iThis article is for those figuring out the best type of siding in a house or who have ever wondered what siding in a house? For the average homeowner, the term house siding doesn’t really ring any bells, especially if you’ve never felt the need to change it.
You’ve likely stumbled upon this article because you have a decision to make regarding house siding, so here is everything you need to know!
What is siding in a house?
In simple terms, siding in a house or “house siding” refers to the outer wall material of your home. They are made to protect the home from harsh weather elements, pests, and human threats, and to act as a moisture barrier to prevent structural wreckage. House siding materials come in many different types and designs, each offering unique benefits and aesthetics.
Types of house siding
There are countless house siding materials currently on the market, but they usually come under one of the following categories below. Of course, every material has a downside, so we will take no sides with this list. Instead, in the most neutral and unbiased fashions, we will discuss the pros, cons, and best uses for each type of siding material!
Related: What are Soffits on a House: How do soffits protect your home?
Vinyl siding is easily the most popular of all house siding materials. It’s a low-maintenance and low-cost option you’ve likely seen everywhere in your neighborhood, if not in your own home. This plastic-like material is a favorite among homeowners for its affordability compared to other siding materials and its wide range of color and design choices.
Vinyl siding is available in either horizontal or vertical panels and is quite fast and easy to install.
The other amazing thing about vinyl siding is its compatibility with other materials and flexibility for all house designs. In addition, it can be applied over wood siding to add a layer of insulation and is relatively easy to clean and maintain in the long run.
On the downside, vinyl siding is not the most durable siding material out there and can be damaged by harsh weather or extreme temperatures.
- An affordable, low-cost option that is among the most popular types of house siding materials available.
- Easy to install as a DIY project or through affordable professional installation.
- Cleaning and maintenance are simple, from hosing it down to repairing punctures with ease.
- A vast range of design and color options to choose from.
- Versatile material that works well with wood siding, fiber cement siding, steel siding, and more.
- Not as durable as other siding materials, and can be damaged from extreme temperatures.
- Poor installation can result in detrimental consequences like water leakages and warping.
Insulated vinyl siding
Like its regular counterpart, insulated vinyl siding is also relatively low cost. However, it comes at a slightly higher price point than the non-insulated version. As its name suggests, the main advantage of this type of siding material is its insulation properties which help stabilize your home’s temperature.
This means your home will be less reactive to the outside temperature. It allows you to cool off easier in the summer and warm up better in the winter.
The great thing about insulated vinyl siding products is that they can easily be installed as an add-on to existing vinyl siding material. It simply involves adding a foam layer of insulative material built into the ridge of the traditional vinyl panel.
Furthermore, insulated vinyl siding is environmentally friendly. However, it lacks durability similar to its regular non-insulated counterpart.
- Fairly affordable siding material that is cheap to maintain over a long period of time.
- Insulation helps keep your home’s temperature stable, making it a great option for extremely hot or cold weather.
- Wide range of design choices in terms of style and color.
- Plenty of versatility to be built in conjunction with other materials like wood and metal siding.
- Easy to install from scratch or add onto an existing traditional vinyl siding solution.
- Insulated siding material does not contribute to the vinyl’s lack of durability.
- Vinyl material cannot be recolored or repainted, so your color choice becomes permanent.
Natural wood siding
It is hard to top the natural wood siding option when it comes to a vintage appearance of unmatched beauty. This type is one of the oldest forms of siding for homes and typically comes in wood planks, wood shingles, or wood boards. For wood planks, you can choose between board and batten styles, tongue and groove, board on board, or channel groove.
The main drawbacks of natural wood siding are the cost of installation and the ongoing costs of maintenance. This is because of the complex process involving the layering of insulated sheaths and the nailing of individual planks around the exterior walls of the entire house.
The price range varies depending on your wood siding material and design. However, even the cheapest options are typically more costly than vinyl.
To clarify, while wood siding is quite costly for regular maintenance, that does not mean it is necessarily difficult. Once it has undergone proper installation, maintaining it is just a matter of repainting the exterior siding and reapplying the finish coating.
When you factor in the necessary supplies and equipment price tag, the costs come in. There’s also a higher frequency of maintenance requirements for wood siding.
Unlike vinyl siding, wood siding is more prone to damage from the elements. This includes heavy rainfall, which can expand the wooden panels, or extreme heat, which can potentially burn the surface. As such, extra precautions must be taken to ensure the wood shingle or cedar shake siding is fire-resistant and waterproof (1).
Wood siding is also susceptible to unique problems such as termites. This makes it a significant task to ensure no holes or cracks are present in the exterior siding.
- Beautiful aesthetic that provides a comforting vintage look.
- Easy to repair once correctly installed and can often be fixed by the homeowner.
- Can be repainted in countless color choices, unlike vinyl.
- Environmentally friendly and easy to clean and maintain.
- It is easy to install using basic carpentry skills and can often be done by the homeowner.
- Maintenance can be quite costly due to equipment and material costs.
- More prone to threats from moisture, extreme temperature, and termites.
Engineered wood siding
Engineered wood siding, also known as manufactured wood siding or composite wood siding. It is a cheaper alternative to natural wood siding that looks real. Engineered wood comprises a blend of materials, including strands and wood fibers bound together by resin composite materials through an extreme heating process.
It is finished with a wax coating to prevent molding and treated with zinc borate to resist decay and infestation (2).
Due to the low cost of engineered wood siding materials, installation is quite inexpensive and suits those on a tighter budget. In addition, unlike its natural wood counterpart, engineered wood siding does not require such frequent maintenance and can typically last at least ten years before surface repainting is required.
This type of siding is also quite durable and is highly resistant to moisture, warping, fungus, mold, and pests such as termites.
Not only is manufactured wood siding cheaper to install and maintain than natural wood, but it is also easier to maintain and keep clean over time. This is because it does not require constant repairs due to damage from the weather, as it has added durability despite its lower cost.
Like natural wood, engineered wood siding is also available in a huge assortment of colors, textures, and finish options and can easily be customized any time.
On the downside, this type of siding lacks the natural variations of grain like its natural counterpart and does not have the same feel as real wood. Furthermore, composite wood is not eco-friendly and can even produce harmful toxins while manufacturing its materials.
On top of that, the resin coating of wooden composite siding may crack and chip over time, requiring unexpected maintenance and costs.
Related: The Parts of a House Every Homeowner Should Know
- Gives off the appearance of natural wood at a fraction of the cost.
- Offers more durability and design options such as wood clapboard, wood shingles, and wood plank designs.
- Moisture-resistant, weather-resistant, and termite resistant.
- Easy to install and maintain and quite affordable in both these regards.
- Various design choices in terms of color, textures, and finishes.
- Lacks the natural grain variations of real wood siding.
- Not environmentally friendly like natural wood.
Metal siding is any siding made with a metal material, typically including aluminum siding and steel siding options. These siding types are affordable, durable, and easy to maintain over long periods. In fact, metal siding is among the most durable siding options currently on the market, usually lasting around 35 years or more.
Other metal siding materials include copper, corrugated metal, and galvanized steel, all of which are highly durable and affordable to install and maintain. Jointed horizontal siding, or “lap siding,” is a great design choice for metal siding as it gives off a look similar to natural wood, making your home look “high-end.”
It is recommended that your metal siding be galvanized for rust and corrosion resistance, as these are generally the most common threats to metal materials.
Steel or aluminum siding is also great for “retrofits,” meaning they are flexible materials that can be applied to an existing siding solution. For example, many homeowners choose to cover their natural wood siding with metal if it has undergone severe damage that is too costly to repair.
Like wood, metal siding is also available in many design choices, from colors to textures and finishes. On the downside, metal exterior siding options can be quite noisy during extreme weather, as you can hear the “clank” sounds of the raindrops hitting the metal surface.
Furthermore, materials like steel and aluminum are more susceptible to denting due to the nature of the material composition. Although, it also means its less prone to cracks and chips. This type of siding is also at a greater risk of decoloring and fading over time, especially if not properly sealed with a durable finish.
- Extremely durable siding and among the longest lasting options currently available today.
- Nice aesthetic that can often resemble that of natural wood.
- Flexible material that is often used to cover the flaws of an existing siding.
- Affordable material that is relatively low cost and easy to maintain over time.
- When galvanized, can create a moisture barrier that is highly resistant to corrosion and rust.
- More prone to denting than most other siding materials.
- Often requires repainting and re-coating due to fading and decoloring vulnerabilities.
Stone veneer siding
Stone veneer siding is an alternative to real stone siding that gives off a similar look that often cannot be distinguished from the real thing. By definition, veneer refers to thinly cut sheets of materials like wood or stone, and as such can be quite low maintenance and low cost to install.
Veneered stone or brick siding can offer high levels of durability without forking out a fortune, offering a siding solution that is easy to install, replace, or repair.
One of the perks of stone veneer siding is its lightweight nature, making it highly adaptable to existing siding designs. For instance, if your vinyl siding were to undergo severe damage from storms, rather than repair it you can opt for a change by layering some stone veneer over the surface for a new and authentic look.
Furthermore, this type of siding can be easily installed by homeowners or professionals alike, and it is super easy to hire a contractor to get the job done.
Of course, stone veneer is not without its shortcomings, one of which is its lack of environmentally-friendly properties. Unlike that of wood, this type of siding material cannot be recycled, and its manufacturing may produce toxic fumes into the air.
In addition, stone veneer has more openings and weak spots for moisture to seep through. It compromises the inner structure of the siding, resulting in frequent maintenance and repair costs.
- Fairly easy to install with a plethora of contractors available to do the job.
- Highly durable material that is unlikely to dent in the same way as aluminum or steel siding.
- No loose butt joints on the corners which promote greater architectural stability and curb appeal.
- Offers the beauty and aesthetics of real stone siding without the extra cost.
- Lightweight material that is flexible in application, allowing you to build over existing sidings made from wood or vinyl.
- Not environmentally friendly.
- Not as durable as real stone siding.
Brick veneer siding
Few can challenge the superiority of brick veneer siding regarding temperature control and fire-resistant properties. While brick is typically used for a home’s foundational structure, it is also popular as exterior siding options with the material continue to grow. It provides an aesthetic and timeless appearance while providing many benefits and useful properties.
Unlike wood, brick will never catch fire; metal will never warp or dent. Even without any coating or composite add-ons, brick is highly durable and resistant to corrosion from moisture, chips, cracks, pests, and fungi, even in its most natural state.
Of course, this makes it quite expensive as a home material option, but as a siding, it can be a fairly affordable option as it takes on the form of brick veneer.
That said, the siding cost of brick veneer is still significantly higher than manufactured wood or vinyl siding options. So that is something to consider if on a tight budget. You should also be aware that there are few options for brick veneer siding in terms of color, textures, and finishes.
Furthermore, the brick siding itself is highly durable and strong. The mortar in between that binds the bricks together can be compromised by harsh weather elements, resulting in repair costs every few years.
- Beautiful appearance that gives a timeless appearance.
- Low maintenance and relatively low cost compared to other materials for siding.
- Highly durable and provides excellent temperature control due to waterproof and fireproof properties.
- Does not require any maintenance other than cleaning, washing, and when the mortar between the bricks wears out.
- Highly eco-friendly and recyclable for other uses.
- Mortar inbetween bricks may become compromised due to harsh weather conditions.
- Not many customizable options in terms of color and textures.
Fiber cement siding
Fiber cement siding is one of the newest forms of siding and is typically made of cellulose fibers or wood pulp mixed with cement. It is a flexible material that can produce many different styles, including lap siding, board and batten. In addition, fiber cement siding is super durable and often comes with ridiculously long warranties of up to 50 years cover!
The versatility of fiber cement siding is not to be underestimated. They can easily be painted and redesigned as certain styles grow outdated. In addition, this type of siding is highly resistant to UV rays and can resist dangerous elements like fires, heavy rainfall, and lightning strikes.
Choosing the right siding material for your house can be challenging. Still, fiber cement is one type of siding that gets some of the most positive customer feedback. Especially when you go for reputable brands like Portland cement.
Naturally, the highest quality often comes at the highest prices. While fiber cement siding is not the cheapest option, It pays for it. To give you an idea, the cheapest fiber cement siding is around the same price bracket as the most expensive vinyl siding, so it’s not exactly a budget-friendly choice.
Also, installing and maintaining fiber cement can be quite costly, requiring skilled laborers and expensive materials.
- Versatile material that offers a wide range of style and color designs.
- Quite durable and extremely long-lasting with warranties up to 50 years.
- It withstands natural elements without compromising its beautiful look.
- Highly resistant to fire and pests.
- Resistant to rotting and decaying.
- Expensive maintenance and installation.
- Requires coloring touch-ups when chipped or cracked.
What is siding in a house FAQ
What is house siding made of?
House siding can be made of various materials, including vinyl, wood, aluminum, steel, fiber cement, and more! The most popular of these is vinyl for its vast design options, incredible cost-efficiency, and low maintenance requirements.
How often should you replace the siding on your house?
Depending on the type of siding material, you should replace the siding on your house once every few years to every few decades.
What kind of siding is best for a house?
For durability and long-lasting results, metal siding such as steel or aluminum are among the best options. However, fiber cement is a fantastic choice for versatility, and for affordability and low maintenance, you can’t go wrong with vinyl!
What is the cheapest siding for a house?
Vinyl is easily the cheapest option for house siding and is currently the most popular choice for homes today. It is cheap to install, easy and affordable to maintain, and highly versatile in terms of design choices, textures, and insulation options.