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Durable & Affordable Siding Options

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers®

The world of siding gives you plenty to think about when it comes to style and materials, both of which affect cost and durability. It takes a lot of product to cover the exterior walls, so whatever you choose will have a big impact on the quality of your house and your building budget. If you’re looking for a great deal all around, here’s how you should consider your siding options!

Ply Gem Mastic Cedar Discovery

Mastic® Cedar Discovery® offers the traditional appeal of shingle siding in a low-maintenance vinyl package. You'll love the detailed texture and exceptional durability!

Selecting a Material

Siding is incredibly diverse—it includes all kinds of natural and manmade materials you can apply to walls with nails or mortar. Each type has its own look, of course, but you aren’t necessarily tied to any given material; most manufactured products are designed to mimic the aesthetics of traditional options. So, if you think you just can’t do without woodgrain, take the time to explore some catalogs. You’ll find beautiful options whether you want a natural textured finish or a smoother, more refined feel.

Given the aesthetic flexibility of manmade siding, it’s a good idea to decide on a material first. Vinyl is the most popular siding choice these days, making up about a third of the market, and comes in tons of different profiles to deliver the exact look you want at an affordable price point. Aluminum siding also makes a good choice if you want to stick to a budget and invest in the durability of a metal product. These two materials are very different compositionally, but they actually hit the same key points from the homeowner’s perspective—they’re resistant to common challenges like water and insect damage, offer long life expectancy with minimal upkeep, and install quickly and easily. Those looking for durable and affordable siding will often choose between vinyl and aluminum.

Ply Gem Mastic Endurance

Aluminum siding has a longer history than most people know! If you're interested in this long-wearing, high-performance, eco-friendly metal, consider Mastic® Endurance®.

Installation & Maintenance Considerations

Remember to look at the cost of the materials and labor, because the final price tag isn’t only what you pay to the supplier. It takes a lot less time and expertise to install panels of vinyl and aluminum than it does to hang individual shingles or build up an exterior wall brick by brick. Consider the surface area of a house and the cost difference in labor alone can really add up. You also have to be aware of the structural limitations of the house itself before you start; if you want to install heavy siding, you’ll often have to modify the plans to provide additional support from the inside. Lightweight materials don’t require any special preparation yet still provide sturdy fastening and interlocking pieces to ensure the house is protected against the elements.

Maintenance will also contribute to cost over the lifespan of any building product. Siding is one category unique in that you can actually save now and in the future, because the most affordable materials actually require the least care. You may need to spray vinyl and aluminum siding to keep algae growth and general dirt buildup at bay, but that’s about it. They don’t need to be refinished and repainted like wood, and you definitely don’t need to worry about things like mortar joint deterioration. Vinyl and aluminum are at the top of the list for easy installation and minimal upkeep, and you can still expect them to last for decades!

Ply Gem Structure Insulated Vinyl

It looks like regular vinyl siding, but Structure® Home Insulation System™ Siding includes a layer of high-performance polystyrene foam that adds R-value, dampens noise, and even increases impact resistance.

Reducing Costs with Efficiency

You’ve heard of ENERGY STAR® appliances and other finishes helping to reduce household utilities, but have you ever considered the energy efficiency of siding? As an integral part of a home’s building envelope, it can make a difference! The insulation in your exterior walls is essential, of course, but you can increase that all-important R-value with siding that also slows heat transfer. Insulated vinyl comes with its own layer of foam insulation on the back to achieve this, and aluminum is inherently insulative—that’s why you’ll see sheets of it wrapped around pipes and even used in walls and attics to form a radiant barrier. Every little bit helps when it comes to reducing our impact on the environment and our utility bills, so don’t overlook energy efficiency when it comes to siding.

If you’re in the market for siding that makes a great choice from all angles, check out Ply Gem®! With a wide variety of vinyl products in popular lap, vertical, and shingle looks available in dozens of colors, you can outfit your home beautifully while investing in a low maintenance material. Perhaps aluminum siding appeals more to you? You’ll be happy to know it costs only a bit more on average. Connect with a local professional who can help you make the right choice for your needs!