Siding and wall cladding is the exterior material applied to the walls of a house or other building meant to shed water, protect the walls from the effects of weather, insulate, and is a key in the aesthetics of the structure. Some walls such as solid brickwork and masonry veneer are not covered with siding, but some buildings such as log buildings can have siding added.
Siding may be formed of horizontal or vertical boards, shingles, or sheet materials. In all cases, avoiding wind and rain infiltration through the joints is a major challenge, met by overlapping, covering or sealing the joints, or by creating an interlocking joint such as a tongue and groove or rabbet. Since building materials expand and contract with changing temperature and humidity, it is not practical to make rigid joints between the siding elements so they often leak. Rainscreen construction is used to improve siding's ability to keep walls dry.
Siding may be made of wood, metal, plastic (vinyl), masonry, or composite materials. It may be attached directly to the building structure (studs in the case of wood construction), or to an intermediate layer of wood (boards, planks, plywood, oriented strand board) called sheathing (or sheeting in some regions of the United States). An intermediate air/moisture barrier such as housewrap or felt paper may be applied to the sheathing or a modern sheathing material also serves as an air/moisture barrier.
Wood clapboard is often imitated using vinyl siding or uPVC weatherboarding. It is usually produced in units twice as high as clapboard. Plastic imitations of wood shingle and wood shakes also exist.
Since plastic siding is a manufactured product, it may come in unlimited color choices and styles. Historically vinyl sidings would fade, crack and buckle over time, requiring the siding to be replaced. However, newer vinyl options have improved and resist damage and wear better. Vinyl siding is sensitive to direct heat from grills, barbecues or other sources. Unlike wood, vinyl siding does not provide additional insulation for the building, unless an insulation material (e.g., foam) has been added to the product. It has also been criticized by some fire safety experts for its heat sensitivity. This sensitivity makes it easier for a house fire to jump to neighboring houses in comparison to materials such as brick, metal or masonry.
An environmental cost of vinyl siding is that it is difficult to dispose of responsibly. It cannot be burned (due to toxic dioxin gases that would be released) and currently it is not recycled.
Vinyl siding is also considered one of the more unattractive siding choices by many. Although some newer styles eliminate this complaint, more widespread varieties often have visible seam lines between panels and generally do not have the quality appearance of wood, brick, or masonry. The fading and cracking of older types of plastic siding compound this issue. In many areas of newer housing development, particularly in North America, entire neighbourhoods are often built with all houses clad in vinyl siding, given an unappealing uniformity. Some cities now campaign for house developers to incorporate varied types of siding during construction.
Slate shingles may be simple in form but many buildings with slate siding are highly decorative. As well as beautiful, they also provide a sturdy, non-form changing solution to your siding needs - which require less attention than conventional siding. Simply pressure wash them to keep them clean and they'll remain beautiful for years to come.
Metal siding comes in a variety of metals, styles, and colors. It is most often associated with modern, industrial, and retro buildings as well as workspaces and barns. Utilitarian buildings often use corrugated galvanized steel sheet siding or cladding, which often has a coloured vinyl finish. Corrugated aluminium cladding is also common where a more durable finish is required, while also being lightweight for easy shaping and installing making it a popular metal siding choice.
Formerly, imitation wood clapboard was made of aluminium (aluminium siding). That role is typically played by vinyl siding today. Aluminium siding is ideal for homes in coastal areas (with lots of moisture and salt), since aluminium reacts with air to form aluminium oxide, an extremely hard coating that seals the aluminium surface from further degradation. In contrast, steel forms rust, which can weaken the structure of the material, and corrosion-resistant coatings for steel, such as zinc, sometimes fail around the edges as years pass. However, an advantage of steel siding can be its dent-resistance, which is excellent for regions with severe storms—especially if the area is prone to hail.
The first architectural application of aluminium was the mounting of a small grounding cap on the Washington Monument in 1884. Sheet-iron or steel clapboard siding units had been patented in 1903, and Sears, Roebuck & Company had been offering embossed steel siding in stone and brick patterns in their catalogues for several years by the 1930s. ALCOA began promoting the use of aluminium in architecture by the 1920s when it produced ornamental spandrel panels for the Cathedral of Learning and the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings in New York. The exterior of the A.O. Smith Corporation Building in Milwaukee was clad entirely in aluminium by 1930, and 3'-square siding panels of Duralumin sheet from ALCOA sheathed an experimental exhibit house for the Architectural League of New York in 1931. Most architectural applications of aluminium in the 1930s were on a monumental scale, and it would be another six years before it was put to use on residential construction.