Understanding Your Vertical Siding Options

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 by Danny Peterson

Looking to dramatically alter the look and style of your home? For Baltimore-area homeowners, one of the best ways to do this is to have new siding installed. Of course, this is no small process, and it is important to enter into it fully aware of all the choices available—including the myriad vertical siding options. For those who don’t know: Vertical siding is often referred to as panel siding. This refers to siding that is shaped like a rectangle and manufactured in standard sizes. Vertical siding is never overlapped; when compared with horizontal siding, the installation process tends to be a bit more challenging, yet vertical siding is both quite durable and exceedingly low-maintenance, and many homeowners find it to be more aesthetically pleasing, as well.

Of course, regardless of what kind of siding you choose for your home, there are a number of different materials you’ll have to choose from—and vertical siding options are especially numerous.

Wood Siding

Wood siding—which can encompass vertical boards but also shingles, shakes, and beyond—can last for generations, so long as it is properly maintained. As such, while it may be one of the pricier options on this list, it arguably offers a great value. The big drawback is that protecting and maintaining wood can be quite time-intensive; wood is prone to expanding, cracking, and even gathering mildew and mold, so homeowners will need to be constantly alert against disrepair. Even in the most ideal of climates, you’ll likely need to restain or repaint your wood siding every year. Note that engineered wood siding is something a little different. This refers to bits of wood bonded together with special chemical resins, then treated to be resistant to fungus, insects, moisture, mildew, and even termites. These products may be pricey, as well, but are easy to install and require much less maintenance than regular wood.

Vinyl Siding

Among the many vinyl siding options that are out there, vinyl is one of the most enduringly popular—and not without reason. Vinyl comes with a number of decorative details, and can often look quite appealing—in some instances even simulating the look of classic wood. Vinyl is also resistant to the elements and requires very little maintenance.

Metal Siding

Another popular choice among the many vertical siding options is metal—specifically steel and aluminum. Both of these metals are commonly offered with a variety of prefinishes, and they come in vertical as well as horizontal styles. Again, many of these siding products are styled to look like wood, but they require far less maintenance than wood, and are resistant to dents, inclement weather, extreme temperatures, and so forth. You’ll likely pay more than you would for vinyl, but the durability and lack of maintenance could make it well worthwhile.

Brick and Stone

Worth noting: Some homes are made with brick and stone, and while these surfaces are sometimes thought to be maintenance-free, the reality is that they do require some care. If your home is made with brick or stone, you may sometimes need to have mortar joints removed or replaced. Also note that, while actual brick and stone must rest on the home’s foundation—meaning you can’t apply brick or stone siding down the road—there are brick- and stone-lookalike products that can be applied to the existing structure, if that’s the look you’re going for. The bottom line in all of this is really just that vertical siding options are plentiful—so before choosing the material that’s best for your home, it is worth meeting with a home improvement specialist who can offer a consultation.