According to the latest Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, homeowner spending on remodeling and repairs will rise this year to about $340 billion—a 7.5% increase from 2017.
Siding replacement will be in strong demand this year. According to Remodeling magazine’s newly released 2018 Cost vs. Value Report, nearly 77% of the cost of siding replacement is recouped by the increase in home resale value. Nationwide, the average cost of siding replacement will be $15,072, offset by an $11,554 increase in home resale value.
A recent article in Products for Residential Construction Professionals noted that this year’s #1 trend in siding will be the artful blend of multiple materials and textures. The average new home in America has four to five different exterior textures, including engineered wood siding, stone, brick, decorative trim and more. A growing number of homeowners are now hiring siding specialists because general contractors often aren’t as familiar with all the available textures and looks.
Regardless of the types of cladding used, most homeowners expect the materials to offer easy installation, versatility, durability and distinctive aesthetics.
Since homeowners are showing such a strong preference for mixing and matching exterior materials, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of today’s most popular choices.
Engineered wood siding is arguably the “greenest” choice because it comes direct from Mother Nature: sustainable, renewable and recyclable. Plus it’s engineered without the imperfections, knots and voids of traditional wood, which can give it a cleaner look.
Another advantage of engineered wood siding is its exceptional durability. LP® SmartSide® engineered wood siding is now warranted for hail damage, and it out-performs both vinyl siding and fiber cement in a number of impact tests (including those conducted at the National Wind Institute). Each year, home siding gets damaged in more than 5,600 hailstorms. The region hit the hardest is the “Hail Zone” that runs north through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.
Engineered wood siding products contain no salts and minerals that can steadily discolor fiber cement siding—a condition that’s technically known as “efflorescence.”
Fiber cement siding mimics the beauty of stone and wood, but it’s a heavy, brittle material—and cutting it can pose health risks. Last fall, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began enforcing its new standard for respirable crystalline silica, which is commonly found in the dust created when fiber cement siding is cut with a power saw.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), breathing dust that contains respirable crystalline silica can lead to silicosis—a deadly lung disease. Exposure to respirable crystalline silica has also been linked to lung cancer, reduced lung function, and kidney disease.
NIOSH has indicated that the best way to minimize the health risks associated with breathing crystalline silica is to eliminate the silica hazard entirely. For example, a builder can substitute LP SmartSide engineered wood siding for fiber cement siding. LP SmartSide products do not use silica or silica-based products as a raw material and are not subject to OSHA’s new regulations.
Stone siding is a natural material, but it’s non-renewable. In addition, the cost of stone exteriors is usually far higher than other types of siding.
Brick siding is durable, yet prone to water penetration. Like stone, it’s a relatively expensive option due to the cost of installation.
Vinyl siding is still today’s most popular choice because of its cost and low maintenance. However, vinyl siding is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is not biodegradable. Many environmental organizations have called for a ban on PVC because its production releases dioxin, a deadly toxin that can harm both humans and animals.
Stucco siding continues to be a popular choice for homeowners in the Sunbelt states. But installing stucco is a lengthy process that adds to the cost.
Experimenting With More Colors
For years, remodelers have used a time-tested method for mixing stone with different types of siding. They helped the homeowner select a stone color, then recommended siding choices that were either a little lighter or darker than the stone for contrast.
But today, remodelers and homeowners can let their imagination soar because there’s a dazzling array of available colors and textures. Based on the latest research from color expert Pantone, siding choices this year will include a variety of muted grays, yellows and reds—some of which have imaginative names like Candlelight, Copper Pot and Crocodile Tears.
To make color selection easier, many manufacturers are now offering visualizer tools to see how complementary colors and materials will look when installed.
The Finishing Touches
Homeowners can put a vibrant accent on any siding makeover with creative choices in soffit panels and trim and fascia.
Engineered wood trim and fascia products add beauty to corner boards, windows and doors. Some trim products are available in both deep cedar-grain texture and a reversible option that offers smooth finish on one side and cedar texture on the other.
Sometimes remodelers give scant attention to how a home’s soffit panels look, using vinyl or metal materials that can clash with the exterior’s overall appearance. But some engineered wood soffit panels are specially designed to match the siding’s beauty—and they provide exceptional protection. LP SmartSide soffit panels protect a home against harsh weather because they’re treated with a zinc borate–based process and bonded with a water-resistant, resin-saturated overlay.
Some companies also offer vented soffits that deliver exterior beauty plus improved attic ventilation that can help prevent mold and mildew growth and reduce attic heat.
Siding: No Longer A One-Material Project
Many industry experts are predicting that the days of all-vinyl siding will soon be over. More remodelers and homeowners are opting for multiple textures and materials to make their homes visually unique.
LP and SmartSide are registered trademarks of Louisiana-Pacific Corporation.