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Siding is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when building or renovating your home. The right siding can boost your home’s curb appeal, energy efficiency, and value. But with so many siding options available, how do you choose? This comprehensive guide to siding will walk you through the most popular siding types, key considerations, and help you select the ideal siding to achieve your home goals.

Why Your Siding Choice Matters

Your home’s exterior siding impacts much more than just appearance. Siding affects:

  • Curb appeal: Boost your home’s aesthetic appeal to impress visitors and improve resale value.
  • Energy efficiency: Proper insulation under siding can reduce energy costs.
  • Noise reduction: Insulated siding helps muffle outside noise.
  • Durability: Selecting durable materials ensures your siding lasts decades with minimal upkeep.
  • Cost: Siding options range dramatically in price and long-term value.
  • Maintenance: Some sidings require frequent repainting or other maintenance.
  • Environmental impact: Many sidings are energy-efficient and recyclable.

With so much riding on your siding selection, it pays to thoroughly research the many options before deciding on the right siding for your home goals and budget.

Popular Types of Residential Siding

There are numerous options when selecting exterior home cladding for your home. Here are some of the most popular types:

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl is the most commonly used siding for home improvement today. Made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), vinyl siding is loved for its affordability and low maintenance. Solid vinyl siding features a single rigid panel, while newer insulated vinyl siding sandwiches foam insulation between two panels for improved thermal performance.

Benefits of vinyl siding include:

  • Budget-friendly compared to other sidings
  • Huge range of colors, textures, and styles
  • Resists fading and staining
  • Never needs paint
  • Easy to clean with a hose
  • The insulated version provides energy efficiency.

Potential downsides of vinyl siding include:

  • Not as durable or impact-resistant as wood, masonry, or composites
  • Can warp or buckle over time, requiring replacement panels.
  • Not considered eco-friendly or easily recyclable
  • Manufactured appearance lacks natural curb appeal for some

Vinyl is ideal for homeowners who prioritize low maintenance and cost over premium aesthetics. It offers the industry’s largest selection of colors, textures, and styles. Just ensure proper installation for lasting performance.

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement siding offers the appearance of real wood, masonry, or stucco siding while delivering exceptional durability and fire resistance. Made from a mixture of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers, leading brands like James Hardie fiber-cement siding can survive over 50 years.

Advantages of fiber cement siding:

  • Extremely impact-resistant
  • Won’t rot, warp, or buckle.
  • Great insulation properties
  • Class A fire rating
  • Can mimic wood, stucco, or slate
  • Wide choice of styles
  • Paintable in any color

Disadvantages include:

  • More expensive upfront cost than vinyl
  • Needs repainting every 5–10 years.
  • Heavier than vinyl, composites, or aluminum
  • Cutting creates silica dust.

Fiber cement siding brings gorgeous aesthetics and long-lasting performance, perfect for homeowners who want low maintenance without vinyl’s artificial look. Proper installation and reinforcing for weight requirements are critical.

Wood Siding

For high-end homes, real wood siding still delivers unparalleled natural beauty and timeless attractiveness. Cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine are common wood species used for siding. Types like clapboard and shingles provide a traditional appearance.

Benefits of wood siding include:

  • Warm, natural look and feel
  • Cedar and redwood resist rot naturally.
  • Can be stained any color.
  • Unmatched real wood textures
  • It installs easily for experienced carpenters.

Downsides to wood include:

  • Requires frequent staining, sealing, and painting.
  • Prone to cupping, splitting, and other damage
  • Not fire-resistant and can rot over time.
  • Higher material costs than vinyl or composites

Wood siding has a character impossible to replicate with manufactured materials. But plan on higher installation and long-term maintenance requirements. Preparing, priming, and sealing are also critical.

Stone Veneer Siding

For a dramatic, upscale look, natural stone veneer or manufactured faux stone siding adds incredible visual impact. Rustic sandstone, elegant limestone, stately granite—the aesthetic possibilities are endless. Thin slices of real stone or molded synthetic veneers mount to concrete backing boards or lath strips.

Benefits of stone veneer siding include:

  • Instantly boosts home value and appeal
  • Makes a bold, high-end architectural statement.
  • Infinite style and color options
  • Natural versions offer unmatched texture.
  • Lasts the lifetime of the home

Downsides of stone veneer:

  • The most expensive siding option, starting around $15/square foot,
  • Heavier than other sidings, requiring a sturdy frame
  • Installation is labor-intensive and complex.
  • Some manufactured versions look obviously artificial.

For homeowners unconcerned with budget, stone veneer siding delivers a jaw-dropping appearance and distinctive elegance that nothing else can match. Combining natural stone with manufactured siding on focal walls can provide an upscale look for less.

Composite Siding

Composite siding offers the look and feel of real wood with unmatched durability and low maintenance. By mixing wood fibers and plastic polymers, brands like LP SmartSide create materials that resist swelling, warping, and moisture damage. Composite siding looks great freshly painted or simply allowed to weather naturally.


  • offers the texture and appeal of wood
  • 25–50-year limited warranties against rot, pests, etc.
  • Only needs repainting every 8–12 years
  • Resists impacts and severe weather
  • Fire and insect-resistant
  • Easy to install and work with standard tools


  • Higher installed cost than vinyl siding
  • Not recommended for extreme DIYers
  • Can dent if hit hard enough
  • Does not isolate as well as insulated vinyl

For wood’s look without the maintenance, composite siding is a smart choice. Durability innovations mean fewer repairs and replacements over time, providing excellent long-term value.

Metal Siding

For a sleek, modern look, aluminum siding offers clean lines, incredible durability, and low maintenance. Types of house siding include aluminum, galvanized steel siding, and copper. Metal stands up extremely well to weather, wind, and impact damage. It won’t warp, crack, or rot over time.


  • Extremely durable and dent-resistant
  • Requires little maintenance besides occasional washing.
  • Fireproof and waterproof
  • Wide choice of colors through factory finishes
  • Seamless look from large metal panels
  • Excellent eco-friendly and recyclable properties


  • Higher upfront cost than vinyl or wood
  • Can develop scratches or dents from impacts
  • Poor insulation without additional foam backing
  • Condensation and moisture must be managed.
  • Can be noisy during rain or hail storms.

Overall, metal siding brings sleek styling, strength, and protection from the elements. With extra insulation, it can also help control energy costs in hot and cold weather. It’s an excellent siding choice for modern homes.

Key Factors When Selecting Siding

Along with appearance, assess siding options across these criteria:


Look at real-world testing and warranties to see which sidings withstand dents, weathering, pests, fire, and simple aging. Fiber cement and composites like LP SmartSide can survive over 50 years.


Vinyl and composites need little yearly upkeep. Wood and fiber cement require frequent staining, painting, or sealing. How often you’ll need to re-paint or perform repairs matters.


Vinyl and aluminum are generally the most budget-friendly upfront. Fiber cement, composites, and wood cost more but add value over time. Stone veneer is the priciest. Compare the total installed cost per square foot.

Curb Appeal

If natural wood or stone appearance provides the aesthetics you want, focus there. For a range of style options, fiber cement and vinyl siding work well. Drive around, viewing homes with different sidings, to get a sense of each material’s vibe.

Insulation Ability

In colder climates, especially, higher R-values reduce heating costs. Insulated vinyl, composites, and fiber cement provide decent insulation. To maximize energy savings, also insulate behind the siding.


Look for sustainable materials like composite wood that won’t rot over decades. Fiber cement contains recycled materials. Vinyl is notoriously hard to recycle and degrades over time.

Fire Resistance

Stone, fiber cement, concrete-based materials, and some composites have excellent fire ratings. Wood and vinyl are combustible, though treatments and separators can reduce the risk.

Questions to Ask Your Siding Installer

Don’t just read siding reviews and brochures; talk with installers and ask these key questions:

  • What are the total estimated costs for materials, labor, insulation, prep work, and finishing? Get quotes broken down by line item.
  • How long will installation take for the project? Factor in potential weather delays or complexity factors.
  • Does the siding product warranty cover hail, hurricane-force winds, cracking, and other damage? Get duration and coverage details.
  • What trim, fascia, soffits, moldings, and accessories do you recommend for a professionally finished exterior? Look for full solutions.
  • Will you handle any needed permits and inspections? Understand what’s included in the bid.
  • How are proper moisture control and flashing addressed? This is crucial to preventing issues.
  • Do you follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly during installation? Avoid improper or rushed installations.

And always check references from prior customers for any contractor providing a bid.

Combining Different Siding Types

There’s no rule that says your home’s exterior needs to pick just one siding material. Mixing and matching provides more visual interest. Some creative combinations include:

  • Premium focal walls: Use genuine wood or stone veneer on the front wall or other focal areas, with affordable vinyl or fiber cement on the rest. This concentrates the high-end materials for maximum effect.
  • Transition zones: change siding as the architecture shifts across a home, like using shingles on upper dormer levels and lap siding on lower floors.
  • Designer accents: Mix siding textures and colors not just across walls but even within the same walls for modern appeal.
  • Diverse auxiliary buildings: Use a different siding for garages, pool houses, detached workshops, or other auxiliary structures.

Chat with your chosen siding installer about innovative ways to employ more than one material for a custom look.

10 Tips for Choosing the Best Siding

Selecting new siding for your home is an exciting project that yields immense attractiveness and satisfaction. Keep these top tips in mind:

  1. Do your homework. Thoroughly research the pros and cons of various siding types before deciding.
  2. Prioritize quality: Focus on durable materials with lasting performance backed by meaningful warranties.
  3. Consider cost factors. Weigh the upfront price against estimated long-term costs for maintenance and repairs.
  4. Visualize the finished look. Browse siding product websites and drive around viewing finished homes to inspire your aesthetic goals.
  5. Insist on full quotes. Get complete, transparent bids from installers, itemizing all costs.
  6. Verify credentials. Choose seasoned installers who are specially certified by the siding manufacturer.
  7. Review ratings: Check reviews and complaints with the Better Business Bureau and other consumer protection agencies.
  8. Confirm building codes: ensure the siding meets all local regulations for weather resistance, fire safety, and more.
  9. Inspect workmanship. Closely examine all work during installation to spot any improper practices.
  10. Explore financing: Ask manufacturers and contractors about any current financing deals, rebates, or incentives available.

Investing the time upfront results in exterior protection and beauty you’ll enjoy for decades. With the information in this guide, you now have the key facts to select the ideal siding types to match your budget, lifestyle, and aesthetic goals. Your home renovation dreams start with the perfect siding!

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