How to Choose the Best Exterior Wall Cladding Material

The best wall cladding material for your home might not be what you expected. That’s why we’ve put together this simple to use guide to help you choose a modern, aesthetic exterior wall cladding that is best for your budget and climate. 

What Is Your Budget?

Your first consideration should always be how much you can afford. If the sky is your limit, stone siding is a good choice – it’s extremely durable, aesthetically appealing, and can last for decades. The only real downside to stone is that it can crack over time, leading to mould growth and other issues. Repairing stone can also be a challenge and rather costly, which is why alternative siding options that mimic the look of natural materials have become increasingly popular over the last decade. 

Alternatives are far more affordable to install and maintain. The materials are also incredibly durable and require minimal repair. The most versatile and affordable is aluminum composite panels. This lightweight, easy to install material can save you a lot of money in labour costs. And once it’s installed, you’ll never have to touch it. The colour won’t fade, and the scratch and UV resistant properties will keep it looking new for years, saving you on maintenance costs too. To top it off, manufacturers tend to offer warranties that exceed most other alternatives.

What Look Are You Trying to Achieve?

If your heart is set on having a stone appearance or authentic natural wood look like panels, but your pocketbook tells you otherwise, you’ll be happy to learn that there are alternatives that mimic wood without the high price tag. Aluminum composite siding is the most stylish of these options. It can be designed in a variety of different shapes, thicknesses, and textures. It can even be made to mimic the texture of real wood in beautiful mahogany and cedar colours. The biggest advantage is that it’s lightweight, making it easy to install. Plus, it won’t fade or rot since the materials are UV and scratch-resistant. So it won’t lose its beautiful colour over time as wood and stone will. With the right care, it will last for decades, and it can be easily recycled when it’s time to change it up. 

Where Do You Live?

If you live in Western or Eastern Canada with milder coastal temperatures and plenty of rain, you’ll need an exterior wall cladding material that can resist water. Masonry cladding like brick and stone will absorb moisture and salt, weakening the material. But aluminum and vinyl materials are designed to resist water, making these better options. In areas with more extreme weather conditions like Ontario and Quebec, some materials hold up far better than others. For instance, stucco can stain easily, and masonry can crack under extreme heat and cold weather conditions. Metal tends to hold up well against snow and heat, but it can easily stain and dent. Plus, it’s not the best-looking material for a home. Again, aluminum and vinyl are favourable options, but vinyl won’t hold up against the UV rays like aluminum will. 

Do You Plan to Install It Yourself?

Aluminum, vinyl, and wood-look-like siding can usually be easily installed by someone who has had some experience installing wall cladding before. However, many exterior wall cladding materials need to be installed by an experienced professional, especially stone and wood, adding to the cost. If you don’t have construction or experience with installing residential cladding, you can save a lot of money by choosing a lightweight material like vinyl, fiber cement or ACP that will cut down the installation and labour costs.  

Aluminum composite is the clear winner in every category. If you’d like to learn more about our aluminum composite panels and installation process, contact us at Alumax Panel today.

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