Siding Advice for Your Local Region
Why should you choose a siding that is compatible with your region?
Choosing a siding that is compatible with your local bioregion has many benefits for you, your community and the environment. If you must choose siding that is not compatible with your local region, there are alternatives and methods of adapting sidings to different regional conditions. Talk to local professionals to learn more about your options.
Transportation Costs and Energy
Buying locally can reduce your personal costs since manufacturers often charge shipping based on distances required for shipment--less travel means less cost. Buying locally also means that the environmental impact from shipping will be less. The amount of energy (usually fossil fuel energy) required to ship materials is staggering--especially when bulky, heavy supplies are being shipped.
When making large purchases for your home consider local businesses first and you can help support your community's economy. Economic growth affects everyone in the community and supporting local businesses can improve local job opportunities and local property values.
Temperature: Hot and Cold
More efficient temperature control in your home can save you money and lower your environmental impact. In climates with extreme conditions (heat and/or cold), insulation is an important part of maintaining an energy efficient home. Wood siding can provide some insulation. Vinyl and metal sidings do not provide any insulation. When using a siding that doesn't provide insulation, consider providing extra insulation before installing the siding.
Elements: Rain, Salt, Hail
Precipitation can threaten the structure of your home, so it is important that the siding you choose will be able to withstand the weather conditions in your region. For regions that receive a lot of rain, newer stucco mixtures, specifically EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems), have been known to suffer underlying wood rot problems with excessive moisture exposure. However, original stucco mixes (cement, lime, sand, and water) and many of the newer synthetic mixes are compatible with moist conditions. If choosing stucco, be sure to talk to a professional that is familiar with the many stucco options and your local weather conditions throughout the year.
If your home is in a coastal area (lots of moisture and salt), aluminum is an ideal metal siding since it doesn't 'rust' like steel. Exposed aluminum oxidizes with the air to form aluminum oxide--the second hardest substance known to man (after diamond). This oxidized coating helps 'seal' the siding from further oxidation and environmental exposure.
If your home is in an area with notable hail storms, steel is a better choice for metal siding, since it will withstand the beating better than aluminum siding.
Pests: Termites and Ants
Termites and ants are only a threat to wood siding. Conveniently there are treatment options if you choose wood siding in a pest infected area, but be aware that these treatments will add to the cost of your siding installation and maintenance. Talk to a local professional about the pest conditions in your area and on your property. In some cases a more expensive masonry siding may prove more cost effective in the long term.
Disposal of Siding
If it should become necessary to dispose of your siding, it is easier to find responsible ways to dispose of siding that is compatible with local needs and styles. For example, bricks and metal sidings can be recycled and used in other building and gardening projects. Wood, if in reasonably good shape, can be reused in other structures (sheds, smaller buildings). Vinyl siding is perhaps the most problematic to dispose of since it releases toxic dioxin if burned and won't break down easily in a landfill.
As of yet there are no options for mass recycling of old siding, but with some thought and advertising, there are many options for putting old siding to good use. Talk with the professionals in your area about options for responsibly reusing your siding in your local community.
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