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best finishes for a conventional home

 
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So, we are buying a 70s era house that we will eventually want to refinish.  The outside of the house is quite ugly, half done in white vinyl and half in dark brown cement type shingles.  They aren't in great shape, so we will have to reside eventually.
   My question is, for an existing, conventional home in Washington DC area (very humid summers, some freezing in the winter) what are people's thoughts on siding types?  Stucco would look nice, but my reading suggests very humid areas aren't the best place to use stucco.  Wood and stone?  Rather expensive, but maybe.  Natural plaster?  Would that even work on a regular home, and would it work for a humid area on a house with a standard overhang?
 
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Good question!  I'd start by looking at what people used for house siding 100 years ago in similar climates and how it held up.  My first inkling would be some sort of cedar (or other rot resistant wood) as either lap siding or shingles.
 
pollinator
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Growing up in DC we had a number of neighbors in 1940’s era houses that had stucco and I remember they had it redone at some cost due to unseen issues (termites if I remember correctly) that cropped up. I guess keeping it painted is part of extending it’s longevity. I’ve always preferred brick or wood, but that could be from living in older homes built that way. From a lot of building forums I know that Hardie Board (or Hardie Plank) is a popular option. The Hardie products are made of a slurry of wood fiber & cement with sand added and hardened under pressure. Not the cheapest option but has good longevity.
 
Get me the mayor's office! I need to tell him about this tiny ad:
A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home
http://woodheat.net
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