When it comes to first impressions, the facing of your home is at the top of the list. What you choose to cover your home not only affects the curb appeal, but it can also mean more or less maintenance work for you, as well as how much you’ll spend keeping your home warm and cool year-round. While your decision will rely mostly on aesthetic, it’s worth considering the factors not seen by the naked eye. Here is a breakdown of all the types of materials for housing exteriors, including their pros and cons.

Siding

This material can be made with either vinyl or aluminium. Most people choose these two types of exterior because of their cost. Vinyl and aluminium siding also have the added benefit of being resistent to termite damage. Some sources will tell you vinyl siding is flame resistent, but ask any homeowner who’s suffered a fire and they’ll tell you that simply isn’t true. It’s definitely more resistant than wood, but vinyl will melt when exposed to flames. Siding for the average two-story home will cost between $6,000 and $13,000 as most vinyl siding costs between $2 and $7 per square foot. Aluminium siding is just as comparable in price, ranging from $3 – $6 per square foot. The other great perk of siding is that it’s relatively low maintenance and will last upwards of 20-40 years when properly cared for. The only other disadvantage is that vinyl siding cannot be painted. Once you’ve chosen your look refurbishing it will be a massive overhaul.

Fiber-Cement

This mix of sand, cement, and wood fiber (often recycled wood) is a little more expensive than Vinyl or aluminium siding and it may not last as long, but this choice material is perfect for almost any location. Except for drastically humid climates (we’re looking at you, Florida) fiber-cement will withstand all types of weather, resist termites and won’t rot no matter how wet it gets. It’s also an incredibly varied material that can be made to look like wood paneling minus the cost. Coming in a variety of colors and styles, you’re sure to find something that suits your style. The biggest drawback is that there are no recycle centers for this material. However, being based in natural ingredients, it won’t cause much further damage to the environment in a landfill. Its maintenance is relatively low, you won’t need to re-paint or stain for at least ten years.

Stucco

If seamless is your style, look no further than Stucco siding. Made from lime, Portland cement, sand, and water, stucco touts the advantages of being naturally fire-resistant, low maintenance and it’s incredibly durable. Most warranties will cover 15-20 years, but properly maintained stucco can last for a century. Stucco is also a natural insulator making it the perfect siding for hotter climates. Whether you choose the traditional stucco or new and improved Exterior Insulation and Finish System stucco, keeping your house nice and cozy year round will be a much easier – and less expensive – task. The cost is a little more expensive than the previously mentioned siding ranging between $6 and $9 per square foot and then the cost of the finish, but a 1,500 square foot home can be covered for around $8,000. Stucco is also easy to paint, or you can install a beautiful mosaic before the cement dries for an added wow factor to your home’s exterior.

Brick

Nothing says classic elegance like brick. Brick is made from clay and schael – naturally occurring resources. This makes them a very eco-friendly material. They require very little maintenance, can be painted, won’t succumb to termites, is completely fire resistant (it can even help contain fires to one room/area), it’s a better insulator, and creates a great barrier for sound. The porous nature of brick makes it more susceptible to water damage and without proper insulation and drainage mold can accrue (hemp insulation can help with this, though). And brick falls on the more expensive side with the average cost lading between $11 and $15 per square foot. But the durability is top notch compared to all the rest. You’re most likely to experience issues with the mortar holding the bricks together than the actual brick crumbling.

Wood

If you lean more towards the rustic side of home design, wood is probably your ideal siding. And the great part about wood siding is that it’s naturally biodegradable. But that’s about it when it comes to the Pros. Yes, the look is beautiful, but the maintenance alone is enough to make people think twice about wood siding. After installation, a clear seal must be applied to finish it. It’s recommended to re-stain/seal every two to three years. If you add paint you can extend that to 5 years. It’s also a quickly vanishing resource, making it more expensive than most siding coming in around $8 and $14 per square foot. It also doesn’t hold up very well against moisture and impact, so hurricane heavy areas should avoid wood siding for their home exterior.

There you have it. The pros and cons of all types of siding. When making your decision, climate should be at the top of the list, next to energy efficiency and cost. But there needn’t be a reason you can’t find a material that checks all your boxes and ups your curb appeal at the same time.