Mobile Home Yard
June 11, 2020

Top Mobile Home Siding Choices

Top mobile home siding choices mirror a lot of the popular siding choices available for all homes today. Gone are the days of asbestos, fiberglass, and steel siding on new mobile homes. 

Just about any new home you want offers vinyl as an option and most of them will also offer a more durable, fiber board style siding as well. The siding used on new homes are all rot and termite resistant and retain their colors for a long time.

If you are replacing siding on your old mobile home, you will find the sky is the limit for choices, just go to your favorite home improvement store or talk to your favorite siding contractor. There are a few things you want to be aware of if you are replacing old siding, which we will cover below. First, let’s see choices available for old and new mobile homes.

Clayton NXT Model Aimee Manufactured Home exterior front view

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl Siding has been around for over 60 years. It is relatively durable, inexpensive, and retains its look a long time. If you have a quality vinyl siding installed on the exterior of your home, it will likely look the same 20 years from now as the day it was installed on your home.

A lot of vinyl sidings are made to last 20 or more years, depending on the grade installed. You should never need to paint your vinyl siding, and other than occasionally washing dirt off of it, it is generally considered maintenance free.

You likely know there is a broad range of different vinyl siding “grades” or quality levels. The easiest “cheat” to know the quality of your vinyl siding is the thickness of the siding. 

A “builder’s grade” vinyl siding can run from .35mm to .40mm. You don’t want this grade. The first time a stick hits your cheap siding after flying out from under your lawn mower you will find a hole often the size of a golf ball or bigger. This type of siding is also more likely to warp in high temperatures (most often from when a grill is parked too close to it). The money you “save” in buying cheap siding will later get swallowed up by constantly needing to repair the siding later on.

A good “residential grade” will be .44-46 mm thickness. You can find some residential grade sidings as thin as .42 mm thick, but it won’t cost you that much more to go a little bit thicker. You will find this grade more durable against kids, lawn mower debris, and bad weather. These thicker grade sidings also naturally help insulate your home a little better than the thinner grades.

Premium grades of vinyl siding are going to be .52 mm or more in thickness. While this is only 30% thicker than the builder’s grade, it makes a world of difference in durability and therefore the longevity of your siding.

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement siding is made from mixing cement, cellulose fibers (such as little bits of wood), sand, and color. You will sometimes hear it called cement plank siding or hardy siding.

It is a strong, long lasting siding that was popular for a while, but the popularity has worn off a bit after many people had moisture problems using the fiber cement siding, especially in the south. Some companies who make this style of siding have played around with the mix used to hopefully alleviate the moisture issues going forward.

Like vinyl siding, you can still put a hole in fiber cement siding. It is stronger, like your thicker vinyl, so you are not in huge danger of finding holes in your siding, but it does happen. The good news is, when something does hit your fiber cement siding to make a hole, the hole is generally smaller than what you would find with vinyl siding.

A nice aspect about the concrete siding is that it should never warp. It is a great, long lasting product that is a definite step up from cheap vinyl siding. Since the siding is mostly concrete and sand, it is also one of your more fire-resistant options.

Fleetwood Weston model 32764W manufactured home exterior

Smart Panel Siding

We have to admit that Smart Panel Siding is our favorite siding. On the market for over 20 years now, it is a strong, long lasting siding. It uses wood fibers, similar to the fiber cement siding, but it is mixed with industrial waxes, resin, and zinc borax. Smart Panel siding is one of the options our customers consistently choose because the value and beauty is worth the little bit extra to upgrade.

It will weather just about any storm, and the only way you will get a hole in it is if you drill it or shoot it. It is supposed to withstand wind gusts of 200 mph and hail bigger than a golf ball. You also shouldn’t see any warping.

Smart panel siding is supposed to last at least 50 years, which is about as long as any other top-of-the-line siding. It even is available with a wood grain finish and a lot of different colors.

Replacing Old Siding

The sky is the limit if you are replacing old siding. Warning! When you replace siding, make sure you know what is behind the old siding before you run out and get new siding. A lot of people want to bring their old mobile home exterior to current standards by adding thick OSB to the studs before adding a wrap and then a heavy siding like the fiber cement boards.

The concern is that your mobile home might not be designed for the weight, so be sure to check with an expert. If you only have 2X3 studs on the exterior of your home that are widely spaced apart, your walls might not be ready to handle heavy OSB with fiber cement siding on top. You can literally add a ton of weight on even a small single wide home if you started with aluminum siding on studs and then upgrade to OSB and cement siding. Be sure your home is structurally sound enough to handle your siding upgrade, and if you are not sure, please check with a professional.

Wood Siding

Wood siding is relatively easy to install and brings a classic look to your home. If you are replacing your old siding, you have an unlimited number of choices of colors for your stains, paints, or other finishes.

Wood is definitely strong. It will hold up against strong storms and flying objects will not easily put a hole in your wood siding. The downside to wood siding is termites and other pests wanting to dig through your wood. You will want to treat your wood on a regular basis to keep pests away.

If your paint or finish gets old, you also run the risk of water damage and eventually rot. Most people have no issues if they add another coat of finish on the wood every few years, but that means your wood won’t be maintenance free.

If your wood siding ever does get damaged, it is one of the easiest siding styles to repair. Just cut out the damaged part, put in new siding, and coat the new siding with the same stuff you used to finish the new siding.

Architectural Stone or Brick Siding

Architectural stone siding and architectural brick siding are sidings with thin “stones” or bricks that give you a stone or brick look but install more like regular siding. They are sometimes called faux stone or faux brick. It adds an element of beauty some people will appreciate, and they tend to last a long time.

We said “stones” because usually the faux stone is made from colored cement instead of actual stones. The colored cement process allows manufacturers to create these panels quickly and cost effectively.

Faux stone should last you several decades, but it is one of the more costly options. To keep the costs down, some people will use faux stone over part of their exterior, and then they will use a lower priced option for the upper portion.

Metal Siding

If you like that “authentic” trailer home look, you can always replace your siding with new, metal siding. It’s actually not a bad option, because it is strong, inexpensive, and light weight, exactly the same reason metal siding was used on older homes.

Metal siding has come a long way and you are less likely to run into issues with chalking and rusting (with steel) or oxidizing (with aluminum) than the siding used decades ago. It may not have a look that says you are “keeping up with the Joneses,” but that doesn’t mean the metal siding doesn’t have a particular beauty and practicality to it.

You won’t have an issue with bugs, rot, or fire with metal siding. The only reason it isn’t more popular is because of the look, and also it is more expensive and a little harder to work with than vinyl siding.

Other Siding Materials

You can look at other options for your older home, such as stucco, real brick, or real stone for example. Usually the cost and weight make other options a poor choice to replace siding on your older mobile homes.

We hoped you enjoyed taking a tour with us through siding options today!

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