It can be an intimidating task when it comes time to upgrade or replace your homes’ exterior siding. We at Bryant Renovations usually encounter siding issues when we put an addition on a home. In Toronto, it’s common to have an existing aged brick exterior. Sometimes there is another brick that will be appropriate but other times because we cannot usually get a match another complementary siding option will be more pleasing. The choices are seemingly endless; in this blog we’ll explore some of the most popular siding options.
Some of the decisions will be easily eliminated because your home/neighbourhood will ‘speak’ to you and let you know what is inappropriate – but, finding the most suitable siding can still prove daunting.
What to Consider:
Water Resistant and/or Weather Resilient
Wikipedia describes Toronto’s climate as a semi-continental climate, with a warm, humid summer and a cold winter. We know this all too well, with highs expected in the mid 30’s this week.
We are always looking to lower our heating/cooling costs and the size of our energy ‘footprint’.
Aesthetics & Texture
Whether you have a ‘character home’, a ‘heritage home’ or a new build, we are naturally concerned with the curb-appeal of our home.
Products claiming to be green can often result in what can be called ‘green-washing’. How can I know if my product is truly green? It can really depend on the metrics that are used. Is it Eco-Friendly in the harvesting or in the processing or in the transportation? The unfortunate truth can lie in that awful middle ground. For example, does a siding option come from a renewable resource or a sustainable resource?
Durability can range from how it works in an environment, from R-value to fire rating. The environmental consideration is fairly simple – can it handle the cold winters and hot summers? R – Value relates to how well it will help to insulate your home in both summer and winter. The fire-rating refers to how long it will take for fire to penetrate cladding.
This can also be a tricky area – it may be inexpensive to install but, may need to be replaced in a few years or is it expensive to install but, will last forever.
Vinyl siding is a very popular choice. Its main benefits lie in its low maintenance and cost effectiveness. It doesn’t require painting, it will not warp or twist, and it’s very easy to clean and comes in a wide variety of colours. However, vinyl siding doesn’t withstand our climate extremes very well. It has been known to become brittle, or even crack. Melting may even occur if a window is reflecting sunlight onto the siding. During a fire vinyl siding has been known to give off a toxic gas when burned, fire can ‘jump’ to another house with a vinyl exterior. Though it often may look aesthetically pleasing from a distance, it may give your home a “cheap plastic” appearance. However, those formerly turned off by vinyl in the past are impressed by the newest technological advancements in the last 5 years or so.
Cost: Moderately High
Metal siding, such as aluminium, steel or copper provides a rich modern look. It doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. It is resistant to mold & insect damage. Metal sidings can be susceptible to dents. One of the more charming characteristics of copper siding is the patina that develops. Steel siding has a baked-on enamel finish that will fade with time, other than being hard to replace it can also give a charming result.
Cost: Moderately High
Wood siding, such as wood shingles or clapboard can provide a rich, smooth, and charming look. However, it requires a lot of maintenance, whether it’s a painted finish or a stained finish, it will need to be repainted every few years. Homes have been clad in wood for centuries so we know it can be durable, as in handling impact and withstanding many types of climates. If it hasn’t been properly installed and/or maintained, it may be susceptible to rot and bug damage – such as termites or carpenter ants.
The biggest advantage of brick siding is that it's low maintenance. Once properly installed, brick siding can last for the lifetime of your home. There is no need to paint or perform other upkeep tasks associated with wood or vinyl siding. It is a load bearing material, that withstands heat, offers good fire protection and provides solid sound proofing.
Fibre-cement siding is a popular option due to its relatively low-maintenance. It’s wise to wash the siding twice a year – to remove dirt and environmental debris, while washing check out the seams and joins for general upkeep. It is also non-flammable and resistant to termites. It is quite durable and can last anywhere from 25 to 50 plus years. Fibre-Cement can resemble wood or stucco, but the price point is usually lower. Nearly 15% of all new homes are clad with fibre-cement siding.
Stucco is traditionally made from building sand, Portland cement, lime and water. When installed and maintained properly, it can last for the lifetime of a home. Today stucco is applied in combination with a ridgid foam insulation backing adding extra insulation value to your walls. This type of siding typically lends itself to homes in the Mediterranean or Spanish style. Due to the delicate yet rigid nature of stucco, it’s important you contact an experienced home renovation expert to apply it.
Stone and stone veneer siding
While stone siding can be a more appealing choice, it may be quite difficult to obtain. Many homeowners opt for stone veneer siding as it combines synthetic materials with the natural stone. Which can make a sturdier product that is often less expensive than the natural stone. It can also offer a challenge when adding it to an existing home – it will be difficult to match it seamlessly. It can last the lifetime of a home 50 to 100 years and be quite easy to maintain.
So what siding best appeals to you? Once you decide on the right set of skin for your home, then it’s time to find the right Toronto exterior renovation expert to make your dream a reality.