Three types of siding material

siding materialSiding options have truly increased over the last decades, but the reasons behind a homeowner’s choice of siding typically haven’t.

Balancing one’s budget against the terms for siding maintenance and installation are usually the main concerns for this decision.

It is, however, a tight-rope walk when weighing the best performing product against the financial cost because some of the more expensive varieties of siding often offer the lowest maintenance cost, making them the more fiscally sound option for the long run.

Three Types of Siding Materials

Siding materials span all the way from the ever-popular vinyl siding to synthetic stone. However, certain types of siding are rarely used for the entire home exterior. The most popular siding materials are:

  • Vinyl
  • Wood
  • Fiber Cement

Each of these offers its own distinct advantages over the others, but some truly have more cons per comparison.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is huge in the siding market. This is because the product is durable, is offered in a wide array of colors, and, for the majority homeowners, it is one of the most affordable options. Insects don’t particularly care for synthetic vinyl and it is a fairly tough material.

Not all vinyl is the same, however. Insulated vinyl is the more cost-heavy choice. You’ll also need to note that, durable as it is, vinyl can crack and dent when exposed to harsh elements. Depending on the coating used, its color can also fade over time. It isn’t that there is a tremendous amount of maintenance involved in vinyl siding, but there are options that require less.

Also, vinyl siding is not a green product. Its emissions include toxic compounds which, combined with its frank inability to biodegrade in landfills, makes it an ecological disappointment.


Wood siding offers two options. The first is the traditional wood siding that looks genuine and magnificently traditional. The second is the newer variety of engineered wood that pretty much looks the part, but without half the maintenance—and this is truly wood’s major disadvantage. Traditional wood siding is rustically glorious and sturdy, but it requires major maintenance.

Moisture and pests are amongst its main weaknesses. Warping, denting, and a penchant for fungal activity make wood a more difficult product to deal with.

Engineered wood is nearly as durable as fiber cement, and its not-quite-the-real-deal appeal makes it less expensive than traditional wood. Engineered wood is also highly eco-friendly, but it is a relatively new product. This means it hasn’t been scrutinized through long-term study when it comes to durability. The claim is that it can hold up through harsh weather, but it has exhibited instability where moisture is concerned.

Fiber Cement Siding

Of the three most popular types of siding material, fiber cement tends to be the emperor of resilience. Although its higher price tag poses a definite disadvantage, it presents the least amount of maintenance. It is mold, pest, weather and sun resistant. Homeowners need to be particularly careful regarding the installation of fiber cement siding. Whereas many forms of wood and vinyl siding are very user-friendly, fiber cement is not and requires specific installation in order to glean its advantages. For this reason, many personal home construction efforts involving fiber cement result in an inferior installation.

The Major Decision Factors

siding installers

Unless you are aiming for an aesthetically specialized effect, your siding material decision will come down to a choice between paying more up front and incurring less annoyance in the future, or budgeting now, but expecting long term surprises. In the case of certain wood varieties, you may enjoy paying a great deal at the beginning and at the end, because the perks of authenticity don’t always include reliability. This is why the siding battle often boils down to vinyl versus fiber cement, a true comparison between cost and maintenance.

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