What you need to know about Siding and Cladding

Siding & Cladding

When I speak of cladding or siding, I speak on the material that is used on the exterior of the house to shield the interior from weather.  Obviously a very important feature of a property.

There are many different kinds of cladding that can be used, that all vary in price, and advantages.  Let us go over a few common ones.

Vinyl

Probably one of the most common types of cladding on ‘modern homes’ is vinyl.  They come in large sheets and generally snap into place over an entire side.  They typically have a ‘horizontal look’ to them, but they can come in a variety if shapes and designs as well.  They also can range in many kinds of colours.

Vinyl is also one of the cheaper materials available when it comes to cladding.  The way its installed also acts as a rain screen due to it having an air gap under the cladding itself.

It doesn’t generally wear due to weather, and only really fails due to physically breaking, or melting from a heat source, ie BBQ.

Fiber Cement (Hardiboard)

Fiber Cement cladding is commonly referred to as Hardiboard or Hardiplank, which is a brand of fiber cement cladding manufactured by James Hardie.  

It comes in large sheets, like vinyl, and is installed in an overlap system.  However it can also be designed in a variety of ways to mimic other kinds of cladding as well.  The colour options for it are also unlimited.

Since it is fiber cement, it is very fire resistant making it popular.  Also, since it uses an overlap system, it also acts as a rain screen as well.  Similar to vinyl, it doesn’t weather easy, and typically fails due to damage.

It is a popular style to use fiber cement on the front of a house, due to its higher quality look, then use vinyl on the rest of the house.

Stucco

Stucco is another very common material, that has been used for a very long time.  It is essentially a fine plaster, which may have aggregate in it as well.

Good quality stucco can be shaped into a variety of architectural designs, however due to our rainy climate, they must be installed a certain way to ensure that there is a proper moisture barrier, and air gaps involved.  This can sometimes be called rain screening.

Since stucco itself is a pretty basic colour, they need to be painted to achieve the colour you want.  Stucco can also be more expensive to install than vinyl and fiber cement, but cheaper than wood.  Cost can depend on the design you may have.

Over time, they may develop hairline cracks, or chip, giving the stucco a weathered look if not maintained.

Wood

Wood cladding has also been used for a very long time, one of the oldest materials used for cladding.  

It can come in a variety of types of cuts, and quality can also depend on what kind of wood used.  For example, cedar is very resistant to rot, but also can be more expensive.  Or another example is longboard, but also very expensive.

It typically uses an overlap system as well which will act as a rain screen, but you can get styles installed that involve other methods, such as interlocking.

Wood cladding also has the highest amount of maintenance, as it needs to be painted every 5 to 7 years to be maintained.  However, it if is maintained properly, it can last a very long time.

It is also one of the more expensive materials available, and can vary depending on style, type of wood etc.

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