Anyone who lives in cold climates — the upper Midwest quickly comes to mind — knows about the importance of having a home that can withstand freezing cold temperatures, heavy snowstorms, hail, sleet, freezing rain and everything else harsh winter can throw at it. While your roof will take the brunt of the snow, your siding also plays a large part in protecting your home and keeping it insulated.
This begs the question, “what type of siding is best for houses in cold climates.” As usual, the answer isn’t exactly cut and dry, but we can still go over the pros and cons of having each type of siding in a state where winter hits the hardest.
Vinyl Siding in the Winter
Vinyl siding still remains one of the most popular choices for homes in the United States due to its affordability and availability, but it isn’t always the best choice for winter weather. But this doesn’t make it a bad choice, either, just not the best choice for your home. Over the years, vinyl siding has gotten better when it comes to winter weather performance, new coatings have made it more resistant to buckling, warping and cracking, but lower quality vinyl siding planks will become brittle in extreme cold and can be prone to cracking.
If you choose vinyl siding, invest in good quality materials.
Wood Siding in the Winter
Wood siding is as old as time. It performs well in winter weather with one big caveat: it must be properly maintained throughout the year to be effective at weatherproofing and energy efficiency. Wood naturally absorbs water, which is abundant in the winter and can wreak havoc on your siding, which is why wood needs to be properly sealed with exterior paint or stain to help it survive throughout the winter.
So long as you keep up with the maintenance, wood is a great choice from an insulation and protection standpoint.
Brick and Stone Siding in the Winter
Although they are more expensive, brick and stone are great at insulation, protecting your home and keeping water out. They are very hard to damage with high winds and heavy snow. They also don’t require a whole lot of maintenance, making them a great choice for cold climates. Just remember that brick and stone are porous materials, so a proper barrier must be installed between the masonry and the house to prevent water damage.
If you can afford brick or stone siding, they make strong choices for homes in areas with harsh winter weather.
Fiber Cement Siding in the Winter
Fiber cement siding is made from sand, cement and cellulose fibers, and is a great option for homes all across the country, no matter the climate. It’s not the best-performing winter weather siding, but it’s also not the worst. This middle-of-the-pack siding insulates fairly well, will not absorb moisture, and also isn’t the most expensive option on the market.
If you’re looking for something reliable and that won’t break the bank, fiber cement could very well be an option.
Stucco Siding in the Winter
Stucco is not normally seen in midwestern homes. This is because the siding material is known for dry, arid climates. Although stucco siding insulates extremely well (keeping heat out in hot climates), it absorbs water easily and does not perform well when exposed to a lot of moisture.
If you choose stucco as a siding option, you will have to do a lot of ventilation work to control the airflow between the siding and the home so that water dries out quickly once it is absorbed.
Metal Siding in Winter
Metal siding is on the rise in the US because of its durability and performance all year round. It’s strong, making it very resistant to wind, hail and other harsh weather, and it’s also completely waterproof (it won’t rust) and acts as a good insulator. It’s longevity also makes it a great investment because of how many years homeowners will get out of the material.
The downside: price. Some people are scared off by the initial cost, but if you can make the investment, it will outperform any other material all year round.