The construction days of yore saw structures composed of animal skins, stone, and thatch fade away to be replaced by newer construction technology such as mud and thatch brick. Brick making was refined over the centuries to what we have today. Working with stone to form walls is probably the only ancient construction technique that has experienced very little change and still available today, although at a prohibitive cost. Home construction and materials have gone through a number of evolutions in the relatively recent past. No longer are cedar shakes or thatch frequently used in favor of more durable and environmental resistant materials. Due to rapidly developing technologies, what homes are constructed with need not be as heavy and solid as they once were. Most walls are self supporting and hollow with wood or aluminum studs supporting the roof. The same is true of siding materials.
Wood sheathing and shakes were once an exceptionally common type of siding material. Wood, though, required extensive attention to maintain its longevity. Fast forward to today and an individual can drive by any construction site and see an amazing assortment of materials being used in modern day housing from walls and ceilings composed of solid concrete to exterior walls of styrofoam with a thin coating of concrete on the outside.
The most common of all siding widely used in today’s construction is metal, vinyl, or fiber cement planks. Each siding material has its strengths and style. The newest out of these three is fiber cement board or planks. Fiber Cement siding is perhaps the most innovative and durable siding material ever invented. The list of benefits to using this type of siding is long. Fiber cement siding is impervious to insect damage, as well as, being a noncombustible material so it will not feed a fire the way other materials will, and are rot resistant. The available styles, look, and texture of fiber cement siding provides a real wood or even brick facade. Should a homeowner desire the look of real wood siding or wood shingles, this siding will fulfill the requirement. A brick textured fiber cement siding has similar properties with one exception. With the use of real brick, mortar joints over time will decay and will require repointing to restore the original look. The cost of fiber cement siding is much higher than vinyl or metal siding, although it is far superior.
Vinyl siding, just as metal siding is durable as well, but will show more visible wear and tear than other types. Both are impervious to insect damage, however, mildew, dents or cracks are more likely to occur over time from lawn equipment or children. A big difference between vinyl siding and most other types is that painting vinyl is not an option. Vinyl, also, is not fire resistant as are metal or fiber cement. The largest advantage vinyl siding has over most other types is the initial cost of purchasing and installing it. It will require the most maintenance in order to retain its look, though. The benefit of metal siding is, like fiber cement siding, it is able to be painted in the event that a new color is desired or stains from irrigation and untreated well water develop.
One other aspect of these types of siding materials is the impact to the environment. While metal and vinyl siding do not require deforestation, fiber cement planks are classified as green due to the fact that they are composed of recycled fibers and the color finish is actually part of the material thereby eliminating the need for painting, which releases volatile organic compounds or V.O.C.s into the environment.