written by: HillaryM•edited by: BStone•updated: 10/22/2010
If you are ready to give your home a facelift there are some things you need to consider. Many of the materials we use for home improvement are not green. Consider environmentally safe siding options for your home's exterior.
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The siding on a structure isn't just aesthetic, siding also protects your home from the elements. The greenest option is not replacing your siding until it absolutely has to be replaced. As long as it's functional and doing its job it isn't really green to replace it. That being said, once your siding is no longer functional there are a few environmentally friendly siding products that you can choose from. Surprisingly, eco-friendly siding isn't a new innovation or idea, most of the greenest option have been around for decades.
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Aluminum siding lost favor to vinyl siding for many years because vinyl siding was more cost effective, but it is making a come back because it is among the more environmentally friendly siding choices that you have. Although it takes a lot of energy to make aluminum siding, most of it is made from recycled aluminum. It is also fairly durable.
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Masonry work, like stone or brick is a good choice for environmentally safe siding. Stone or brick can be installed on the front of your home like a veneer. If you look for stone or brick that is salvaged, reclaimed or harvested locally it makes masonry work an even greener option for siding. The bonus is that brick and stone are low maintenance and resistant to fire.
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Fiber-cement siding is made form a combination of portland cement, wood, sand and clay. It is sold in boards or panels designed to look similar to wood, but unlike wood, it is resistant to rot and fire. Fiber-cement also requires less maintenance than wood.
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Stucco is one of the most eco-friendly siding choices available. It is also durable, energy efficient and resistant to weather and fire. Stucco is applied over foam panels surrounding the exterior of your home. Stucco was once made from cement, new stucco is made from synthetic materials, but it is more durable than cement stucco. The bonus is that stucco can easily be painted to give it a new look if gets dingy or you just need a change.
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Things to Consider
Ultimately, when you are looking for environmentally safe siding you want to find a siding that you like and that is durable. Typically, the longer a siding lasts the more green it is. For instance, wood and engineered wood siding is not going to last and it will require a lot of maintenance on your part. Vinyl siding is no good because, it is so hazardous to the environment to produce that it negates any longevity the product may have. Once you consider your options and take these factors into consideration, you can begin to look at things like cost, installation and aesthetics.