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All About Exterior Siding

First impressions are immediate and powerful, and every time someone passes your home they form a quick opinion about it based, in part, on your exterior siding.

Siding is the exterior envelope of your house, serving as protection from the elements while coping with moisture passing through from the interior. The location and weather patterns around your home – as well as its architectural style – will guide what type of siding to use, and the qualifications and experience of the firm who will install the new siding is just as important. After that, ongoing maintenance needs and price will help narrow down your choices.


Stone & Cultured Stone Siding

Rock is beautiful and lends permanence to the home. Natural stone is nearly impervious to weather, and when it is properly protected it can last seemingly forever. These qualities also make it very expensive, which is why pre-cast stone veneers that look and feel like real stone are a popular option.

Whether you choose natural or cultured stone, ensure that it is protected with a special 10-year sealant to prevent spalling, and do not let vines grow on the walls as they weaken the mortar and hold moisture against the wall.

Brick & Brick Veneer Siding

Fired clay brick comes in a wide variety of earthy colors, and it is pricey because it can last for centuries. Brick veneers can look authentic for a more affordable price.

Brick requires maintenance to the mortar between the bricks, which will need to be re-tuckpointed based on the erosion caused by weather conditions around your home. Properly sealing brick and mortar adds substantially to its lifespan and greatly reduces the frequency (and expense) of tuckpointing. Certain sealers that bond internally need only be re-applied about every 10 years.

Cedar Siding

Cedar is a natural wood, and certain varieties are naturally resistant to insects and rot. Cedar shake can be left in its natural state so that weathering over time will give it a special patina. Paint or staining is also an option, and will need to be reapplied every 3-5 years.

Untreated cedar can crack or “cup” on the sides of the house that receive the most sun, while the shingles on the shady sides of the house can have mold, moss and fungus issues. Sealers specially formulated for cedar will reduce some of these concerns, and need only be applied one time.

Wood Clapboard Siding

Solid wood siding remains the first choice for traditional style and quality. With periodic maintenance, wood siding will outlast vinyl, as evidenced from so many wood clapboard houses built over a century ago still looking beautiful to this day. Unlike other siding materials, it can be repaired and partially replaced.

Improper installation can inhibit wood siding’s need to “breathe,” which results in paint and deterioration problems, and it will need to be repainted roughly every 10 years, depending on the amount of weathering the paint can withstand.

Engineered Wood Siding

Also known as oriented strand board (OSB), this is a composite material made with wood products and other materials. The panels are often molded to mimic traditional wood clapboard.

Engineered siding is installed with “hidden fasteners” rather than “face nailed.” This prevents water penetrating the core of the veneer material, and failure to follow manufacturing instructions results in damaged siding. Partial replacement of damaged pieces is very difficult. How often it will need to be repainted depends on whether it’s a factory pre-finish or painted after installation.

Fiber Cement Siding

An extremely durable material that is fireproof, termite-proof and can have the appearance of wood, stucco or masonry. It cuts and installs like wood siding, and can be painted in the color of your choice. It’s higher priced than natural or engineered wood, but exceptional manufacturers’ warranties make it a durable, low maintenance investment.

Cement fiber siding is typically not a do-it-yourself project, and should be installed only by certified professionals with fiber cement siding training and experience so that warranties fully apply. This material holds paint longer than wood siding, needing to be repainted roughly every 15-20 years.

Vinyl Siding

Made from PVC, it won’t rot or flake, is affordable to buy and relatively easy to install, which is what makes it the most popular siding material. An endless variety of colors and textures are available to fit any home design, and a spray washing once or twice a year is the extent of surface maintenance.

It can crack, fade or grow dingy over time, and keep the BBQ pit away from it as it will melt. Because vinyl is cheaper and easier to install, unqualified installers overlooking important moisture and flashing details are an all-too-common problem, which can result in serious water damage to the exterior and interior of your home.

Siding is the public face and protector of your home, and it is a sizable investment, so make sure that whatever siding material you choose is properly installed and protected.

The exterior design team at Mosby Building Arts is trained and experienced in all aspects of exterior siding. They begin by removing the old siding and applying the proper moisture barriers and flashing that keeps water out of your house. Their deep bench of siding professionals are certified in the proper installation of fiber cement board and vinyl siding, and the Mosby ProTreat sealing system adds another layer of protection and value to your exterior remodeling project.

Exterior siding is a precise art, and here is an example of Mosby’s award-winning siding work. To work with a team that will increase the value and beauty of your home, call Mosby at 314.909.1800 or contact them here.