You are bound to encounter a thousand questions and conundrums as you embark on the journey of building your own home. Deciding the build a small home does not, unfortunately, shrink the number of decisions that have to be made. In fact, in many cases, it increases them. Most construction guides and materials are aimed at mid-size and large homes, and it can be difficult to find resources for building a smaller abode. All of the general questions such as: What sort of flooring do you want? Where should that wall go? Should you get custom cabinets? Are still relevant. On top of that, though, you have to finagle for space, always seeking compact options, space-saving designs, and clever layouts that maximize storage and open space as much as possible.
All of these decisions can become a bit overwhelming. Amongst the chaos and the downsizing, it is easy to let choosing the right home siding fall by the wayside. Few homeowners consider their home’s exterior on a regular basis, and even fewer consider the actual materials that the siding is made out of. It often seems like a rather overwhelming task to tackle siding replacement and choose a siding material, especially as so few of us know anything about the siding industry before we begin our selection process. There are many different materials to choose from, and each particular permutation has a different set of pros and cons to consider. In order to make sense of the world of home exterior siding, the experts of Vancouver Siding have agreed to go over the basics with us, breaking down the three most popular kinds of home siding for new, compact projects.
Vinyl siding is the most popular siding material in both the United States and Canada. This is not without good reason, as vinyl siding has much to recommend it. The material’s key features include high durability, a versatile and pleasing appearance, easy upkeep, and low-cost installation.
Vinyl is a particularly advantageous option if you are hoping to have your house stand out from the crowd. Many people building a compact home enjoy turning up the volume on the outward appearance of the building, making sure that neighbors are aware of the life and vibrancy of their small home. As a synthetic material, vinyl can be manufactured in just about any color that you can imagine. It also has the advantage of extremely long-lasting color, as the production process that it undergoes allows the pigment to spread throughout the entire product, making the color fully present even at the core of the board. This means that when vinyl siding is inevitably scratched, there is no noticeable difference in appearance.
Insulated vinyl siding is another option offered by this same material. It often has particular appeal to those building a small home, as having an extra layer of insulation in a small space can often render expensive central heating and air conditioning nearly irrelevant, making for big savings down the road. With a regular vinyl plank on one side and a foam plank on the other, insulated siding provides remarkable gains in energy efficiency and the elimination of noise pollution. Many customers have reported improvements well over 30%. While this product is more expensive up front, the gains that it provides in energy efficiency more than make up for this cost over time.
Corrugated Metal Siding
Corrugated Metal Siding is popular for commercial and agricultural buildings due to its durability but now it is even being used residentially for that same reason.
Fiber Cement Siding
Fiber cement siding is also known by the name James Hardie Siding, named after the most well-recognized brand that manufactures the product. Fiber cement siding is regularly lauded as the best material in the business, with high durability and stability over time. Invented by James Hardie himself, this product is manufactured from a combination of wood fibers and cement. Mixed with sand, water, and adhesive, the fiber cement mixture is then pressed and cut to form long, flat strips. The strips are then baked in a high heat oven in order to remove moisture. Both beautiful and durable, this material can stand up to just about any kind of weather, impact, and damage. Most fiber cement siding manufacturers offer a guarantee on the product that lasts for upwards of twenty years.
Fiber cement siding can also be manufactured into almost any shape, including shingles, boards, and paneling. It stands up well to outside damage, is resistant to rot and pests, offers impressive structural stability, and comes in both primed and pre-painted versions that can save you many hours of painstaking labor. Thanks to its cement nature, fiber cement siding is also non-flammable. While fiber cement does tend to be a more expensive material, it is an excellent investment for a small home. With less square footage to cover, it is possible to invest in a higher quality product that will stand the test of time.
Cedar is widely regarded as one of Earth’s most remarkable natural resources. The beautiful, golden wood is naturally resistant to insects, including termites and rot. It also offers a high level of organic strength that few other kinds of wood can provide. Renowned for both its beauty and aroma, the wood’s straight grain and beautiful color are a wonderful aesthetic addition to any space, both outdoors and indoors. As a natural product, this non-synthetic wood with few manufacturing requirements is also an energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Combined with natural preservatives and high durability, cedar makes an excellent siding option.
It is a fairly simple material to keep up with and maintain, though it does tend to require a bit more elbow grease than synthetic siding counterparts. This is another advantage of installing the material on a smaller home. With less square footage to cover, the treatment required every five to ten years won’t take all that much work. Still, if low-maintenance is one of the top characteristics you are looking for in your new siding, you may want to consider vinyl or fiber cement as a less-involved exterior option.
Christina Warner is an interior and exterior home designer. She graduated from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, BC and is working with SidinginVancouver.com to help them build dream homes for their clients. Christina loves Scandinavian simplicity and Italian coziness in design.