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Knowledge is Power – Siding

The first line of defense for any structure is siding that protects against the elements. Protecting the vulnerable wood frame of which most homes are built; siding is found in many varieties including vinyl, metal, wood, and masonry. Because of the large area it covers, siding can have a large effect on the value of your home and can prevent costly structural damage.

It’s obvious, then, that siding is an important consideration for your home. You want to be able to speak intelligently with a contractor preparing to do the job. On the other hand, if you’re thinking of handling installation or repair on your own, some preparation in advance would be wise. This undertaking will involve an understanding of standard construction practices, tools, building codes, and the details of a product’s warranty. This overview will get you on your way.

Siding protects against water getting into the building causing rot and other damage. Beneath siding is a building wrap that is fastened to sheathing. It functions as a water shedder for what slips past the siding or trim. The climate, building codes and wall construction dictate the specifics of the wrap.

Next you have sheathing. Oriented-strand board panels is the norm for modem homes, older models include plywood panels, or tongue and groove boards. The wood can rot as the result of moisture and the panels can become delaminated.

Wall insulation is found beneath these other three surfaces. Made of fiberglass, it serves as a sponge – soaking up water; however, it will steadily release moisture into surrounding materials causing further rot damage.

There are predominantly 5 types of siding found across the country. Its installation is the most important factor in its success. If siding is improperly attached it can crack or come loose exposing ht home to water damage.

· Brick will last as long as your home and requires no maintenance. Particularly good in sunny climates or where hail or windstorms are a problem, $900/square* is installed cost.

· Fiber cement can last well beyond fifty years with maintenance of painting and caulking once a decade. $275/square but can be done yourself at $80/square.

· Stucco can last forever with no maintenance. Wire mesh is important for stucco and it must be nailed allowing for a tight and smooth stretch. $900/square

· Vinyl has a life of around 30 years and only requires minimal maintenance -pressure wash. $400/square or $84 DIY.

· Wood clapboard has a life expectancy of at least 50 years for high grade. Must paint and caulk at five year intervals, $650/square or $380/square DIY.