There are a wide variety of siding options available for your home re-siding project. One choice that strikes an excellent balance between cost and performance is composite siding. This term describes siding made up of dissimilar materials bonded together to increase performance.
Types of composite siding
There are three types of composite siding: engineered wood, acrylic and fiber cement siding. Each of these siding types has its own defining characteristics.
- Engineered wood. Engineered wood siding is made from wood products that are mixed with fillers and binders, heated, and then pressed into boards. A decorative layer is bonded into the boards to replicate the look of natural wood. The boards are then treated to resist mildew, rot and insects. The result is less expensive then natural wood siding, is more durable and requires less upkeep.
- Acrylic. Acrylic composite siding is a solid-core vinyl siding product that incorporates a polymer mixture, rigid core backing, insulation and a thermo barrier coating into the composite. This siding is known for its strength, impact resistance, noise reduction and insulating properties.
- Fiber cement. Fiber cement siding is made from a mixture of sand, Portland cement, water, and cellulose that is steam heated and formed into planks. The result is a durable product that is resistant to damage, rot and insects. Fiber cement siding requires less maintenance than wood siding and is typically guaranteed to last 50 years, although it will need to be repainted after 10 to 15 years. Fiber cement siding is also flame retardant.
Popular brands and typical costs
Engineered wood siding products include LP Smart Side by LP Building Products, Collins Products TruWood siding, and Plytanium Plywood siding by Georgia-Pacific. In general, expect to pay between $2 to $6 per square foot for engineered wood siding, installed. This is usually a 50 percent cost savings when compared to the costs of natural wood siding.
The only current product in the acrylic composite siding category is Cedar Ridge Composite Siding by Crane. The cost of Cedar Ridge siding is on the high end for premium vinyl siding options, roughly $6 to $9 per square foot. The higher up front costs are offset, however, by the energy savings over time. Crane claims you'll save at least 20 percent in energy costs per year.
Leading fiber cement products include James Hardie's HardiePlank, CertainTeed's WeatherBoards and Nichiha's Sierra Premium brand. The initial cost of fiber cement siding is more than vinyl siding and less then natural wood siding. Part of this higher cost is the increased difficulty of installing fiber cement siding when compared to other siding types. Expect to pay about $8 to $10 per square foot for fiber cement siding installed.
Most popular colors and styles
The colors and styles available depend largely on the product you pick. Engineered wood siding is most often available in natural wood colors, in neutral colors such as white or gray, or primed and ready to paint. Cedar Ridge siding is available in eight colors, including Bone, Mocha, Pearl and Country Beige. Fiber cement siding can come primed or painted from the manufacturer. For instance, James Hardie offers 20 colors in their factory ColorPlus Palette, including Navajo Beige, Woodland Cream and Country Lane Red.
What about energy efficiency?
Engineered wood siding typically has an R-value of 0.6 to 0.75, which means it provides 60 to 75 percent as much insulating value as one inch of wood. According to the manufacturer, Cedar Ridge acrylic composite siding is 300 percent stronger then vinyl siding and provides 45 percent more sound proofing. The siding has an R-value of 4, which means it provides the equivalent insulating value of four inches of wood. Of the three types of composite siding, fiber cement siding is the least energy efficiency. With an R-value of 0.5 to 0.6 of R-1, it does not add any significant insulating value.
How to get started
Now that you know more about composite siding you can research further to see if one of these ingenious siding choices can make you fall in love with your home all over again. You can find siding information through a local siding contractor who specializes in installing composite siding. If you would like to get started right away, complete the form on this page for a recommendation of a reliable professional in your area.