carefully about whether it’s a practical choice for their climate and lifestyle.

Exterior Shiplap Siding

Cost: $2.50-$7.00 per square foot

Lastly, we have exterior shiplap siding. In some cases, this does fall under the category of “wood” but it is a very specific type of wood containing grooves and tabs that allow the boards to be fit neatly together. This creates a sleek, often contemporary look that can be difficult to achieve with other wood siding products.

Cedar is a popular shiplap material, as is pine. You can also find types of shiplap that combine different woods.

While shiplap was originally popular as an exterior material, you’ll also see it quite frequently in interior applications.

Shiplap’s modular nature does make it more difficult to repair damage on individual pieces. You may need to replace entire sections in the case of such damage. The deep grooves in shiplap can also be difficult to keep free of debris.

If you do go with shiplap, be sure to get it properly installed. Otherwise, it’s prone to warping.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you paint exterior siding?

Some types of siding do not lend themselves well to painting. On vinyl siding, for example, paint tends to crack and chip with greater ease. You can overcome this by using lighter colors (which attract less heat) and paints that contain acrylic and urethane.

You should begin by cleaning the siding thoroughly before priming as needed and then applying two coats of paint.

How do you install exterior siding?

Vinyl is one of the few DIY-friendly siding materials as far as installation goes. The pieces nail directly onto the underlying surface although you may need to cut them to size if your home hardware store does not do that for you.

Other materials (particularly wood and stone) require expert installation. If you attempt to install them yourself and make a mistake, your siding will be prone to warping and cracking that allows moisture in, which compromises your home’s structural integrity.

How do you repair a hole in exterior wood siding?

Wood filler does a pretty good job of covering up holes in your exterior wood siding — as long as you paint it properly afterward. If the hole is on a joint (such as near your windows or doors), you should also apply caulking to seal it from moisture.