Types of Siding

Wood composite, wood, fiber cement, and vinyl are the most common siding types.

Wood composite. Wood-composite siding is engineered from a mixture of wood fibers, binders, and glue. A low-quality wood-composite product, such as Masonite or LP, is the cheapest siding option, but they may have problems down the road. Some types are treated with chemicals to ward off termite infestation, fight mold, and resist moisture absorption. 

Wood siding. Real wood, such as pine, oak, and redwood, is usually much more expensive than a wood composite. Wood naturally absorbs water, and so it will deteriorate over time. To protect wood and to keep it looking its best, wood siding must be painted every few years.

There are two ways wood siding is commonly 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 harder, denser parts of the wood. It also holds stain better and won’t warp as much as plane-sawn siding. These traits make vertical-sawn siding the more expensive option.

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. It is usually less expensive than brick but more expensive than vinyl or a wood-composite product, such as Masonite or LP.

Vinyl siding. Vinyl siding is usually less expensive than 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.