A Guide to Home Exteriors

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Neither does your home. If your home exterior is drab, damaged or out-of-date then it’s time for an upgrade. Yes, a complete outside overhaul is going to cost you a pretty penny (think tens of thousands of dollars), but the investment is worth it, especially if you plan on selling. Add in the fact that a fresh home exterior is guaranteed to provide your interior with better protection from the elements and a redo is a no-brainer.

As with any major investment — know what you’re getting into before you start the process. Not a home exterior expert? No problem. This list of pros and cons does the legwork for you.

Brick

Hands down, this material is a favorite among homeowners. That’s because it’s durable, fire resistant, and needs little maintenance. According to Angie’s List, a brick exterior also has a knack for lowering heating and cooling costs by almost eight percent.The downside to this classic material? It isn’t waterproof. Before a professional installs the new exterior they need to create a waterproof barrier along the wall and add in drainage holes for any water that does get trapped to escape through. Also factor in that a brick exterior can run you between $6 to $12 per square foot, and you may be fresh out of cash when all is said and done.

Stucco

Stucco is a favorite amongst do-it-yourselfers because it’s cheap, easy to install and its texture can be tailored to taste. Like brick, it’s durable, requires minimal maintenance and naturally lowers your heating and cooling bills.But those living in rainy or snowy climates best stay away. This material isn’t made to withstand loads of water, which is why it’s usually found in arid regions like the Southwestern United States and Southern California.

Vinyl and Aluminum Siding

Commonly confused for each other, these similar sidings can be distinguished by a single tap of the finger. Aluminum sounds hollow because it’s made of metal, while vinyl doesn’t because it’s constructed from plastic. That said, both sidings share similar pros and cons. Homeowners love them because they’re moderately priced, virtually weatherproof and need nothing more than a little power wash to look good-as-new. You can also score aluminum and vinyl siding in a variety of styles and colors.On the flip side, a bout of extreme weather could leave them dented, warped and in need of being replaced. In extreme situations, vinyl is also known to trap water, which could potentially lead to mold.

Wood Siding

Wood siding is the quickest way to take your house from ho-hum to historic looking. This timeless material, if cared for correctly, can withstand the elements just as well as aluminum or vinyl. Your best bet is to invest in a wood known for its durability, like cedar, redwood and cypress. These options may cost you more, but they’ll last longer. Wood siding needs a little more maintenance than other exteriors. Angie’s List suggests painting and sealing every four years and watching out for mildew or flaking paint which could both lead to rot.

Cement Fiber Siding

This siding is the definite new kid on the block, but has made a name for itself because it’s made from recyclable materials, fire-proof, waterproof and can be styled to look like stucco or wood. According to Realtor Mag, its biggest pitfalls are that it has the potential to trap moisture if not painted properly and needs lots of structural support, as it is heavy.

 

By Megan Mostyn-Brown



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