Choosing Siding for Homes in Wet and Humid Climates
Your home's exterior takes all of the abuse when it comes to weather conditions, making the role of whatever material its clad in a significant one. Siding is a home's first line of defense and can spell the difference between a strong, healthy living environment or a costly, repair-ridden nightmare.
The single most destructive element that causes siding to fail is moisture. Excessive dampness and trapped moisture can quickly infiltrate exterior walls, ruining insulation, weakening wood, and eventually causing dangerous mold in the interior of your home. Homes in wet or very humid climates are at greater risk of these issues, particularly during heavy rain seasons with very little sun.
If you're living in this type of region you must pay very special attention to what siding material you choose for your home. Featured here are a few siding materials that will perform well in climates with higher than average rainfall or humidity - some may work better for your situation than others, so pay attention to the details so you can be confident in your home’s security.
Vinyl Siding: The Quintessential Choice for Budgets
Vinyl siding is the most popular siding in North America and can be found on homes in nearly every region but the harshest. It tends to be the go-to material for homeowners on a budget, as it's very affordable and easily installed.
Being made of polyvinyl chloride, vinyl siding is essentially waterproof. This siding won't absorb moisture and easily sheds rain. However, vinyl is more prone to cracking and warping than other materials. If you live in a region that experiences heavy rains, but also high heat, be warned that a thin vinyl could end up becoming damaged and disfigured. Once the siding is damaged, water can easily enter and become trapped.
Overall, vinyl siding is easy to care for and usually holds up well, but consider that by investing a bit more into a higher-quality material, you'll have a more stable exterior that will easily outlast vinyl.
Fiber Cement Siding: A High-Performance Material
Fiber cement siding is quickly becoming the most recommended composite material on the market and is in high demand for homes in wet climates.
Fiber cement has a lot of advantages. It's one of the toughest materials you can clad your home in and is highly recommended by architects for homes in hurricane or storm zones. In terms of weather, fiber cement can really handle whatever Mother Nature throws its way. This material also comes in a wide range of colors and textures, including faux wood grain.
Fiber cement is a wonderful choice for siding, but homeowners that dream of wood siding may find fiber cement unappealing. Additionally, fiber cement is very heavy and can be expensive and time-consuming to install.
Western Red Cedar Siding: Wood That's Naturally Gifted
(Photo by addicted2decorating.com)
Western Red Cedar siding, particularly cedar shake, is the common choice for houses in damp climates. Unlike some other woods, Western Red Cedar has a natural gift of being water-resistant. The aromatic scent of cedar is due to the oils within this wood. These oils and tannins present give Western Red Cedar an edge over other wood species. Not to mention, it also makes it unappealing to insects, fungus and decay.
A home clad in Western Red Cedar is truly stunning, however, if you're considering cedar, be forewarned that you will need to take maintenance very seriously. Western Red Cedar siding must be properly finished with surface treatments to properly protect it from moisture. You, or a professional you hire, will need to reapply the surface treatment and reseal every few years. This varies from about 3 to 5 years, but in a wet climate, expect it to be much closer to 3.
It's all too easy to neglect caring for a cedar shake home. Forgetting to have your home resealed for just a year or so can cause serious damage that will result in expensive repairs.
Modified Wood Siding: Ultimate Balance of Beauty and Function
(Summer House, photo by Kebony)
If you don't want the flaws of vinyl, the faux wood look of fiber cement, or the care needs of cedar, modified wood just might be the perfect siding for your home. This material is the perfect balance between natural beauty and engineered performance.
Modified wood siding is a real wood product that has been enhanced with a safe, bio-based liquid and drying process, resulting in super tough planking with the density and resilience of tropical hardwood. Modified wood is capable of being used in any type of outdoor construction, but it looks particularly stunning as home cladding.
There are two huge advantages of modified wood: it's exceptionally water-resistant and it requires very little maintenance. The density of these boards makes them almost waterproof in design and perform very well in wet climates. Better yet, modified wood requires no surface treatments and only occasional cleaning when it gets dirty.
Making the Best Choice
When it comes to water-resistance for coastal regions and areas that experience heavy rainfall, you can't beat modified wood. Each material has its own pros and cons, but if you love a real wood exterior, modified wood is hands-down the best choice for you.