Choosing the Right Siding for Your Historic Home

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Historic home renovation is big business in New Orleans, thanks to the abundance of antique housing stock throughout the greater metropolitan area. Restoring one to its former glory is both a profession and a labor of love. To achieve a finished project that protects your investment and compliments the architectural style, it’s critical to choose the right siding.

Popular Siding Options

A historic home in New Orleans

Siding choices vary as widely as building styles. Tongue-in-groove wood, stucco, and vinyl siding are common sights in and around New Orleans. Some trendier restorations have replaced traditional clapboard siding with more durable fibre cement or engineered wood. Other popular options include stone, brick, fabricated stone or brick made from clay, and brick or stone veneers. Explore our gallery to see some local examples.

Work With the Style

New siding should harmonize with the structure you’re renovating. The home’s history—when it was built, in what style, and for what purpose—matters when it comes to selecting a product that both performs and beautifies long-term.

Historic homes in our area can range from 18th- and 19th-century shotguns and Creole cottages to 20th-century townhouse styles including Arts and Crafts, Craftsman, Mid-century Modern, and Spanish bungalow. In addition, the city boasts hundreds of Italianate, Queen Anne, and Greek Revival mansions.

Some siding choices work better than others, depending on the historic home renovation. For example, vinyl can detract from the intricate “gingerbread” style of a Queen Anne home, whereas wood or fibre cement can enhance it. On the other hand, the versatility of stucco siding makes visual and structural sense for restoring a Creole cottage, an Italianate façade, or an Arts and Crafts townhouse.

Cost Vs. Function

Cost makes materials like vinyl and stucco more attractive than wood or brick to many homeowners planning a historic home renovation. But protecting the home’s infrastructure is siding’s primary structural purpose. In New Orleans’ subtropical climate, moisture and its attendant woes are paramount problems. Architects recommend fibre cement siding as a strong protector in a rain- and hurricane-prone area. Your choice of siding style should fit your budget and also preserve the integrity of your newly restored walls, floors, and roof.

Proper sealing is a greater concern when restoring raised houses. When choosing siding for your renovation, factor in the product’s energy efficiency by its R-value rating, which indicates how resistant the material is to conductive heat flow. Also, take into account the (lack of) insulation in the walls, as well as any aboveground plumbing or wiring the siding needs to protect.

MLM Incorporated specializes in historic home renovations in and around New Orleans, as well as for kitchens and baths. Start your dream project today with a free quote! Explore our site to learn more about what we do.

Photo courtesy of Infrogmation of New Orleans on Flickr.