Have you ever wondered why siding is made the way it is today? Probably not, but innovations like seamless siding, steel siding, and LP siding didn’t spring up out of the blue. The siding industry has certainly been through its ups and downs, but one thing always holds true: innovation with a touch of sensibility puts certain products and materials ahead of the others in the market.
Why should you care about an industry in which you, the layperson, would only participate as a consumer? Learning a bit about the history of siding can help you both appreciate how much thought went into the development of each and every plank, as well as help determine what siding would be best for your modern-day home.
Before Mass-Produced Siding, Americans Used What They Had
Before a variety of siding became widely available in the 1900s, many people used strictly natural materials for their homes. During the 18th and 19th centuries, many American families prioritized building a durable, long-lasting home to protect their families. However, at the time, the environmental impact that harvesting these resources, such as lumber, was not a primary concern, as the environmentalist movement as we know it began in the 1960s and 1970s.
That aside, what types of materials might you find used as siding on older homes?
● Wood | Easy to get and very abundant, wood was a popular siding material in the olden days. We all know the charm of those cute little log cabins, but for everyone from colonial settlers to homeowners of the past, the logs that covered their home meant the difference between surviving the winter and dying of hypothermia. Wood siding has long since been modernized in many forms, such as clapboard, but many people attest to its lack of insulating properties and its susceptibility to all sorts of damage.
● Stone | Farmers plowing fields would often drag up large stones in the process. In a stroke of ingenuity, many used these stones to guard the exterior of their homes. Stone siding is still available today as a veneer, but it is expensive to install and is prone to moisture problems. All in all, the investment doesn’t hold up in terms of durability for the final product.
● Brick | Brick was another popular choice of homeowners of the past. It could be made anywhere that builders could place a kiln and was sometimes even mass-produced on-site for the construction of larger structures. Today, brick siding is available as a veneer and in its traditional form, though both are highly susceptible to moisture damage, as well as being costly and impractical.
As you can see, Americans used what they had available for siding back in the day, even though what they had available may not have been the best choice in the long run. Today, however, innovation and grit have led to new siding types that stand up to all sorts of conditions, while also remaining economically sensible.
Siding And Modern Innovation
Many homeowners these days won’t choose older, more traditional siding types on account of their flimsy construction and relative expensiveness. The market has adjusted to fit customer demands, resulting in the development of new, innovative siding types:
● Emco Seamless Steel Siding | Made in the USA and available in a wide variety of types and colors, this form of steel siding was first patented in 1803, according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. However, unlike the other aforementioned siding types, seamless steel siding has stood the test of time on account of its low maintenance, durability, and how easy it is to clean (just use soap and water).
● James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding | Before the 1980s, asbestos was used to reinforce and strengthen this type of siding; modern siding makers are now much wiser! Today, fiber cement siding is frequently strengthened with cellulose fibers. It remains a popular choice among today’s homeowners due to its weather and moisture resisting properties, as well as its relatively non-combustible nature.
● Vinyl Siding | This type of siding didn’t become popular until the mid-1900s. Today, many professionals will tell you that vinyl rules the siding industry—perhaps for a good reason. It is virtually impervious to water damage, and when installed correctly, is strong against warping and rot.
Modern American needs—the need for a sturdy and low-maintenance home—require modern products and modern solutions. Investing in one of the above-modernized sidings is most likely the best choice for you in the long run.
Looking To Modernize Your Siding? C&T Siding Has You Covered
We’re a Roberts, Wisconsin siding contractor with decades of experience in the siding industry. We’ll help you find the best siding type for your modern home. To get started on your renovation process, give us a call today at 715-749-3162.