What is the best type of exterior siding for your Portland home?
Due to its wet climate and wide temperature range, the Portland area can present several challenges to the maintenance of your home’s exterior. Finding the right type of exterior siding can help keep maintenance manageable and make your Portland home look great.
As one of the leading remodeling firms in Portland, our team at Lamont Bros. has worked with every type of exterior home siding. We know that finding the right one for your home can be difficult on your own. In this article, our team of remodeling pros will share their expertise on the different exterior siding options to help you choose the right type for your home.
After reading this article, you should have a better understanding of the different types of exterior siding. With this information, you’ll be able to assess the needs of your home and decide which siding type is best for you. The topics we’ll discuss include:
What is exterior siding and what is its purpose?
Your home’s siding has a big job to do. Not only is it the first thing people see when they look at your home, but it also serves as the outermost layer that protects against the elements. When deciding which type of exterior siding is best for your Portland home, these are the two most important factors to consider.
As the external shell of your home, your siding is the first line of defense against wind, rain, and extreme temperatures.
Protecting your home against water damage is especially important in the Portland area. Rather than allowing water to sit on the structure, exterior siding should keep out moisture and direct it away from the home.
Below your exterior siding is a waterproof weather-resistant barrier (WRB). This sealed membrane surrounds your home’s exterior walls and can tear easily. The exterior siding and WRB work together in tandem to help each other do their job. The siding protects the WRB from harsh weather conditions, while the WRB keeps out any moisture that slips past the siding.
In addition to providing protection, your siding also plays a key role in the visual design of your home. Siding covers more surface area than anything else on the home’s exterior. As a result, the type of siding you use on your home will greatly influence its design aesthetic.
Because of how much visual space it occupies, choosing the right type of siding is a great way to enhance the exterior appearance of your home. You’ll want to ensure that the siding you choose matches the style of your home and reflects your personal preferences as a homeowner.
What are the different types of exterior siding?
Each different type of exterior siding comes with its strengths, so it’s essential to carefully consider which one best suits the needs of your Portland home. The prices listed below reflect the cost of siding including installation.
T1-11 Panels — $5 – $8 / sq.ft.
As the most budget-friendly option for exterior home siding, T1-11 panels are made of plywood. It comes in milled 4×8 decorative sheets and resembles vertical planks. Costing between $5-$8 per square foot, many homeowners choose T1-11 siding because the material is inexpensive and easy to install. If properly maintained, it can last up to 20 years.
However, T1-11 is not so easy to maintain. The panels are notoriously prone to water damage, even if installed correctly. To prevent water intrusion, homeowners must re-seal the material every 3-5 years. The edges along the sheets of plywood also commonly absorb moisture, which can cause warping and dry rot.
Vinyl Siding — $7 – $10 / sq.ft.
Another inexpensive siding material is vinyl, which is long-lasting, and easy to maintain. Made from plastic, vinyl siding doesn’t have the water intrusion issues of T1-11. Vinyl siding typically costs about 20-25% more than T1-11. Although slightly more expensive, it can last over 50 years with minimal effort. Additionally, some types of vinyl siding offer excellent thermal insulation, which increases the energy efficiency of your home.
On the other hand, vinyl does present some challenges. Unlike most other types of siding,
it cannot be painted. So, whatever color you choose is the one you keep. This can be a challenge if you ever need to replace or repair the siding, because the color fades over time and can be difficult to match. Because it is a plastic product, vinyl is also extremely susceptible to heat damage and can warp in high enough heat. While initially very strong, Vinyl can deteriorate over time and become brittle.
Stucco — $8 – $14 / sq.ft.
Commonly found on homes in the Southwestern U.S., stucco is a cement-based siding. Stucco is unique in that it is installed wet and dries on the structure. It’s incredibly versatile texture and color options can be used in many different types of homes. People often choose stucco to mimic a Spanish-influenced exterior design that’s common in the American Southwest and occasionally found in the Portland area.
Installing stucco requires years of experience in the craft and can be a demanding process. As a result, good stucco work can cost up to twice as much as entry-level siding. On top of that, the climate of the Pacific Northwest can make stucco a very difficult type of exterior siding for Portland homeowners to manage. Over time, water gets into small cracks within the surface. In cold weather, that water freezes and expands, weakening the stucco and causing cracks. If left unrepaired, water intrusion can cause serious damage to a stucco exterior. For this reason, most contractors don’t recommend stucco exteriors for the Portland area.
Engineered Smart Siding — $15 – $20 / sq.ft.
A composite made from wood fibers and resin, engineered smart siding is an affordable material that offers many of the benefits of wood siding. It’s lightweight, durable, and resistant to water damage. Many smart siding products come with a 50-year warranty, so you can rest assured that it will last you a long time.
Engineered smart siding costs between $15-$20. One major downside is that it lacks the fire-resistant qualities that some other siding materials have. It’s also relatively limited in design options and requires some sealing and paint maintenance every few years.
Cedar Wood Siding — $20 – $35 / sq.ft.
For wet climates like the Portland area, cedar siding is a prevalent choice. Cedar has natural antimicrobial and antifungal properties, which makes it resistant (but not immune) to rot and decay. It’s also a natural insulator, making it very energy efficient — even more so than most vinyl products. Cedar siding is stylistically versatile, can be installed as planks or shakes, and can be painted or stained any color you want. Many people love the natural look of cedar and appreciate the character that it adds to their home.
The challenges of working with cedar siding are primarily related to cost and maintenance. At $20-$35 per square foot, cedar siding has an unpredictably wide price range. In some cases, it can cost over five times as much as entry-level material. Another issue you might run into with cedar is that it requires constant maintenance. You should power-wash your cedar siding at least once per year and re-seal it once every 3-5 years.
Fiber Cement Siding — $20 – $25 / sq.ft.
Fiber cement is a relatively new siding material that has grown in popularity over the last several years. Manufactured using a combination of wood fiber and cement, this type of siding is strong, versatile, and highly resistant to most forms of damage, including rot, water intrusion, and heat, making it an ideal exterior siding choice for many Portland homes. Available in many different styles, fiber cement can be made to imitate stone, wood plank, or shake-style siding.
The main drawback of fiber cement siding is that it is significantly more expensive than vinyl or T1-11. It’s also very heavy, which makes installation more difficult and expensive. Including the cost of installation, fiber cement can run between $20 – $25 per square foot, which is three times the cost of more traditional options.
Metal Siding — $15 – $40 / sq.ft.
When most people hear “metal siding,” they often think of the tacky sheet metal panels used in commercial construction for warehouses and sheds. However, some metal siding products made for residential construction offer great visual appeal and durability. Thanks to modern manufacturing techniques, metal siding comes in many shapes and patterns. The color and finish possibilities are extensive, and they can even be made to resemble wood. Metal siding also requires very little maintenance and lasts a long time. Some options even come with a lifetime warranty.
Metal siding has a wide price range depending on the type of metal. Aluminum siding tends to be the least expensive at $15-$20 per square foot. Steel, a more durable and visually appealing option, can cost up to $25 per square foot. Copper, the highest-grade metal siding, costs over $40 per square foot.
Stone/Brick — $20 – $50+ / sq.ft.
When it comes to high-end siding, stone and brick are hard to beat. Its design aesthetic is virtually unmatched. Both stone and brick come in an array of shapes and colors and work with any style of home, traditional or contemporary. These options significantly add to the value and visual appeal of a home.
The downside of stone and brick siding is that it is very expensive. At $20-$50 per square foot, few homeowners choose to clad their entire homes in stone or brick. Rather, they use it as an accent on support pillars or the lower half of exterior walls. This style of exterior siding has very low thermal insulation and is thus not energy efficient. The mortar also requires substantial maintenance and repair over the years.
Still, if visual appeal is your goal, stone or brick siding is a great candidate depending on the architecture of the home.
Want more information on remodeling in the Portland Area?
With the information above, are you more confident in your ability to select a type of exterior siding that fits the needs of your Portland home? If so, continue researching your options for home improvement projects. Check out our webpage on Home Additions to see how other Portland homeowners are expanding their homes to meet their lifestyle needs.
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