Your Home Needs More Than A Pretty Face.
Great homeowners like you take pride in the look of their home. You’ve worked hard to get where you are- and keeping up your curb appeal is more good stewardship than vanity.
Studies show when individuals create the best of their homes- the entire community improves. A neighbor’s unkept lawn can decrease your home’s resale value by 10%. On the other hand, no one wants to be the “ugliest home on the block”- increasing your own home’s curb appeal is proven to be contagious.
Today, we’re going to talk about the face of your home: Facade. If you’re considering a new look for your home’s exterior, there’s a lot of options out there. In this ultimate guide to home exteriors, I’ll break down the pros and cons of the most popular materials so you can make the best choice for your home.
Ready? Read on.
“How Important Is My Siding?”
You’re here because you know first impressions count- and you know your home deserves better than what you have.
And yes- the way your home looks does matter. A good display makes a good first impression on strangers and neighbors. It increases your home’s value- and encourages buyers of surrounding homes to also upkeep their property.
But it’s so much more than that.
A strong facade is critical to protecting the investment you’ve made in your home against weather. When it comes to choosing new siding or cladding- you should never compromise durability for style.
How do you balance strength and longevity with your budget and style? It’s tempting to stick to what you know- but there are a lot of amazing products out there! A little research can completely change the look of your home and really make sure you get the most from your budget.
Whether you’re choosing exterior for a new build or replacing your existing home’s facade- here’s the top three things we always think about when we start a new exterior project at Martin:
Question #1: What’s The Best Choice for the Weather? The weather plays a huge role in the life expectancy of your facade. In Pennsylvania you need a material that’s designed to protect against heavy rainfall.
Question #2: What’s Your Home’s Existing Style? Your facade should complement your home’s architectural style. Material and design can have a huge impact on your home’s look and value.
Question #3: What’s the Best Installation Practice For This Material? Your facade protects what you love. But if installed incorrectly it can put your home at structural and interior risk. Don’t worry- we’ll talk about how to choose the right contractor and give you the most important questions to ask before beginning your installation.
You want to choose the best facade for your budget and lifestyle- a facade that will protect and last. Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in!
Choosing the Right Facade for Your Home
Replacing an entire home’s exterior facade is a big project. No matter what you choose, the cost is going to be in the five-figure range.
Price can be a shock- which is why so many people chose the cheapest material option (and the cheapest installation) they can get.
But the truth is your budget is only one of many factors to consider before making a decision.
Cheap materials and cheap installation can lead to problems down the road, such as:
- Fast weathering – fading and cracks that appear in just a few short years
- Poor impact resistance– from hail and tree branches
- Gaps in protection- which leads to water damage in your home’s framing and interior
….just to name a few.
At Martin Roofing & Siding, we believe it’s best to do it once- and do it right. This is why we don’t offer the cheapest materials on the market to our clients, and we make sure our crew exceeds industry standards in installations.
In the scope of a big project like an exterior remodel, spending a little more means:
- Protection that lasts beyond warranty
- Your home stays beautiful for years
- And- ultimately- not having to “redo” the job in the next few years
This isn’t to say we only offer expensive options. Not at all! We love working with homeowners to find a beautiful and durable product that fits a budget. But here’s what you should ask yourself when you start to consider what’s best for your home:
How long do you plan to live in your current home?
Is this your forever home? Spending a little more upfront on a facade that offers the best durability and the lowest maintenance makes sense.
On the other hand, if you think you’ll be moving in the next few years- there’s nothing wrong with choosing an option that’s more budget friendly so you have money for other improvements buyers will be wanting.
Choosing the right facade can also depend on the style of your home. Some siding looks better on historic homes, and other on modern homes. Some options (like authentic stone) aren’t even available for older homes.
Balancing these factors can seem complicated but it doesn’t have to be. I promise after this article you’ll have a great handle on your options. (Plus- we’re here for you! When you call us for a bid, we can show you virtually how different options will look installed on your home and help you weigh your options in cost vs. durability.)
Here are the five most common styles of facade:
#1. America’s Most Popular Choice: Vinyl Siding
This style of siding typically costs between $3.50-$8 per square foot and is one of the most popular styles of siding.
Low cost isn’t the only perk to this siding. Installation is fast and easy. That means your home is exposed to weather for less time- and labor costs are also lower.
Plus, vinyl has an enormous availability of style and color options. The color is baked in, not painted on, meaning it won’t chip or flake off. This also means that it’s relatively low maintenance (it won’t need painting or resealed)
Need help choosing the right vinyl siding color? Here’s our insider tips on how to choose the best color for your home.
Vinyl siding does have its downsides.
When it comes to durability, vinyl doesn’t always pass the test. It can last a maximum of 30 years but harsh weather can cause that lifespan to drop. Heavy rainfall can cause vinyl boards to warp. Even too much direct sunlight poses a threat, causing the boards to become discolored overtime.
Keep in mind there are different “grades” of vinyl siding (that’s why the price variability is so large!) Cheap vinyl is going to fade, crack in the sun, and present more of the problems above faster. The manufacturer we work with produces a heavier product that stands up to its warranty- and offers upgraded options for wind resistance (and even added insulation).
All of this to say…when you install vinyl siding on your home, make sure you know what you’re getting!
#2. Elegant Stone Without Breaking The Bank: Stone Veneer
Manufactured stone veneer is perfect for homeowners who want the look of real stone, without the weight or cost. With materials running between $6-$9 a square foot, this facade is both elegant and affordable.
Price isn’t the only reason for it’s popularity. Stone veneer is lightweight, meaning it can be installed on most homes. It’s a great choice for older homes.
At Martin, we love installing mixed exteriors (like the photo above). Stone can be a beautiful way to add elegance to your home, provide a focal point for entryways or foundations, and really elevate your home’s look overall.
This style of facade is known for durability- lasting up to 75 years.
Here’s the warning: it’s common for stone veneer to be installed incorrectly.
Stone veneer is technically considered “cladding”. The main difference from siding is that cladding is installed indirectly to the house. It’s separated from exterior sheathing by furring strips, creating an intentional gap for moisture.
Here’s what that looks like:
When installed correctly, cladding increases the strength of your house. It’s one of the most durable and storm protective facades available.
Often, the stone is not securely installed, allowing water to become trapped behind the veneer. This can lead to mold and water damage.
Working with a professional is the best way to protect your house and guarantee your new facade lasts for years to come. Choose a company with a long history of working with stone veneer before committing to this product.
#3. The Historic Pick: Authentic Stone Facade
I love old churches- they are just so beautiful! There’s something incredible about a structure that has lasted for hundreds of years while still being enjoyed today.
The reason these structures are so durable, when compared to residential buildings of the same era, is the material they were built from: stone.
Flash forward to the present. Stone facade is still known for its strength and durability. This material has a 50 year warranty. However, when maintained and cared for, it can last indefinitely!
Imagine passing your home down to your kids knowing it will not only last for them, but for your grandchildren and great grandchildren to come.
The downside is price. Authentic stone can range anywhere from $28-$50 per square foot.
It’s also a difficult installation and not every home is fit for it. Due to the weight of authentic stone, it’s not recommended for older homes or homes with structural issues. Some building codes won’t allow you to install stone if it weighs more than 15 pounds per square foot.
If you’re considering an authentic stone facade but are worried about the weight, a good contractor will be able to help you determine if your home is a good fit (and your local building codes are amenable to the material.)
#4: Sustainable Modern Design: Metal Siding
Metal is in this year- and not just for roofing. Metal siding is a great choice for homeowners in search of a sustainable and energy efficient option.
These panels are 100% recyclable making them the most environmentally friendly material available. Not only that but metal panels are energy efficient and can bring down your AC bill in the Summer. Due to the reflective nature of metal, it reflects sunlight away from your house, instead of absorbing heat.
Metal siding costs about $3-$7 per square foot- making it comparable to good quality vinyl siding.
It’s sleek modern look is great for some homes- but not for everyone.
Here at Martin, we work with Plygem for all our siding. Plygem boasts durability and offers a 50 year dent free warranty. Their metal siding has a 5-layered armored defense finish to protect against rust and moisture.
If metal is the right fit for your home, make sure to choose siding that’s designed to last!
#5 The Classic Beauty: Wood Siding
Wood siding is a classic choice and is seen most often on historic homes. However, it’s popularity is growing for modern homes, too and is the perfect choice for homeowners looking for a green friendly option.
Wood, much like metal, boasts sustainability. The biodegradable nature makes it a top pick for homeowners with a green thumb.
Most contractors have worked with wood siding before, making it a quick installation. It’s also easy to repair if it becomes damaged. Most holes can be filled with wood putty, and if the damage is too severe, you’ll only need to replace the damaged boards.
The cost of wood siding varies depending on the type of wood used. One of the most popular choices is Pinewood, typically running around $11 per square foot. However, more high end wood can cost anywhere from $32-$100 per square foot.
Note- As I write this article, lumber costs have skyrocketed. And they’re predicted to continue rising over the summer. This can drastically affect the price of siding. The best way to figure out the cost of wood siding is to talk with a professional.
So. Much. Maintenance.
Wood siding needs to be scrubbed down and cleaned every year to insure it lasts. On top of that, it also needs to be repainted and resealed every five years to protect the wood from water damage. Even then, wood is not recommended in rainy climates.
Also: wood is a favorite snack for both termites and ants. You’ll need to apply an insect repellent every year, and do regular checks for signs of insect damage.
If you’re in love with the style and have the time (or budget) for maintenance, it’s a beautiful and historic choice. Different styles of wood are better for different homes, so if you’re considering adding a wood siding, talk with a professional to make the right choice for your home.
Choosing the Right Contractor
Congratulations- you’ve chosen your facade material!
Next step? Choosing a contractor.
For most homeowners, this is the most stressful part of the process. You want someone who will do the job correctly and efficiently, someone you can trust.
We all have friends who hired a contractor that never finished the job, left a mess behind, or made them feel uncomfortable in their own home. Or worse even, it may have happened to you.
The general rule of thumb when it comes to bids is to get three quotes and hire the lowest bidder. But the truth is, hiring a contractor takes more than that- and the cheapest option isn’t always the best.
With all contractors in the middle of their busiest season (us included!)- getting the standard “three quotes” can take a dozen calls and a couple of weeks before you get multiple companies to bid.
My best advice: have patience and keep a smart head.
Unless you have critical damage to your exterior that’s putting your home at risk, take time for due diligence.
Think of your new facade as an investment, and the installation as a service- not a product.
You get what you pay for. That’s true about everything in life, including your installation.
But that doesn’t mean you have to blow out your budget on the most expensive contractors. The right contractor will charge you an honest rate and will respect your home and your installation.
So how do you find a contractor who you can trust to install your facade and leave you excited to book their services again?
Follow these three steps.
#1. Get Multiple Bids
When it comes to the right contractor, there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. And the best way to vet potential contractors is to get multiple quotes.
If your siding is damaged, you might be in a rush to hire someone fast. But your siding is a huge job, and it’s not something you want to hurry. Taking the time to find the right contractor saves you money in the long run. If you hire someone who does a poor job, you’ll have to spend extra on costly repairs down the line.
You should always talk to multiple contractors, especially with an installation as big as a siding replacement.
Make sure the contractors you’re talking to are licensed, insured, and have experience with the material you’ve chosen. Vinyl siding is a very different installation than stone veneer cladding, and you want someone who’s experienced in working with the facade material you choose.
How do you know if someone has the experience and the licensing for your job?
#2. Do Your Research
After you’ve collected bids, the next step is to do your research. Go through the contractors you’ve talked to and get your computer ready.
Look up their Google reviews. Check them out on Better Business Bureau. Go into your research knowing what you value from your contractor. Your budget is a top priority, but it shouldn’t be your only selling point. Look for contractors who are:
- Experienced working with your chosen materials
- Professional in their field with the credentials to match
- Will treat your install with respect
What do people who have worked with them before say about their service?
You’re not just looking at cost, you’re looking at their history and experience. You want to hire someone who you know will complete the job the right way the first time.
#3. Read Your Contract
It can be tempting to just gloss over the paperwork and skip right to the installation, but this is one of the most crucial steps.
Get as much information as you can before the installation starts. And if you get this far and aren’t confident in your decision, don’t be afraid to go with someone else.
The right contractor will welcome any questions you have at every stage of the process. This is your home, and you want to be comfortable with your decision.
Ready for a New Facade Without the Stress?
Installing a new facade on your home is a big task, and even the most enthusiastic clients can feel overwhelmed by all the decisions involved.
Still have questions before you make your decision? We’re here to help! Our team is happy to answer as many questions as you have so that you’re informed and comfortable with your installation.
Have an idea of what you want, but aren’t quite sure if it’s the right choice? Our visualization software allows you to see your design in real time, before beginning the installation process.
Our team at Martin is here to make your installation experience stress free. We can work with any facade, and we’re dedicated to clean, leaving your home free of debris so you don’t have to worry about cleaning up after installation.
Give us a call at 570-345-0406, and let’s get started on the home of your dreams!