How do you choose the best-performing siding for your climate? Depending on where you live, your siding may need to withstand rain or snow, extremely hot or extremely cold temperatures, humidity or dry heat, salty air or pollution - or a mixed assortment of all these conditions. However, the predominant climate in your area may determine the best type of siding for you. |
For many homeowners, siding choices come down to vinyl or cement fiber, two popular materials that vary in composition, cost, and durability. When you purchase either of the two most popular sidings, vinyl or fiber cement, you can improve the performance by purchasing high-end grades built for specific weather conditions.
Should You Choose Vinyl Siding?
Vinyl siding is resistant to weather, insects, and fading in all climates, but it can suffer weather damage as a result of heat, wind, and hail. The product can leak in many climates on homes without ample roof overhangs, or with exposed decks and balconies. In hot, humid areas such as Las Vegas, for example, the product can melt after exposure to continuous 100 degree temperatures.
In colder climates, there are siding products made by major companies that cost more but that are more protective against climate extremes, and as a result, are more energy-efficient. The best vinyl siding to protect against bad weather is a specialty product that may be thicker and bonded with PVC resins or foam. To protect against wind, some brands such as PlyGem, Mastic, and Certainteed can withstand winds that range from 160 to 225 mph and may even feature triple locking systems and nailing systems that will hold the panels in place even in bad storms.
Is Fiber Cement the Best Performing Siding?
Fiber cement siding, which includes a mix of Portland cement, sand, and cellulose or wood fibers, can last a lifetime, and for the first 15 years of its life requires no maintenance. By this time the factory coating may need painting. Some brands of siding, such as the popular James Hardie, offer climate sensitive types of siding to meet different climactic conditions. For example, their HZ-25 siding is built to withstand snow, ice, and extreme temperature swings from season to season. The HZ10 product works well in climates with high heat and humidity as well as hurricane force winds and salty sea air. Both of the products are resistant to splitting, cracking, swelling, and rotting regardless of the environment. They feature a 30 year, no-questions-asked warranty with no prorating.
Fiber cement and premium vinyl cladding are considered durable products worth the extra investment to withstand weather conditions. Regardless of what siding product you choose, the key to long life lies in the installation. Vinyl siding is often installed by homeowners or by inexperienced or incompetent "professionals" who cut corners and make the home more subject to abuse by weather. A strong wind can more easily remove a patch of poorly installed siding than some that was put in place correctly, and a home not properly prepared with waterproofing such as insulation board or house wrap is more likely to develop leaks.
For best results when re-siding your house, select a competent, experienced installer who knows the latest techniques for proper installation of the best-performing siding products for your location.
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