4 Types of House Siding

A house with metal siding.
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Choosing the right kind of siding for your home is an important decision. Siding protects your home from the elements and often remains on the house for years on end. But with so many varieties of siding on the market, it can be difficult selecting the right one. Here is a quick guide on the four different types of siding to help you determine the best fit for your home.

1. Wood

A house with wood siding.

Wood is a classic siding option that gives a natural beauty to a home’s exterior. When considering wood siding, there are four different varieties of profiles: shingles (also called shakes), batten or board, engineered wood, and bevel. The type of profile you choose is largely based on preference. The wood can either be left in its natural color or stained and typically lasts over 10 years, depending on climate and maintenance. If the wood is kept well, it can last upwards of 100 years.

There are two big downsides, however, to using wood as siding. For starters, wood is expensive to install and maintain. Secondly, it's prone to attracting unwanted insects and rodents and easily succumbs to rotting and mold. On the flip side, wood is one of the most environmentally friendly options on the market and can be customized to fit any color scheme.

2. Metal

Metal siding is a popular choice for modern and retro style constructions. The two most commonly used forms of metal siding are steel and aluminum, with the latter being the most popular because of its rust-resistant properties. Although metal siding is not as green-friendly as wood, the manufacturing process results in little waste byproducts.

Metal siding does not require a lot of maintenance and is resistant to mold and water damage. Unlike vinyl and wood, metal siding does not fade in color and is very fire-resistant. This makes metal a great choice in dry climates or parts of the country that get a lot of moisture. The downside to metal siding is that it can be prone to rust if it is not sealed properly. It also does not come in as many varieties and colors as vinyl or wood, making it less than aesthetically pleasing if you don't care for the metal look.

3. Vinyl

A man cleaning vinyl siding on a house.

More homeowners select vinyl than any other siding on the market—and for good reason. Vinyl is durable, affordable, and fully customizable with a slew of color options. Vinyl also comes in a variety of profiles, including both vertical and horizontal panels, shakes, Dutch lap, batten, shingles, beaded, and scallops. Vinyl siding usually lasts around 30 years before it needs to be replaced.

The biggest upside to vinyl siding is its cost. On the whole, vinyl is the cheapest kind of siding on the market. It's also easy to maintain and clean and does not attract unwanted guests. Although many homeowners choose vinyl, it is susceptible to warping, especially under extreme conditions. Vinyl also cannot be painted a different color down the road, so you are stuck with what you get until it's time for a full replacement.

4. Fiber Cement

Fiber cement is meant to mimic wood siding without the maintenance demands or insect problems. Fiber cement is made from wood fibers, cement, and sand. It's durable, cost-effective, and comes in a variety of colors and textures. Fiber cement can pretty much duplicate any type of siding on the market, including stone, wood, and brick. Unlike wood, fiber cement is fire-resistant and is not susceptible to decay or rot. But it does have its downsides.

Fiber cement is difficult to install and usually requires more than one person due to its weight. It also needs to be refinished every 12 years and costs double that of vinyl. The paint on the fiber cement can also chip and wear down over time, so the material is not completely maintenance-free. If you are looking for a wood alternative, however, fiber cement is the way to go.