Here in Colorado, our generally dry climate means we don’t have to worry quite as much as other areas about using wood for our homes. In extraordinarily moist areas like Seattle, mold, moss, and rot are all big concerns. Out here, however, wood siding is a pretty popular choice, especially to match the style of older and historic homes in the area. But is wood siding the best choice? Sure, it can look great when installed properly, but is it worth the cost?
Choosing the Look
Traditional wood siding generally creates a classic, timeless look—in large part because this has been a home exterior option for centuries. If you prefer that enduring style, you’ve probably looked at your wood siding options a time or two. Of course, thanks to modern construction materials, another popular option for a wood siding look is to instead use fiber cement panels made to look like wood. The question the DJK Siding team hears regularly is, “which is better?” In this instance, a well-made fiber cement panel can look almost exactly like real wood, so there are other factors to consider as well.
As we said above, a quality fiber cement panel option, like those from manufacturers like James Hardie, manage to achieve the same aesthetic as real wood siding; generally, the difference is only noticeable when you get up very close. Wood siding can be painted and sealed, stained and sealed, or left raw—as is occasionally done with cedar siding to get the silvered, weathered look. Fiber cement siding, like wood, comes in a variety of different color and treatment options, and can easily be painted after installation. The one major difference is that fiber cement panels won’t weather and look like aged wood over time.
If you own a historic home, don’t fret. Some varieties of fiber cement siding look so close to the real thing that they’ve been approved by historical societies as a wood siding alternative for registered historical homes. Check with your local registry if this is an option you’re interested in.
One of the biggest differences between real wood panels and fiber cement alternatives is the upkeep. Wooden siding will need to be thoroughly cleaned and repainted or re-stained every few years, then re-sealed in order to help the life of the siding last as long as possible. Fiber cement siding, on the other hand, needs next to no upkeep. If a dusty rain storm recently came through, you may want to rinse off the sides of your home, but that’s it! Fiber cement panels were designed to withstand the ravages of weather, so they’re more likely to hold their color and avoid damage than wood siding.
The other big factor, as it usually is when installing new siding, is the cost. Generally speaking, fiber cement panels cost somewhere in the realm of 3 to 5 dollars a square foot. Cedar siding, because it is more costly to produce, is more likely to run roughly 5 to 8 dollars a square foot.
If you’re ready to update your siding, contact the knowledgeable siding contractors at DKJ Siding to begin planning your renovation today!