Los Angeles General Contractor, Advanced Builders & Contractors gives their opinion on the best siding options available to California homeowners.
The best siding option for your home is going to depend on a few variables, including the location, environment, and style of the home. If you are considering siding for a beachfront home, such as in Santa Monica, Malibu, or Pacific Palisades, you will want a material that is durable and can handle the humidity, like Fiber Cement, which is a combination of wood pulp and cement. The result is a durable, low maintenance, affordable, and stylish exterior. Currently, considering upkeep, fiber cement has the highest return on investment (ROI) of the siding options. Fiber Cement can be made to look like traditional vinyl siding, painted wood, stone, cement, or even brick. It requires minimal upkeep; and is rot-, fire-, and termite-proof with a lifespan of up to 50 years (although this varies by maker, so check the warranty information specific to the brand). Fiber Cement can be painted or finished with texture coating, although not necessary.
Texture coating is a way to weatherproof your home, change the color, texture, and/or to minimize or eliminate water damage, fungus, and mildew. Many texture coatings offer heat reflective technology meant to keep your home cooler, and it also will fill in any tiny cracks, sealing the exterior from pests or air leaks. Paint adds color, but it absorbs up to 90% of the sun’s UV rays. Certainly, painting has its usefulness, but in many cases, texture coating may be the superior option.
Other siding options include wood (cedar) and composite/engineered wood. You will have to repaint or restain cedar every 3-5 years. You’ll want to monitor this, the closer you are to the beach the sooner you will need to maintain the protective coating or finish. If properly maintained, wood siding should last at least 20 years. As a result of many wanting the natural look but without the upkeep there has been an increase in composite wood being used for modern California homes. It is incredibly durable and low maintenance, although a higher initial investment than other options… composite can last you 20-30 years. Look for composites that vary their design so that the boards don’t look uniform for the best style, repetitive patterns can make it look cheap and artificial. Remember, unlike natural wood, composite color cannot be changed. Most companies will send you samples to view, but check out their online galleries and try to see as many examples as possible before making your selection. A combination of Fiber Cement and Composite wood panels creates the modern natural aesthetic currently highly sought after by many of our luxury California homeowners.
If you are going ultra-modern, check out glass paneling and panoramic doors to utilize in your design. Another trending siding material is metal, such as steel and aluminum siding. Recently we’ve had more requests for black metal siding, resulting in a modern and sleek look.
Many Los Angeles homeowners still choose Stucco for their homes. Stucco does not handle moisture well, so it’s important to find a durable solution when waterproofing for stucco. It is, however, very easy to maintain in a dry climate. Stucco is made from the combination of lime or sand and cement and can be painted almost any color, although white and its off-white variations tend to be most popular in Southern California. Unfortunately for earthquake-prone California, stucco is prone to cracking during foundation shifts, but can usually be repaired. There is also vinyl and insulated vinyl siding, which comes in a range of styles, textures, and colors including vertical and horizontal panels and wood shake/shingle styles. Many homeowners report a 20% increase in their energy efficiency with insulated siding, which is great in hot summer months to reduce the cost and usage of air conditioning. Brick, stone, and concrete are other options though these are typically costly to source and install so they are usually only used as accents to style the home. Brick and stone can weather most circumstances, salty winds, rain, and sun, and provides more efficient thermal and sound insulation.
After considering your location, environment, style preference, and the cost of each option you will be able to figure out what the best option for your home will be. If you are still stuck, ask your contractor or local siding company for their guidance.
Use a Qualified and Experienced Contractor
Regardless of what siding option you choose, make sure you used a licensed and qualified contractor for installation. Improper installation of any siding can lead to major issues down the line, wasting time and money and potentially causing other issues such as mold, water damage, insulation issues, and more. Advanced Builders & Contractors has been building quality custom homes for over a decade, specializing in the hillside and sloped terrain of Los Angeles. Our timeless homes are built to last generations. When you are looking for a home builder, we hope that you will consider us. Our work has been featured by Architectural Digest, and our customer service has awarded us several Best of Houzz and 5 Star reviews.
Please note that the information given herein is in no way to act as legal or professional advice. Always consult current Los Angeles Building Codes and requirements and work with licensed and insured contractors in your local area.