The siding on the home is in the process of going up – and it looks beautiful! As with most of the other products we were using, finding siding that was both green and could handle the harsh New England weather was our biggest priority. We decided on FSC-Certified White Cedar Shingles, from Liberty Cedar. Cedar shingles are known for their innate resistance to moisture and insects, and because the cedar is responsibly harvested we know we are not depleting our forest’s population. The biggest drawback to wood siding is its high maintenance requirements (painting or staining every five to ten years). The shingles we are putting on the home are treated with a bleaching oil that makes them gray, so we won’t have to paint or stain, and extends the life of the shingles. To ensure our shingles last even longer, we are also installing Benjamin Obdyke’s Home Slicker® product which provides a continuous space for drainage and drying, a thermal break and pressure equalization between the layer of sheathing and the siding. To watch the Home Slicker installation, click here.
If you are looking to reside your home, here are some great eco-friendly siding options, in addition to FSC-certified wood shingles:
- Aluminum – Aluminum siding has lost some favor over the years as vinyl siding came to market. Aluminum siding requires a lot of energy to produce but usually has high recycled content, and it’s recyclable at the end of its life.
- Fiber-cement siding – This blend of portland cement, wood fibers, sand and clay come in boards and panels, often with texturing that makes it hard to distinguish from solid wood siding. It is fire and rot resistant, requires less repainting than wood, and is about half the price of solid wood siding. There are some drawbacks however, as portland cement is an energy intensive material to manufacture, and while some fiber-cement products are made in the U.S., they typically use imported wood fibers that aren’t FSC certified.
- Masonry – Today, masonry siding is actually a veneer installed over the home’s wood framing – not solid walls of brick and stone. Brick, natural stone and manufactured stone are relatively environmentally benign. Durable and fire resistant, they require virtually no maintenance. They’re made from abundant although nonrenewable resources. To lessen the impacts, look for salvaged or locally quarried stone or locally made brick.
- Stucco – Most stucco today is synthetic, and applied over foam insulation boards on the outside of the house. The energy savings from this added insulation are one of the biggest benefits of synthetic stucco. An acrylic-based compound, synthetic stucco is somewhat flexible even after it dries so it’s less likely to crack. It can be prepared with color so you will never need to paint. If you go with stucco, make sure it is properly installed by a professional to make sure that any moisture that gets behind it can drain away from the wall.
- Vinyl – Vinyl siding has become one of the most popular choices for home siding, as it is inexpensive, incredibly durable, and requires little maintenance. The drawback of vinyl is its manufacturing process is very energy intensive and the process creates dioxin, a potent carcinogenic. It can also produce dioxin at the end of its life, when it is incinerated or burned in a house fire.
There are many options to choose from, the trick is finding the choice that fits you and your needs.
Posted by: Lauren