Siding has been used to line building exteriors for hundreds of years; today, it's available in a wide range of materials, each with a different look and feel.
Vinyl siding has become very popular in recent years, due to its relatively low cost and resistance to rotting or flaking. It's also available in a wide variety of colors, making it easy to fit into a building's preexisting color scheme. However, there are some drawbacks; the PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastics that vinyl is made from can crack and fade over time, and it does require some maintenance.
Vinyl siding costs can fluctuate along with the price of oil – vinyl siding essentially made from crude oil. Thus, it can range in price from less than $1 per square foot to more than $7 per square foot when installed by a professional contractor.
Seamless steel siding has started to rise in popularity, since the industrial look of steel gives a building a very modern feel. Steel siding is known for its strength and its ability to withstand temperature and weather changes without shrinking, bulging or otherwise becoming deformed. Seamless steel can also be made with a wood-like appearance.
Aluminum siding is cheap, easy to obtain and strong, but it is susceptible to denting and fading if it's not maintained properly. Aluminum is, however, fireproof and is relatively easy to take care of.
Corrugated Metal Siding
Corrugated metal siding is a popular choice for non-residential buildings, such as steel mills, livestock pens, disaster relief buildings and other industrial structures. While some lightweight corrugated metal siding products can be decorative, most of the siding is made from heavier metals that emphasize strength ahead of aesthetics.
Fiber Cement Siding
Fiber cement siding is known for its longevity; properly installed fiber cement siding can last about 100 years. Guidelines for the proper installation of fiber cement siding are readily available; as a general rule, you should leave a 2-inch gap between the end of the siding and any surfaces it connects with (such as roofs, decks and porches). This will prevent the siding from being exposed to pools of stagnant water. Fiber cement siding can look like wood, stucco or masonry, and it's excellent at holding paint. In fact, using high-quality paint on your fiber cement siding means your exterior won't need touch-ups for up to 15 years.