Source: Saussy Burbank
When choosing exterior siding for southern homes, the focus is often on things like look, texture and durability. It is especially important that you choose a product that is both resilient and convenient for your design vision — one that will stay looking good for decades.
The Southern part of the United States has a particular climate and unique weather patterns that makes your choice of siding critical. In a typical year, the South faces 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes where winds reach at least 110 miles per hour. Those statistics mean you need to take high resiliency into consideration when choosing your exterior home siding.
Considering the storm battering and potential for natural damage that Southern homes will incur in any given year, research shows that the best three exterior siding materials are stucco, fiber cement siding, and wood.Source: SHELTER Custom-Built Living.
Stucco -- a quintessential material and exterior look for Southern homes. Oftentimes it can serve as a base for modern, fresh accents and bring a building back to life. While stucco offers a cheaper alternative to brick and stone and provides adequate fire protection, wet and humid climates can cause stucco to struggle.
The average stucco warranty is approximately seven years. This may be because the material naturally softens over time or because wet climates (like those prevalent in the South) can wear down its surface.
Although $2 more per square foot than stucco, fiber cement siding offers second-to-none durability. While using stucco alone has been a popular siding option in the South, pairing it with fiber cement siding can take your design to the next level.
More on the virtues of fiber cement siding later. For now, let’s move onto another top-three contender: wood.
Wood is a popular siding exterior that offers a rich, charming look with the opportunity for durability — as long as it is maintained properly. Wood siding requires routine, time-consuming maintenance such as power washing, staining, or painting, and it is highly susceptible to insect or rodent infestations.
To achieve fire resistance, the wood must be treated with fire-retardant chemicals, thus adding another line item to the building budget. While it’s true that wood has a low up-front cost, it doesn’t include painting, staining or fire-resistant coating, nor does the cost include the bi-yearly maintenance required to keep it performing.
Nichiha has several wood-alternative fiber cement siding products like RoughSawn, Sierra Shake, RiftSawn and VintageWood that give your home the warm look of wood without the upkeep and issues that traditional wood faces.
Fiber cement siding is a composite building material made out of cement that is reinforced with cellulose fibers, and is easy to install thanks to being manufactured in sheet form. Best of all, it can be used for many different siding styles like wood siding, clapboard siding, shingle, brick, or stone.
Homeowners will want a material that is incredibly low maintenance, with a long lifespan and a lower total life cycle cost than stucco. Cleaning fiber cement panels is simple, too. A light wash with soap and water and a rinse from a garden hose does the job.
But how does it hold up in the South, you ask? Fiber cement can withstand hurricanes up to 130 mph or higher winds. Nichiha’s fiber cement products meet US wind load code requirements — including the extremely stringent Miami Dade codes — and fend off strong wind damage, sun exposure, and salt spray.
Fiber cement is humidity-resistant and can withstand damage caused by excessive moisture, including mold and rot, making it a better alternative to other siding materials infamously attractive to pests.
Fiber cement is also fire-resistant. The human and financial costs of wildfires that happen in the Southwest, along with the firmness of fire codes for exterior siding, make fire safety uncompromisable when creating residential buildings. Fiber cement siding will protect the building and its possessions until the fire department can arrive on scene, limiting damage.
If you’re building in the South, you know all too well how unpredictable and scorchingly hot the weather can be. That’s why it’s important to pick a temperature-resistant material like fiber cement siding because it won’t crack, warp, or face damage during extreme temperature fluctuations.
Nichiha fiber cement siding products are stylish, dependable and come in a wide variety of styles to match any design you want.
Resilience is key for creating gorgeous, sustainable Southern homes. With siding being the most important and largest part of any residential project, it’s only right that you choose a product that delivers across the board on quality, design, and durability.
Whether the look you’re after is stucco, wood, or otherwise, Nichiha has a range of materials that could be the perfect fit for your residential needs. Check out our estimator or contact us today to learn more.