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Types of Facade Cladding for Home Exteriors

Upgrading or replacing your exterior facade cladding can be a daunting decision. Mainly because of the all the choices you have to make on the different types of facade cladding for homes. Composite, vinyl, fiber cement, or wooden panels are just a few of the facade cladding options and materials you have as a homeowner. Education is key to making a comfortable and calculated decision that will allow you to sleep well at night.

The good thing about all these types of facade cladding is that for every style of house and budget there is a suitable facade cladding option waiting for you!

Issues to Consider

Before you decide on what material you would like to use there are several factors you should consider that will help you make a sound decision.

Water Resistant

Depending on the material some types of facade cladding will be more water resistant than others. This will prolong the life of that material as well as prevent decay due to water or moisture.

Energy Efficiency

Facade Cladding material comes with an R-value that measures the energy efficiency of the material. The higher the R value the better the thermal insulation. For example, stucco facade cladding has an R-Value of .4 while insulated vinyl has a 2.0-3.0 R value.

Aesthetics & Texture

The color, texture, and overall aesthetics of the facade cladding is all about appearance. How your facade cladding will look and what colors are available are probably one of the most important decisions that will affect your facade cladding purchase. Brick or stone have limited color options and focus on texture while vinyl facade cladding color options are limitless.

Versatility

The structure of your home and exterior can play a role in what type of facade cladding your wish to install. A complex 3-story Victorian home may not be best suited for stone veneer facade cladding.

Eco-Friendly

Eco-friendly facade cladding is found in many current materials; fiber cement is made of sand, cement, clay, and wood-pulp fibers. Others such as wood are naturally biodegradable & green, and come straight from nature. Green facade cladding is also related to the energy efficiency of the home and how well it insulates the heat.

Durability

How long will your facade cladding last before it has to be replaced, maintained, or painted? Some facade cladding such as stucco, if done right can last a lifetime of the home and will only need to be repainted every 6-7 years. Resistance to mother nature, rot, and insects can all play a role in the how your facade cladding will last.

Cost

Installing facade cladding is not cheap and can run anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000+ very quickly depending on what you want. Determining a budget beforehand on what you can afford is prudent. Check out our facade cladding calculator to get a rough estimate on how much you can predict to spend.

Vinyl Facade Cladding

Vinyl facade cladding is by far the leader boasting roughly 30% market share of new home facade cladding installations. Vinyl facade cladding is attractive due to its combination of durability, color options, and low cost which make it attractive to the budget-conscious homeowner.

There are many different profiles of vinyl: horizontal and vertical panels, dutch lap, shakes, shingles, board n batten, beaded, and fish scales or scallops. Vinyl facade cladding sits alone at the top and continues to be one of the best facade cladding options available. Below are the pros and cons of vinyl facade cladding:

PROS
Vinyl facade cladding is durable and typically is under warranty for 30-40 years after installation
The color options of vinyl are endless, with hundreds of color palettes to choose from
It is versatile and can be textured like wood without the disadvantages of decay or termites
Simple and easy to clean, vinyl facade cladding just needs a power hose and some water
Wide range of quality of the vinyl materials, you can even get insulated vinyl if you live in colder climates to increase energy efficiency.
Insulated vinyl facade cladding has the potential to raise your energy efficiency R value from 2 – 5.5!
Finally, vinyl facade cladding in probably the cheapest option when upgrading your exterior facade cladding

CONS
Although it is water-resistant it is not waterproof. Poor installation can lead to water seeping behind the paneling which leads to mold and other issues
It is known to warp and bend under extreme weather conditions of both heat & cold
The color you choose is permanent. Unlike other facade cladding that can be repainted different colors, vinyl facade cladding color choice is here to stay.
Compared to something like brick facade cladding; hail, baseballs, tree limbs, etc … can leave dents and gashes in the side of your home.

Metal Facade Cladding

Metal facade cladding is usually associated with retro and modern style type buildings. Installing metal facade cladding for your home can give it a unique appeal if done properly. The most common types of materials are aluminum and steel facade cladding.

Aluminum facade cladding is more popular in the coastal areas due to the salty air and its protection against that. Steel on the other hand is more prone to rust but is resilient to hail damage. The following are the pros and cons of metal facade cladding.

PROS
Metal cannot mold or rot unlike other facade cladding with the potential for water damage
Very low maintenance even in harsh winters unlike other facade cladding prone to mother nature
No fading of color with steel facade cladding unlike vinyl
Eco friendly and green product since each panel is precisely cut with little waste material
Fire resistant & resilient, good for dry areas or locations with frequent lightning storms
Insects cannot find a home in metal facade cladding, while other facade cladding requires periodic spraying of insecticide

CONS
Metal facade cladding if not properly sealed and finished can lead to rust and discolorization
With ever newer materials, metal has lost appeal and some still see it as a ‘shed’ like

Aluminum facade cladding is a soft metal and is prone to dents from hail, rocks, baseballs, etc
Aluminum facade cladding is more prone to fading and at times difficult to match pre-colored panels
Steel facade cladding is heavy and requires more time to install thus driving up the cost
Metal facade cladding is more easily scratched exposing the metal beneath which can rust very quickly if not resealed and re-painted.

Wood Facade Cladding

Everyone likes wood, this type of facade cladding can add a natural & beautiful exterior to your house. The changing colors and tones of wood instantly make a home feel warm and inviting. There are several species of wood to choose from such as: spruce, pine, fir, cedar, and redwood.

Apart from the kind of wood you choose you will also have the choice of 4 different profiles: bevel (clapboard), shakes or shingles, board and batten, or engineered wood. This type of facade cladding is particularly dominant in the west, and continues to be a top choice for homeowners with its classic & timeless look. Below are the pros and cons of wood facade cladding:

PROS
Wood has the advantage of being easily replaced in small quantities if damaged. Other types of facade cladding have to replace whole panels and sides
No question this is the most green facade cladding you can find on the market.
Wood can be stained and painted in limitless colors, there are no bounds
Wood facade cladding has a higher R-Value than most of ~.8 making it more energy efficient
It’s lightweight feature makes it faster and easier to be installed. Reducing overall labor cost and time

CONS
Can be stained/painted limitless colors, but this also is a drawback. It must be maintained
Damage to wood can come from insects or water. Termites and other wood eating insects can wreak havoc on a home with wood facade cladding
The cost of maintenance adds up: stained every 2-3 years, and repainted every 4-5 years
It’s not fire resistant which can play a factor in dry climate areas

Fiber Cement for Home Exteriors

On the heels of vinyl facade cladding, another popular facade cladding option is fiber cement. This is a mixture of wood fibers, sand, and cement. It is built to mimic the look and feel of natural wood facade cladding, with less hassle of maintenance, insects, and cost.

The most popular brand of fiber cement is James Hardie Facade Cladding Manufacturer from Australia. The interest of this type of facade cladding has risen dramatically due to its durability and low-cost wood alternative. Fiber cement is often compared to vinyl, for an in depth review of the two check out the infographic: vinyl facade cladding vs. fiber cement. Below are the pros and cons of fiber cement facade cladding:

PROS
Get the look and feel of real wood without the high cost or susceptibility to wood insects
Fiber cement is extremely fire resistant with a class 1A fire rating
Not prone to rot or decay like wood as well as resistant to salty air for coastal areas
Easy to maintain and is guaranteed up front for 15 years not to fade or chip
Very versatile in its finish and texture offering many design and color options such as brick and stone textures

CONS
For DIY (self installation) the material is quite heavy requiring 2 people as well as special cutting tools
More costly than its synthetic cousin vinyl facade cladding by 2-3 times as much.
Although not as often as wood, it does have to be repainted every 12-15 years.
Some evidence of delaminating or gapping of the material, although not frequent
Color is not all the way through the product like vinyl, so touch ups will be required for chips and damage

Brick Facade Cladding

Brick facade cladding is an attractive choice mostly because it is considered to last a lifetime. This coupled with its rustic, elegant, and pleasing aesthetic have many homeowners returning to brick exterior facade cladding. You can find houses and buildings over 100 years ago with the brick facade cladding still in good condition.

Brick facade cladding comes in regular brick masonry (solid brick) as well as brick veneer which is a finished exterior that sits on the house as opposed to solid brick which holds up the house! Brick veneer is usually a thinner layer on the exterior of the home like traditional facade cladding. Below are the pros and cons of brick facade cladding:

PROS
Brick can easily last a lifetime, 100+ years, with just a general wash every now and then
Brick facade cladding is highly fire resistant
No termites or wood ants will be found inside of brick facade cladding
Brick never needs to be repainted or finished, weathers beautifully, and will not fade or decay
Because it’s fire resistant, termite proof, and durable, home insurance is usually lower for brick facade cladding homes allowing you to recover your investment faster

CONS
Brick facade cladding is definitely one of the more expensive options for facade cladding, ranging from $10 – $15 per square foot.
Color choice is set once you decide on the type of brick, no repainting allowed
Overtime the mortar joints can deteriorate and need to be replaced
Long installation time if you are doing this yourself

Stucco Facade Cladding

Stucco facade cladding is more traditional Spanish style exterior made up of a lime mixture, sand, and cement. Although you can paint stucco, it does not hold well and requires often repainting.

A stucco exterior starts with a wooden wall, covered by a wire mesh to hold the final layer of stucco mixture. On the market there are 2 options: traditional stucco (3-coat) or synthetic stucco or EIFS (Exterior Insulation & Finish System). 3-coat consists of a scratch coat, brown coat, and then finish coat. Below are the pros and cons of stucco facade cladding:

PROS
Durable can last 20 – 30 years with maintenance and upkeep
Damage done can be repaired with some costs as opposed to replacing whole panels
Stucco can be mixed to specific color options giving you the look you want
No insect or rot problems with stucco facade cladding
Very breathable material which allows for quick drying in areas with normal rainfall

CONS
If a home’s foundation begins to move, the stucco can easily crack
Weathering and dirt show up more easily on stucco facade cladding
Although breathable, heavy rainfall areas are not suitable for stucco
Once color is chosen, you will not want to repaint and repaint
From a distance, it looks like a plain flat finish

Stone Facade Cladding

Stone facade cladding is the grandaddy of all facade cladding and comes with a highest cost of facade cladding to install. The 2 options are real stone facade cladding and faux stone facade cladding (stone veneer).

PROS
Stone is impenetrable by mother nature and will last a lifetime
The look and feel of real stone is unmatched and is considered the Rolls-Royce of facade cladding
Stone veneer gives you a similar look of stone but about half the cost
Resistant to moisture, extreme temperatures, insects, and fire
Zero maintenance other than being cleaned with a pressure washer

CONS
Installing natural stone requires heavy labor and installation time driving up the cost
Stone veneer can have the same moisture problems as stucco
Faux Stone does not adapt well to extreme temperatures, freezing and thawing
So there you have it, I hope this comparison guide gave you the pros and cons of the different types of facade cladding for homes. Understanding the market and facade cladding options along with your budget is the first step in making the right decision for your home.
Remember to use our facade cladding calculator to get a rough pricing guide on how much it will cost to install new facade cladding with Green Plank composite facade cladding.

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