Kinds of Siding

Wood-composite, wood, fiber cement, and vinyl are common siding types. Each carries its own advantages and disadvantages and is available in a variety of quality levels and prices.

Wood-composite siding. Wood-composite siding is engineered out of wood fibers, binders, and glue. Some types are treated with chemicals to ward off termite infestation, fight mold, and resist moisture absorption.

Wood siding. There are two common ways wood siding is cut:  vertical sawn and plane sawn. Vertical sawn siding is typically more durable than plane sawn siding because it has more growth rings, which are the hard, dense part of the wood. It also holds stain better and won’t warp as heavily as plane sawn siding. These traits make vertical sawn siding the more expensive option.

Wood siding naturally absorbs water and will deteriorate over time. To protect it and keep it looking good, wood siding must be painted every few years.

Fiber cement siding. Two major brands of fiber cement siding are CertainTeed and HardiePlank. Fiber cement siding is a composite material made of cement, sand, and natural wood fibers, and it is manufactured to look just like wood. However, it is more durable than wood and resists damage from water and termites. Fiber cement siding must be painted. Some manufacturers offer a pre-painted product in limited color selection. It is usually less expensive than brick but more expensive than a vinyl or wood product, such as Masonite or LP.

Vinyl siding. Vinyl siding is usually less expensive than aluminum siding and most grades of wood siding. The vinyl siding manufactured today is available in a wide variety of colors and never needs painting. Good-quality, thick vinyl siding with stiffeners rarely warps or breaks down, and it usually carries an extremely long warranty. In general, the thicker the vinyl siding and the more stiffeners that reinforce it, the fewer problems the siding will develop down the road. Periodic pressure washing returns vinyl to its original appearance.