For decades, homeowners have searched for a siding alternative for their homes that would combat many of the issues that come with wood siding. While wood was once the only cost effective siding available and the most frequently installed home covering, times have changed and homeowners want siding options that are durable, low maintenance, and cost effective.
While brick and stone have always been alternatives to wood, these are often too costly and not as versatile. This has led to homeowners seeking out a variety of other alternative sidings to better meet their needs.
Alternative Siding Options
Depending on what it is you’re looking for in a siding, there are several materials and options available that could be the alternative to wood that your home needs.
Aluminum siding was the very first alternative to wood that really took hold. It’s more durable than wood because it resists moisture and insect activity, and it’s also naturally flame retardant. Aluminum siding can be made to look like wood and it can also be painted in a wide range of colors.
Aluminum is easily dented, however, which means that it still has some repair and maintenance costs associated with it. The color also fades easily, becoming chalky so it needs to be repainted every so often to help it maintain its best appearance.
Vinyl siding was introduced about 20 years after aluminum, back in the 1950s. It solves some of aluminum’s issues, as the color goes straight through the material so it won’t require painting. It also doesn’t dent, and is resistant to both moisture and insect activity.
Vinyl can come in a few different styles to mimic both lap siding and shingles, and it can have a realistic looking wood grain. It’s not as low maintenance as many people are led to believe, however. It can soften and melt in very hot climates, and it becomes brittle in cold climates, eventually cracking, so it doesn’t last as long as many other materials. It will require repairs after about 5 years and replacement after 20.
3. Fiber Cement
Fiber cement has also been around since the 50s, although it’s changed considerably along the way. It’s made of a blend of Portland cement with sand and silica mixed with cellulose fiber. The boards are very heavy, and can be formed in a variety of shapes and sizes to mimic different looks. The material is flame retardant and resists insect activity and moisture, so it’s longer lasting and more durable than wood or vinyl. They can be primed or painted, and don’t require repainting nearly as often as wood. They do need to be painted about every 10 years or so, however, so they’re not as low maintenance as some people would want.
The biggest drawback to fiber cement is the weight. The material often requires additional labor and tools to install, and it can be difficult to find a contractor who’s willing to work with it. Once installed, it can last 50 years or more, however, making it a longer lasting option than either wood or vinyl.
4. Engineered Wood
Engineered wood has become a popular option in recent years as people look for a material that can give them a more natural-looking siding than either vinyl or aluminum. It’s made of wood fibers that are held together with resins, so it’s lighter in weight than fiber cement and easier to cut and install. It’s insect-resistant, but not flame retardant and some brands may have issues with moisture. Engineered wood is available in many of the same styles and sizes as regular wood, and it often comes primed or painted and ready TO install. The paint often lasts longer on engineered wood than on standard wood, but it will still require painting over time.
5. Steel Siding
Steel siding is a much more durable metal than aluminum and solves many of aluminum’s issues with all the benefits of a metal siding. It doesn’t dent, and it’s flame retardant as well as moisture and insect-resistant. It can have a realistic looking wood grain, and is available in styles that can mimic many different wood siding types including board and batten and log siding.
Steel siding from manufacturers such as TruLog don’t require repainting every few years, so it is truly low maintenance. The color is designed not to fade, chip, or scratch, so it doesn’t require the same level of care as aluminum or fiber cement. Some types of steel siding, such as steel log-look siding are also installed with an insulation backing, so they’re more energy efficient as well.
Get a Better Alternative Siding
There are many different siding alternatives on the market today, but only steel siding is truly as durable and low maintenance as homeowners need. With an authentic woodgrain texture and appearance, steel siding can often meet everyone’s needs. If you’re looking for an alternative siding that will truly last, consider steel siding from TruLog for the job.