The siding on your home serves many vital purposes, including improving curb appeal, adding energy efficiency, and protecting your home from pests, weather, and other elements.
If you’re in the market for new exterior or replacement siding, you may be wondering what types of materials are best for your house or commercial property. There are many options to consider, from vinyl siding to wood siding, metal siding, stucco, and fiber cement siding.
Do you want a maintenance-free option, or will costs be one of the most important factors? Do you prefer the paint or stain look, natural wood or steel, and aluminum?
Whether you choose to replace your siding with the same type of material you already have or upgrade to something new, understanding the pros and cons of each option can help you make the right decision for your property.
Keep reading to learn about the most common types of siding on the market.
We’re covering the pros and cons of each material and a variety of styles, from highly durable, maintenance-free to high maintenance and low price per square foot.
We’ll also explain the energy efficiency and warranty options for each unique option, starting with wood, a popular choice.
Types of Siding
There are many different types of siding on the market to choose from depending on budget, weather, energy efficiency, maintenance, and curb appeal.
Some other types of siding, such as natural wood siding, date hundreds of years back. While others such as engineered wood and fiber cement siding are modern types of siding. While some house siding is known for its durability such as metal siding, others are known for their low maintenance and high energy efficiencies such as vinyl and fiber cement siding.
Wood siding is a popular option. You can choose from all types of wood, like cedar board siding, shingles, or even engineered wood, for the exterior of your home.
When it comes to the pros and cons of this type of house siding, one of the pros is definitely the appearance. Natural wood and engineered wood both produce a beautiful, classic result for the homeowner. And with natural wood, the color options are endless since you can paint the exterior siding.
Curious about energy benefits? Wood siding offers great energy efficiency thanks to its natural insulation qualities and ability to help protect your home from exterior elements.
The type of wood siding you decide on will heavily influence your costs. There are different types of wood siding materials, including natural and engineered.
The average price of natural wood has been about $5 per square foot installed. That cost can increase if you choose more expensive cedar shingles or other materials, driving the price closer to $10 per square foot installed. It may also increase if you decide to paint the siding or add additional coatings that can help make your siding fire and pest-resistant. While these finishings may add to the price of materials, they will also make your siding more durable.
Cedar shingles and other natural wood siding have a high durability factor, but they are not low maintenance. Warping, pests, and sun damage are just some of the challenges you may face when choosing wood siding. They are also not naturally fire-resistant, as you may have guessed. Proper coatings, paint, and care will help you extend the life of your wood siding.
Regular inspection, cleaning, and painting or sealing your home exterior is the best way to maintain your wood siding material. It’s also a great way to maintain your curb appeal with beautiful wood siding over time.
Whether you choose vertical panels (like lap siding) or different types of siding, wood options require regular maintenance. Fortunately, if you notice any damage early, wood and cedar siding panels are easy to replace.
Wood siding, cedar shingles, board and batten, lap siding, and all other options in the wood siding category are best installed by a professional siding contractor. A proper installation and quality product will help your house siding protect your home correctly.
For wood siding, expect a 20- to 50-year warranty option based on the type of product you choose and the manufacturer.
Engineered wood is a great option that gives you the curb appeal of natural wood with long-lasting durability and protection for the exterior of your home.
Like natural wood, engineered wood is an attractive option that is growing among homeowners. As you would expect, this siding is made to mimic the look of natural wood without some of the downsides. This siding is available in several different options, including look, color, and more.
Engineered wood siding offers excellent energy efficiency for your home and less waste than traditional wood options.
While natural wood types of siding run about $5 per square foot installed on average, this siding starts around $3 and goes up. The more expensive the engineered wood siding, the better protection and sealants you’ll likely gain for your house.
Different types of siding offer different types of durability, and engineered wood siding is an excellent option for the exterior of your house. Thanks to the process and sealants, this siding option is very resistant to damage, pests, warping, and more.
Engineered wood siding is easy to maintain and does not require paint as often as its natural counterpart. Regular inspection and cleaning, as with any siding option, is recommended for your home exterior.
Choosing a qualified contractor is your best bet for engineered wood. While the quality and life span are long, simple mistakes like improper trim or the use of the wrong nails can cause unnecessary damage and shorten the life of your siding material.
Most engineered siding lasts between 20 and 30 years. Check with the wide variety of quality manufacturers to get specific warranty details on your engineered options.
Fiber Cement Siding
This type of siding is made from water, cement, sand, and fibers, and it became a popular siding choice after it was introduced in the 1980s. It may also be called composite siding since it is made up of these different materials.
Fiber cement siding can come in many different textures, styles, and visual options. Composite siding (fiber cement) can also be painted to match your existing home aesthetic, making it a versatile material for many homeowners.
While fiber cement siding offers a layer of protection, it is not known as the most energy-efficient siding on the market. The thinness of the cement sand material is part of why fiber cement house siding scores lower in this area.
Fiber cement materials that make up composite siding do come in less than some other siding materials, including some wood, board and batten, and synthetic stucco choices. Fiber cement siding starts around $5 per square foot, like wood siding, but doesn’t go as high on the top side of the scale. This makes fiber cement a cost-effective option against some other siding options.
Fiber cement materials are built to withstand many weather conditions and come in pretty high in the durability category. Fiber cement siding, or composite siding, is also somewhat resistant to pests and mold.
If you plan to install fiber cement house siding, you should expect to enjoy a low-maintenance option. Unlike many different types of siding, fiber cement can do well with a regular rinse, meaning that the maintenance is often low cost and can be completed by the homeowner.
For fiber cement, we recommend a qualified contractor that has experience with fiber cement siding projects. Composite siding requires some knowledge to be installed correctly, and it can also be quite heavy, making the job physically challenging.
Many fiber cement manufacturers offer home siding warranties for over 30 years.
CCI is Northern VA’s trusted fiber cement siding contractor. Call us for a free quote!
Vinyl siding is a popular choice among homeowners thanks to its great value and the wide variety of color options and styles to choose from.
Chances are, if you drove by a house with vinyl siding, you may not know that it was vinyl siding. This type of siding is known for its many different options that can mimic other styles. Vinyl is an extremely versatile siding choice and one of the reasons it’s used so widely.
Along with its low cost and versatility, vinyl siding is also energy-efficient. Many vinyl siding options offer insulation that can drop your energy bill by 20% or more after adding them to your home.
Vinyl siding is one of the lowest-cost options on the market, coming in at $2 to $3 per square foot installed. This makes vinyl siding an affordable choice for many.
If you guessed that vinyl siding is durable too, you’d be right. Many vinyl siding options can last between 60 and 100 years with proper maintenance. This is one of the reasons that vinyl siding is such a cost-effective choice.
The vinyl siding is inexpensive but also lasts a long time, beating out other siding options. It is also somewhat wind, weather, and fire-resistant.
Vinyl siding is low maintenance for homeowners. The best thing for vinyl siding is water and soap to keep it clean. High pressure or power washing is not a good choice for vinyl siding as it can damage the vinyl and allow water to get behind the siding. This can eventually lead to mold and other problems, so be careful to follow instructions carefully.
While homeowners can do vinyl siding, we recommend trusting your vinyl product with an expert. As previously mentioned, one of the worst things that can occur with vinyl siding is water intrusion. A proper install of your vinyl siding can help prevent problems today and in the future.
Vinyl siding typically comes with a 50-year warranty or more. Some vinyl products may even come with a limited lifetime option, meaning your materials could be covered for the foreseeable future.
One unique type of siding is metal siding. This aluminum or steel material creates a distinct look that is a favorite for some homeowners.
Metal siding can be used in a variety of ways and often creates a uniquely modern appearance for the homeowner or commercial property owner. Purchasers can choose from vertical siding panels, horizontal panels, and even a rustic look that complements other siding choices.
Metal siding is an energy-efficient option. Unlike comparable sidings, like wood siding or fiber cement siding, these materials reflect the sun’s rays and keep temperatures cool in summer.
The cost of metal siding is comparable to other types of siding, starting at under $10 a square foot for both aluminum and steel selections.
Metal siding is extremely durable. Thanks to galvanized steel, this siding can resist damage from weather, dings, dents, and more. The one downside is the possibility of rust. This means if you live near the ocean, where a salty spray is expected, this siding may not be the best choice.
Both steel siding and aluminum siding require regular washing and the occasional paint job. When painted and washed regularly, both types of siding metals can last more than 40 years.
As you might imagine, metal siding is best done by a professional. The metal material is typically installed only after a layer of sheathing or board has been added to your house. This board is added to ensure an even surface and professional final appearance.
The different types of metal siding are durable, both aluminum siding and steel siding, with an expected life span of up to 50 years. Warranties for siding made from metal material typically start at 35 years and go up.
Brick or Stone Imitation Siding
Brick and stone imitation siding are both durable options that come in multiple style and color options. They are designed to look like their equivalents but with a few distinct differences.
Many types of siding in the stone veneer and brick style are distinct in appearance. But along with their look, they come with a higher price tag and, often, the extra weight that some houses can’t support. As an alternative, brick imitation and stone veneer deliver the appearance without those factors.
While different types of siding like stucco and vinyl can be painted, typically, brick or stone veneer siding comes in the style you want and are ready to be installed upon delivery.
When thinking about the pros and cons of brick and veneer choices, energy efficiency does not make the list of pros. It comes in lower than almost all other alternatives such as cedar shingles, stucco, metal, and vinyl.
When looking at different types of siding, budget is often a factor, which is why stone and brick veneer are great options compared to the high price of natural alternatives. The price can vary but expect to pay about $10 to 15 per square foot installed if you are choosing from this style.
As covered above, the natural options in this category can last more than 100 years, putting them in the long-lasting category against many other types of siding. But the veneer options aren’t too far behind and are surprisingly durable. Estimates put these products around 50+ years, making their life span a pro worth considering.
A good cleaning is one of the best things you can do for these types of siding. Be careful not to use too much pressure or harsh chemicals. You’ll also want to regularly apply a sealant to keep your siding protected.
Like stucco, these siding options are not flexible, so any expansion or shifting in the foundation can cause cracking. Inspect your home routinely to catch concerns early.
Veneer options are best done by a professional, especially if you want to make sure that they are durable for many years to come. Like stucco, proper expansion joints, moisture protection, and more are important for this stiff material. Use an expert contractor to get the most out of your siding and get the full life expectancy.
Warranties for these types of siding vary, so contact a local contractor to get the most up-to-date details for these siding materials.
A glass exterior on your home is a beautiful option that comes with a number of benefits, not least of which are unfettered views and sunlight, none of which you’ll get with traditional vinyl, cedar, or other siding selections.
Glass exterior is a growing trend for many homeowners and comes with a number of options. If you’re considering adding a glass exterior to your home, it does come with different considerations than traditional types of siding. For example, popular siding choices are often layered onto the existing subframe. With a glass exterior, additional adjustments are made since the glass is replacing any existing frame.
There are many unique options with glass, including large floor-to-ceiling windows, full-door panels, sliding glass panels, and more. Some homes may be able to accommodate standard options, while others may necessitate custom designs and sizes.
When choosing a glass exterior for your home, there are options that provide some insulation but expect a bigger benefit from reduced energy costs thanks to the light coming in regularly.
As you may have guessed, a glass exterior can be costly. In addition to the price of material and installation, other professionals, like an architect, may be necessary since these exterior walls are often load-bearing. Depending on quality and customization, panels may run as high as $60 a square foot.
The durability of a glass exterior is supported by other elements, including the framing. Before making any investment in a glass exterior for your home, talk with a qualified expert about the options for your home and their specific cost, durability, and maintenance.
While glass can easily be washed and cleaned, large sections may be best handled by the pros to ensure a streak-free finish. Keep in mind that, unlike traditional siding, you’ll also have to clean your glass exterior from the inside to keep the view clear.
Plan to hire someone to seal your glass annually as well.
Glass exterior is definitely a job for a professional contractor. This exterior siding option can have implications on your home’s structure, so invest in a quality team that has experience in glass installation.
Warranty options for a glass exterior vary by manufacturer and the type of glass you choose. Check with your contractor to understand what’s best and what will give you the longest life span for your investment.
House Siding Cost: Which Is the Most Affordable?
Now that we’ve covered the different types of siding, like cedar shingles, vinyl, and more, it’s time for a review of the pros and cons, starting with the price.
If the price is of utmost importance, we suggest starting with vinyl. This durable material is a great option for your home’s exterior and avoids the high maintenance headaches of other options.
Next on the list is wood siding, like cedar shingles, metal, and fiber cement.
Among the different types of siding, expect brick and stone to take their place as the most expensive choice for your house. While these options are also among the longest-lasting and durable selections for your home, their high cost may not make sense for every homeowner.
Best Siding for Your House: Which Is Most Cost-Efficient?
To determine which option is the most efficient for your home, consider both the initial costs as well as how long the siding you choose will last.
While an option like brick may be more expensive, it has one of the longest life spans. It’s also helpful to weigh how long you may stay in your home after any install.
Working with an experienced contractor can help you select what’s best for your budget and home.
Explore Your Options With Your Local Contractor
We’ve explored the many siding options for your home, including vinyl, engineered wood, cedar shingles, composite and more. Each of these products comes with a variety of styles and a list of pros and cons.
It can be challenging to know what to choose from the different types of siding, even with everything we’ve covered above.
Before making any siding investment, we recommend contacting a trusted local contractor that can come to your home or business and inspect your property.
At Colonial, we offer a free, no-obligation inspection that ensures you get the best information about your current house siding, any concerns, and recommendations on the best types of siding for your home.
Don’t choose a siding option only to find out it is high maintenance or not durable. With the right contractor on your side, investing in siding can improve your home’s curb appeal and value for many years to come.
Not sure how to find the right partner?
Start with local contractors who have experience and a reputation for doing quality work and providing excellent service.
We’re proud to have a team of trusted contractors experienced with all types of materials and project sizes at CCI.