Angie's List: Exterior home makeover options

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Whether you're trying to sell your home or planning to stay put, replacing old or damaged siding is a good investment.

"While many people think about the exterior of their home as an asset as far as beauty of their home, it's really a big protector of the inside," Angie's List's Angie Hicks said. "If you think about it, your siding, the exterior of home is what is protecting you from the elements so you want to be sure it's in good condition and taken care of every year."

Homeowners have several siding options available today. Wood, vinyl and fiber-cement are the most popular choices. Aluminum and composite are also available.

Siding contractor, Steven Smalley said vinyl is the preferred choice.

"If we don't have covenants, more people will tend to do the vinyl-insulated siding once they learn about all the sidings because the first question I ask them is, ‘Do you want more of a maintenance-free product that is going to save you on energy?' Sure. That's why people replace windows. They are energy efficient. Well siding is energy efficient when you are looking at insulated siding," Smalley said.

Each siding material has its own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to installation, maintenance and cost, so you need to do your research to find the perfect product for your home. Regularly walk around your house and look for any signs of weather damage, wood rot, buckling, or peeling paint.  If you do get your siding replaced it can be helpful to save some pieces for small repairs down the line.

Siding manufacturers are often very specific on how the product should be installed. If installed incorrectly, you could void your warranty. Some manufacturers will also void your warranty if the siding has been altered or painted.

Painting your home's exterior is also an option. Painting the entire house or just the trim can give your home a whole new look.

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