The exterior siding on your house serves as protection against the wind and various weather conditions. Making green choices, like selecting sustainable forestry products and improving your home’s energy efficiency, will use fewer resources in the long run.
Here is some information about different materials that will allow you to make a ecological decision:
Wood has a lifespan of 30 years or more. It is highly resistant to shock, recyclable and has more insulating properties that most other types of siding. However, it fades in the sun and becomes gray over time. For an even greener option, choose wood originating from certified forests.
Engineered wood has a texture that resembles real wood, comes in a variety of colours and can be painted or stained. It often contains a high percentage of recycled content and is expected to last 25 years. However, it is vulnerable to splitting and humidity. Always choose wood originating from certified forests.
Masonry—bricks and blocs—is resistant to wear and can last more than 100 years. It can contain recycled products in addition to being recyclable and reusable. Producing masonry uses a great deal of energy and generates high quantities of greenhouse gas. In terms of energy efficiency, masonry products themselves are not very insulating, however, their mass gives them more insulating properties, causing fewer temperature fluctuations within the home.
Metal siding—made of aluminum or enamelled steel—has a life expectancy of 40 years, and is usually made of recycled products in addition to being recyclable. Steel is more resistant to shock than aluminum, but neither of them has any insolating properties. Producing metal siding uses a significant amount of energy and generates considerable greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce their impact on the environment, choose quality products that will last for several decades.
Fibre cement is an interesting new option on the market. It is a material that resembles wood, but is made out of cement and wood fibres and has a life expectancy of 40 years. It is both affordable and easy to maintain, and can be stained or painted. Choose fibre cement panels that contain cement additives, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions that come from the manufacturing of Portland cement.
Stucco (or acrylic finish) has a life expectancy of 25 years and insulating properties. However, it is sensitive to temperature fluctuations and shifts in the foundation. For cement stucco, choose products that contain cement additives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The recycled materials used in this product are the same as those in fibre cement.
Vinyl is among the least expensive siding and has a long lifespan (40 years or more). Made of non-renewable sources, it can contain recycled material and can be insulating if it contains polyurethane. However, its colour eventually fades, it is vulnerable to shock and temperature fluctuations, and its joints are not airtight. Use quality vinyl products to avoid having to replace it prematurely and wasting resources. Vinyl can emit VOCs and other toxic pollutants during manufacturing, use, waste disposal and burning.