When you’re looking for the right siding, you’ll review the costs, warranties, styles, and colors of the various products available. But don’t forget the elements. In the Northern Virginia area, you might get anything from coastal salt and sand to swampy humidity to mountain winds. In an area where weather conditions are dynamic. you’ll need siding well-suited for whatever nature throws your way.
According to the most recent Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction, 72% of new homes in the Mid-Atlantic have vinyl siding. It’s great for wet, humid areas, like those around Washington, D.C. It resists water absorption and won’t flake or rot. It also stands up to heat and wind effectively. However, if your home gets a lot of suns, expect vinyl to fade a bit under the UV.
The Northern Virginia area gets 38.29 inches of rainfall annually, more than Seattle at 37.7 inches. So make sure vinyl siding is protected from wind-blown moisture with a good roof overhang. Also, if you tend to get high winds off the Blue Ridge, it may sustain damage. The insulated version, while more expensive, manages high winds better.
Our area doesn’t have extreme temperatures, but they can vary widely. Normal January temps range from 27 to 47 degrees Fahrenheit. And July runs between 68 and 88. Even though vinyl tends to crack in very cold weather and melt in very hot, it’s well suited for our region.
Traditional wood siding, either planks or shingles, looks beautiful, but takes more maintenance than other products and suffers more in the weather. It’s especially susceptible to rot, mildew, and insect damage in humid areas.
Temperature fluctuations make it expand and contract which causes cracking and splitting. The excess sun will fade and wear the surface, and the finish can be damaged by the salt if you live near the coast. Cedar and redwood stand up a little better than spruce or pine, but if you want wood siding in Northern Virginia, plan to clean and seal it regularly.
As a mixture of cement, sand, and wood pulp, fiber cement siding stands up well to almost any weather Northern Virginia can offer. It resists rot, insects, UV, salt, and sand. As a heavy, stiff product, it holds on against high winds. You can even get some products, such as the HardieZone® system, specifically designed for your climate.
If you have a lot of shade, you might find algae or mildew growing on cement siding, but you can usually power wash it off. You also need to watch for small cracks, which could let in moisture and grow during our winter freeze-thaw cycles, however, these problems are rare.
Brick or Stone
As Northern Virginians, we’re proud of the historical significance of our area. And we like to reflect the past in traditional home styles with brick and stone siding. While expensive, brick and stone do well in humid areas. They will not rot, host insects, or break down under UV rays, although they may develop moss or mildew in shady areas.
At the coast, brick and stone scoff at sea salt and wind. And if your house gets full sun, they’ll help keep you cool in the summer. Like fiber cement, winter freeze and thaw can exacerbate cracks, so always inspect your siding in the spring for damage.
Steel or aluminum siding endures most weather. It’s particularly good in coastal areas prone to high winds or hurricanes. Aluminum doesn’t rust in the face of sea salt, either. In colder areas, metal doesn’t expand and contract like wood, so it retains its shape and finishes well.
However, the finish can fade in constant UV light and thinner materials can be damaged by hail. Some homeowners may object to the urban, industrial look of metal, but given its popularity as a roofing material, you can rely on it for durability.
For the Northern Virginia area, you have plenty of quality siding options to choose from. Start with products that work well in our area, then consider your home’s microclimate as determined by the amount of shade, sun, wind shelter, and exposure to the elements. If you’d like some help deciding which one will work best for you, contact us at Dry Home Roofing & Siding for a free consultation.