Depending on the material, siding has a lifespan of anywhere from 20 to 100 years. At least, that's what the manufacturer will tell you. The actual lifespan of siding varies and is based on the following three things.
Where your home is located has a big impact on how long the siding will last. Environmental conditions, such as weather, pollution, and even local flora and fauna, can reduce siding's longevity in various ways.
For example, the burning of fossil fuels causes acid rain. In addition to being harmful to human health, this type of rain makes wood degrade faster, so you may find you have to replace wood-based siding earlier than planned if you live in an area where fossil fuels are used heavily (e.g., near manufacturing plants or electric power generators).
That's why it's critical to consider your local environment when choosing what type of siding material to use, as some materials may fall apart faster than others simply because they aren't a good match for the area. Aluminum siding would not be a great choice for homes located near salt water, for example, because salt makes the metal corrode faster.
Your local siding company will typically be well versed in the type of materials that work best in your area, so it's a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable professional before you pay thousands of dollars redoing your home's exterior.
The quality of installation can also affect your siding's lifespan. You might not get as many years out of the siding if the right preparations aren't made prior to putting it in or if the crew makes avoidable mistakes while doing the job.
Something as simple as nailing the siding to the home too tightly or loosely can lead to disaster, for instance. Changes in temperature will make siding expand and contract, which, in turn, may result in cracks if the boards are nailed down too tightly. Boards that are nailed too loosely, however, may sag over time and allow water to seep in, causing damage to both the siding and the home.
The best way to prevent this is to do your research and make sure you work with a company known for its high-quality work. Although you may have to spend a little more upfront, the investment will pay for itself when you're able to extract an extra five or ten years out of your siding.
A third—and possibly the most important—thing that can make or break your siding's longevity is how well you maintain it over the years. While some siding materials don't require a lot of upkeep, there will still be things you need to do on a regular basis to ensure your siding maintains its strength and beauty.
Wood siding, for instance, requires treatment every 4 to 6 years, especially if you live in areas that get a lot of snow and sun. Metal siding may need to be repainted and occasionally treated for rust. Even vinyl siding—which prides itself on being maintenance free—must be power washed at least yearly. Regardless of the type of material you use, you should inspect your siding at regular intervals for loose boards, cracks, and other damage and have it repaired as soon as possible.
Because maintaining your siding is key, it's important to choose a material based on your lifestyle and finances. Avoid picking a material that requires a lot of time and money to keep up if you don't have a lot of either, for instance. Be honest with the siding expert about this aspect of your life, so the person can help you choose the best option for you.
To learning more about siding or for an estimate, contact a local company.