Cedar Siding: Pros, Cons and Alternatives

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Cedar siding is a popular choice for home exteriors. It looks beautiful in various architectural styles and can add value to your house. Its rich color and visual appeal have its set of downsides, however, since this choice of siding is more expensive and require high maintenance than others.

Consider the pros and cons of cedar siding and other options for your home with our list below. Remember you don’t have to sacrifice your home’s visual appeal with budget constraints.

Cedar shingle siding with natural tones.Source: Home Depot

Pros

  • While most types of wood siding will need a lot of help to be able to resist natural problems, cedar is very stable and will last for a long time without the homeowner having to worry about wind or rain damage. It is also a very attractive option and appeals tohomeowners all over the country.
  • Cedar siding won’t hang on to moisture, which makes it less likely to rot.
  • This type of siding is also incredibly beautiful and will instantly improve the overall appearance of your home.
  • While other siding options aren’t renewable, cedar siding is. In addition, it is also biodegradable so it won’t take up place in a landfill if you decide to redo your siding.

Cons

  • There are certain materials that will react with cedar siding which can easily damage it. Never use iron nails to install cedar siding because they will speed up decay of your siding. Aluminum or stainless steel nails are better alternatives.
  • Cedar siding is much more expensive than other available types of siding.
  • As your siding ages, it will not age the same all over your home. This means that part of your home may have water spots while other spots won’t, creating an unattractive look.
  • Although you can treat cedar to be fire resistant, cedar is still prone to catching fire and can burn rather quickly.

Alternatives

1. Vinyl

Khaki vinyl siding looks clean and nice.Source: Home Depot

A very popular option that comes in a number of colors and styles, vinyl has been greatly updated and improved since being introduced to the market during the 1960s, making it a favorite of many homeowners all over the country.

Pros

  • While other siding options can chip or fade, vinyl will last for years without the color being affected by the sun or weather.
  • It’s one of the easiest siding options to install and can be completed quickly, even on rather large homes.
  • Vinyl is also one of the most cost-effective options for siding. In addition, when it’s time to sell your home, you will be able to recoup a majority of your costs as long as the siding looks great and improves the appearance of your home.

Cons

  • Any dirt or buildup that occurs on the side of the home can dull the color of the siding, so experts recommend cleaning it regularly to keep the home looking its best. This may require the use of a pressure washer, especially if mold begins to grow on the vinyl.
  • Water can sometimes get between the vinyl and the home itself, which can cause problems with mold and rot. This type of siding is not waterproof, so it’s important to install house wrap under the siding to help keep out water.
  • Both extreme weather fluctuations and impacts can cause breaks, bends, and cracks in the siding. This means that vinyl is often the best choice if you live in a region with temperate weather.

2. Stone Veneer

Natural brown stone siding with different lengths for random patterns,Source: Home Depot

Most people love the look of stone siding on a home, but this is an incredibly expensive form of siding. In addition, not all homes can handle the weight of the stone, forcing homeowners to choose a different option. Luckily, stone veneer is a great way to get the look of stone without the price and weight that comes with full stone siding.

Pros

  • There is a huge spectrum of different colors and profiles for homeowners to choose from, allowing them to bring out the full beauty of their home with the right siding choice.
  • Stone veneer does not require a lot of maintenance once installed, and due to how lightweight it is, this type of siding does not require extra support in the structure of the home.
  • It’s not uncommon for stone veneer siding to last for more than thirty years before needing to be replaced, and it costs up to 70% less than real stone.

Cons

  • If stone veneer is not properly installed, water can easily get behind it and damage the home. In addition, water that gets into the cracks of the mortar and then freezes during a cold snap can actually cause the mortar to crack and fall out. This may require immediate repairs to prevent the home itself from being damaged by moisture.
  • While there are less expensive options available, these will generally be painted, and the paint will begin to wear off over time. You can avoid this problem by opting for a higher quality yet more expensive option.
  • If you live in a location which is prone to earthquakes, you will want to consider another siding option, as earthquakes can cause damage to the mortar.
  • While not as strong as real stone, stone veneer is just as tough as fiber cement, wood, or vinyl siding. This means that it can stand up to impacts from baseballs, sticks, and other items, making it a great choice if you have children.

3. Fiber Cement

Fiber cement siding with curvy details.Source: Home Depot

Made from a mix of cement and wood pulp, fiber cement siding is then pressed into shingles or boards and given a faux grain pattern. Recent advancements means that this type of siding has improved greatly, making it a reasonable choice for most homeowners to consider when replacing the siding on their homes.

Pros

  • Available in many different finishes and colors, fiber cement can also be painted or stained to perfectly match the appearance of the home and the wishes of the homeowners.
  • When properly installed and taken care of, this type of siding will usually last for anywhere between thirty and fifty years.
  • Fiber cement does a better job standing up to water, fire, and termite damage than other siding options do.

Cons

  • Fiber cement siding has to be caulked from time to time as well as repainted to ensure that it keeps a solid and even color. Otherwise, strong winds and rain can cause the paint to fade, chip, and flake off.
  • When it is cut for installation, this type of siding will produce a harmful dust, so it’s important that everyone wears safety masks when working with this material.
  • In addition, the material does not come already insulated.
  • This is a heavier and slightly more expensive kind of siding, but the extra weight is part of the reason why it will last for so long.

4. Pine

Smooth and decorative pine plywood.Source: Home Depot

If you love the look of wood siding on your home but aren’t comfortable paying for cedar, you may want to consider using pine.

Pros

  • Pine siding is easy to buy and fast to install, meaning that you can complete this project without having to wait for a special shipment or spend weeks working on the siding installation.
  • Depending on what color or appearance you want your home to have, it’s easy to stain or paint your pine siding.
  • It’s easy to remove damaged parts of siding and replace them yourself without having to call an expert for assistance.
  • Once the siding is old and needs to be replaced, it can simply decay and won’t take up space in a landfill.
  • Pine offers a great way to keep the appearance of a historic or older home intact without compromising it with newer siding options.

Cons

  • Without regular protection, insects will quickly damage the wood siding you install. Pine is especially soft and susceptible to this sort of damage.
  • Paint will peel and fade in the sun, so you need to make sure that you regularly repaint or refinish your siding to keep it looking its best.
  • If you do not take care of your siding then it will warp and water will be able to get behind it, which can be very expensive.

5. Brick Veneer

Thin, brick veneer made out of snatural marble chips and acrylic resin.Source: Houzz

Made from real brick, a 1/2” or 1” slice of brick veneer weighs a fraction compared to the real thing. Because this siding is produced in a factory, homeowners can rest easy that all panels will be high quality and will fit together perfectly, making installation very fast.

Pros

  • If you love the look of brick but not the price tag, then brick veneer is the way to go as it will cost up to 45% less than real brick.
  • Many manufacturers use reclaimed brick, so this is a more environmentally-friendly option than other siding choices.
  • It’s incredibly low maintenance once installed and won’t need painting or staining.
  • Brick veneer will usually last for more than fifty years and does a great job keeping insects from damaging a home. It also stands up very well to rain and water damage.

Cons

  • While it is much less expensive than full brick, brick veneer still costs a lot more than vinyl siding and even more than wood and fiber cement siding options.
  • When installed in climates that get a lot of rain, brick veneer may trap some of the moisture, causing problems in the frame of the home.
  • Heavy traffic can cause vibrations, as can earthquakes, which can damage the mortar and cause it to crack.
  • Water that freezes in the mortar can cause damage and cracks.





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