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The Ultimate Guide to Residential Veneer Selections

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IMAGE: OUR CREW

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Residential Veneer and Siding Products

In this article, we're going to discuss the different types of exterior veneer that are available for your home. We will explain the different types and some of the pros and cons for each type. Check out the photos at the beginning of each section to see visual examples of each veneer type.

BRICK VENEER

Pros: Beautiful timeless look, very durable, easy to repair
Cons: more expensive than siding, not ideal in all locations

The homebuilder's choice

Brick veneer is the most commonly used form of veneer in residential crawlspace foundation construction. Homeowners like it because it offers a very classic and timeless aesthetic, is easy to repair, and can last for a lifetime, with virtually no maintenance at all.

Lots of different styles to choose from

Another reason bricks are preferred veneer material is the amount of different styles that are available on the market. There are literally hundreds of different styles of bricks (maybe thousands). They also come in many different sizes. Learn more about common brick sizes here.

Expensive, but not the most expensive

Brick veneer is more expensive than vinyl siding and cement or fiber board siding. The bricks themselves are not so expensive, it’s usually more about the labor involved that makes it expensive. However, brick veneer is quite a bit cheaper than installing stone veneer.

ENGINEERED WOOD SIDING

Pros: water, pest, and fungal resistant, low maintenance, made with recycled material
Cons: need to paint every 10 years, toxins released in manufacturing, can fade over time
Construction worker using a saw to cut engineered wood panels to size.

An excellent alternative to traditional wood siding

Engineered wood siding makes it easy to achieve a uniform look and feel across your entire home’s exterior. There are lots of different styles, textures, and shapes to pick from. The siding lasts 20-30 years, but might require painting every 10 years or so due to fading.

Made with recycled materials, but mfg. is toxic

The product is touted to be water, pest, and fungal resistant. It is made from recycled materials but the manufacturing process releases carcinogens into the air.

NATURAL WOOD SIDING

Pros: beautiful, can be any color with stains or paint, lots of wood choices
Cons: a maintenance burden, expensive, animals can damage siding
Natural Wood Siding of a home viewed from the Front Gable and Door.

All about natural wood siding

Natural wood siding is considered to be luxurious and high end. You can stain or paint it any color you like. There are different shaped wood sidings as well. On top of that, natural wood siding can last up to 50 years with the proper maintenance.

Cost and maintenance regimen

On average, it’s going to cost you 50-100% more to have natural wood siding installed vs engineered wood and vinyl siding. That’s just the installation costs. Wood sidings have to be properly maintained regularly to last any amount of time. Prepare to re-stain your wood siding at least every 2-3 years, with paint needing to be redone about every 5 years or so. Don’t forget about termites.

Different shapes

These days natural wood siding comes in quite a few different patterns. A common traditional wood siding is known as “lap” siding. It’s stacked horizontally and is thinner on the top and wider on the bottom.  A siding that is used a lot down near the ocean is called “shingle” or “shake” siding. It’s often made from cedar, which is naturally water proof and humidity resistant. Tongue and groove and shiplap are two similar types of siding. The shiplap is the preferred material because of it’s tight fit and ability to shed water better than the tongue and groove. 

VINYL SIDING

Pros: cheap, easy to find, easy to install, no painting
Cons: Significant prep is required, longevity depends on proper mixing, may need repair

The most cost effective siding for your home

Vinyl siding is formed from polyvinyl chloride also known as PVC or a flexible plastic. The siding is homogenous which means that the entire piece of siding is the same color all the way through. It is fade resistant and eliminates the need for painting. All you need to do to maintain vinyl siding is pressure wash it once or twice per year, depending on the climate where you are located.

What is the life of a typical vinyl siding product?

Vinyl siding is extremely weather resistant, but exposure to UV rays (sunlight) will degrade the product over time. The life expectancy ranges from 15-35 years typically. The amount of sunlight your siding gets will determine the longevity of the product. In an open field, the siding would degrade much faster than if you were located in a forest.

STONE VENEER

Pros: Luxurious aesthetic, super durable, solid
Cons: Very heavy, most expensive to install, hard to repair

The high-end choice

Clients with the largest budgets and a desire for the most luxurious look and feel always go for stone veneer. Stone veneer can be used to achieve any desired aesthetic. You want it to look ultra modern? No problem. You want your house to look like it’s 200 years old? No problem.

Types of Stone Veneer

There are tons of options that are sure to fit anybody’s style. Even though stone is the most expensive veneer, there are options that are cheaper than what we call “full depth” stone veneer. The most common types of stone used for veneer include natural stone cladding, cultured stone, faux stone panels, and full depth natural stone. 

Full Depth Natural Stone

Typically, this veneer can be anywhere from 2″ to 6″ thick with face measurements of up to 15″. It’s the largest, heaviest veneer material available. A ton of this material usually only covers about 30-50 sq/ft! Full depth natural stone is luxuriously expensive as well.

Natural Stone Cladding

Designed to be thin and lighter in weight than full depth stone, natural stone cladding is the most commonly installed stone veneer in residential construction. The depth of natural stone cladding is typically in the range of 3/4″ to 1 1/2″. The reduction in material and weight makes it easier to transport and ultimately makes it cheaper than full depth stone.

Cultured Stone

Even lighter than natural stone cladding, cultured stone ranges in thickness from about 2″ – 6″ and weighs about half of what natural stone does. Cultured stones are formed from concrete and use stains and paint to achieve the desired color. Because of this, cultured stone will lose some of it’s brightness over time. An advantage of using cultured stone is that it can be installed to many different kinds of substrates.

Faux Stone Panels (Foam)

Advances in technology has allowed for many new faux stone panel products to surface over the past few years. Basically faux stone panels are a thin lightweight foam material that is made mostly from polyurethane. These panels are lightweight, will not rot, and is easily installed. The issues customers typically face is that the panels are not impact resistant, looks fake up close, and apparently does not hold up in the long run.

THAT'S IT!

We hope you learned a lot about veneer options

No matter what your budget is, there is an option that will fit your style. We didn’t cover vinyl siding and concrete siding products because they are in a different class by themselves. We focused on masonry products and manufactured masonry products that are installed in a traditional manor. Personally, for my home I would choose either brick veneer or natural stone cladding. They are both great choices when considering cost, aesthetics, and longevity. What is your choice? Write your answers in the comment section below.

"Hope is Tomorrow's Veneer for Today's Disappointment"

Evan Esar

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Four Oaks Residential is based out of North Carolina. If you need masonry services, please reach out to us via the links below.

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