When it comes to choosing the right type of siding for your home, there is more to examine than meets the eye, though what meets the eye is undeniably essential! It is crucial to not only take a look at what each type of siding can provide, but also to assess your unique circumstances in order to maximize the benefits you will receive.

The optimal exterior for a house should maximize its efficiency to: provide proper insulation, actualize the homeowner’s vision, and maintain cost efficiency. With a little research and the help of a suitable contractor, you will be well-equipped to bring out the best of these qualities in your home’s siding!

Things to Consider

    • How will the environment I live in affect my home? What do I need to protect it from? What do I want it to protect ME from?”

      The conditions in your local area will play a huge role in the longevity and effectiveness of your siding. A cladding which holds up exquisitely in Delaware, a relatively humid and temperate climate, could flounder in the dry air and wildly fluctuating temperatures of Utah, where you would be better off with a whole different approach. This is perhaps the most important factor to consider, which is multifaceted. Such facets include:

      • The temperature in your region, as well as seasonal temperature variability 
      • The average rainfall, moisture, and salt in your air 
      • The risk of wildfires in your surrounding area
      • Potential pests that may try to live in, or even eat, your home!

  • “What is my desired aesthetic? How can I represent my style while simultaneously achieving maximum insulation?”

Let’s face it. A book will at least be judged by its cover *a little*. 

What aesthetic do you want to portray? Does a rustic theme suit you, or would you prefer a more contemporary feel? Industrial, maybe?

In addition to color, both the style and finish of your chosen panels will contribute to your house’s appeal. While tones that easily display texture tend to evoke a more rustic feel, darker colors will give you a modern edge. You might also wish to contemplate whether you like the look of a traditional panel or would prefer to see clean lines, hiding the fastening system instead.

  • “How often am I willing to maintain my siding in order to keep it looking sharp and preserve its efficiency?”

The type of maintenance and cleaning involved with each material, as well as the frequency and costs incurred, will vary. This will depend on where you live and the features you value most, so it is advantageous for you to become educated, hone in on your ambitions, and collaborate with your contractor to find the right siding for you.

  • “How much will this actually cost me in the long run?”

Along with the level of energy efficiency you attain, the duration and ease of your installation, requisite maintenance, and materials and specialties involved in both, will markedly affect your overall cost. Make sure to clarify and balance these expenses with your contractor. 

Choosing the Right ContractorGo Local!

When seeking a contractor, it is imperative to find one who has developed in-depth knowledge of your particular environment. What better way than to stay local? It will also be easier to verify their workmanship and expertise through reviews and referrals! 

  • To avoid potential blind-siding (*wink-wink*), take a close eye to:
    • Written contracts and the cost breakdown
    • Their licensing and insurance
    • The brands and products they use
    • The warranties on their materials and labor

Ensure everything is detailed and suits your objectives!

Types of Siding


Insulation and Durability:

    • Quite durable, but may still dent or crack due to impact. A large range of options are available in terms of quality.
    • A 30 to 40-year warranty is typically provided by the manufacturer.
    • Water-resistant, but not completely waterproof. Poor installation may lead to water seepage behind the paneling.
    • It may buckle or warp under extreme weather conditions.


  • A versatile material, with virtually limitless color options. Can be textured, using techniques like cedar impressions, to mimic wood without the disadvantages that wood brings.
  • Cannot be repainted like other sidings. You may not change the color, as your original color selection will endure throughout the material. Potential scratches and knicks will be much less noticeable because of this.
  • Cheap vinyl might fade or become damaged.


  • Lightweight and easy to install, allowing for quick installation.
  • A good option for remodeling. Can be installed directly over existing materials.

Maintenance and Repair:

  • Easy to clean, using just soap and water.
  • Difficult to repair a single piece, as the color of old siding may not match.


  • Cheapest option overall, but can vary with your environmental needs and aesthetic preferences.
  • Quick installation, which saves on labor costs.

Additional Details:

  • Insulated vinyl is available for those who live in colder climates, which can raise your R-value from 2 to 5.5. It boosts sustainability in this way, but can contrarily produce toxins when disposed of.

Fiber Cement

Insulation and Durability:

  • Reputation for a long life span, making it a sustainable option.
  • Will not rot or decay. Naturally resistant to salt in the air, which is helpful near bodies of water such as the ocean or the Great Salt Lake.
  • Exceptionally resistant to fire.
  • Resistant to insect infestation.


  • Comes in many sizes and styles. Can be molded to mimic other materials, especially wood, with added resistance to environmental factors.
  • Color options are virtually limitless. Can be repainted.
  • Fits any aesthetic you wish.


  • Heavy material, which can be hard to work with.
  • Special tools and installation methods are required.

Maintenance and Repair:

  • Touch-ups will be necessary, as will repainting every 5 to 7 years. Should eventually be recaulked. Easier to repaint than vinyl. 
  • Easy to clean, using just soap and water.


  • Initial installation is costly.
  • Costs will likely be recuperated when the house is put back on the market, due to elevated curb appeal. 

Additional Details:

  • Fiber Cement siding is also known as ‘Hardiplank’ or ‘Hardie board’, due to a trusted manufacturer named James Hardie. It is created by mixing wood pulp, cement, clay, and sand, making it desirable in terms of eco-friendly disposal.


Insulation and Durability:

  • Can last as long as a composite material or synthetic siding with frequent maintenance.
  • Excellent insulator. Good at providing protection from the elements.
  • Insects are attracted to it, thus it is prone to infestation.
  • Flammable.


  • Exhibits natural beauty. Never going out of style. 
  • Can be stained or painted. Clear finishes or stains accent natural wood grains, calling for high grades. Opaque stains or paints work well for lower grades. Different woods call for different sealants, affecting price and maintenance.
  • Cedar and exotic hardwoods, such as ipe, do not necessitate sealing. They may turn gray. An underlayment called a rain screen must be installed with hardwoods. 


  • Lightweight. Quick and easy to install.  
  • Tried and true since ancient times. A lot of knowledge facilitates streamlined processes.

Maintenance and Repair:

  • Easy to repair.
  • Expensive and immoderate long-term maintenance. Less is required in cedar and exotic hardwoods.


  • Highest cost.
  • Most energy-efficient siding. 

Additional Details:

  • Manufacturing wood does not emit pollutants. It is biodegradable and considered a renewable resource.


Insulation and Durability: 

  • Insulates poorly on its own, although insulation can easily be added underneath. Noise penetration is worse than any other siding.
  • Will not rot or mold.
  • Insect-proof.
  • Fire-resistant.


  • Offers a contemporary look.
  • Steel will not fade in color. Aluminum is a softer metal and can fade or discolorize, denting more easily as well.
  • May rust if it is not finished or sealed well.


  • Requires special skills to install. Not all contractors can install it properly.
  • Less waste due to precise cutting methods. Recyclable.

Maintenance and Repair:

  • Very low maintenance. Can withstand harsh weather. May rust quickly if its topcoat is compromised, necessitating prompt resealing.
  • Requires special paint.


  • Expensive to buy and install.
  • Preparatory work is pricey when remodeling. Old paint or primer has to be removed before proceeding.

Additional Details:

  • Metal siding does not easily dislodge, likely staying put in the event of extreme weather.

Alternative Cladding Materials 


  • Does not handle moisture well, but is a good option in dry environments. Popularly used in the Southwest region of the US.
  • Easy to maintain in a dry environment. Cleans with a pressure washer.
  • Many color options, since it is painted.


  • Very durable and easy to maintain.
  • Materials and installation are pricey.
  • Available in an array of colors to suit any taste.


  • Known for strength and durability.
  • Relatively maintenance-free. Installation is the biggest expense.
  • One of the most energy-efficient claddings.


  • Low maintenance. Will last a lifetime.
  • Expensive, specialized installation.
  • Timeless look.

Go Big, Go Home

Equip your home to endure, and you can endure almost anything. A vision and a little pragmatism go a long way, and the right contractor can bring it all to life! 

Siding is crucial when it comes to making your home aspirations a reality. When one truly feels at home, he is provided with the vitality and stable foundation on which to pursue anything else he may yearn for!

“Home is the most popular, and will be the most enduring of all earthly establishments.” 

-Channing Pollock