When you want to ensure that your home has great curb appeal and is strong, you have to think of the different types of siding you could have. There are several factors you want to consider before you take the step of making your final choice, including knowing the different color options and materials that are available on the current market.
However, this is usually easier said than done as there are so many different types of siding to pick from that it can very quickly get overwhelming. However, we want to simplify it for you, so we’ve broken down some of the most popular types of siding you can choose for your home. By the end, our goal is for you to be able to pick out a type of siding that suits your needs, design aesthetic, and overall look.
Before we get into the different types of siding, you have to know what siding is. For the architectural definition, siding is the material that goes over the out wall of a building’s exterior to cover it. It has a protective purpose, and it also works to upgrade your home in an aesthetic sense. No matter if you want to improve your home’s protection level from the snow, sun, rain, or if you just want to get a new look, changing out your siding is a quick way to accomplish both objectives.
There are several types of siding available, and your budget, along with your personal preferences, will be the two biggest deciding factors in which siding you pick out. The popularity of each siding style varies, and we’re going to outline some of the most popular options in the United States. This includes but is not limited to wood, vinyl, stone, brick, metal, or stucco.
When you think of brick, red brick siding is one of the main things that typically springs to mind. However, there are many types of siding that incorporate brick today, and you can pick between faux or real brick in several textures and colors. Today, brick houses are usually wooden with decorative brick siding adhered to it. Real brick houses started falling out of popularity a little over a century ago. Newer brick veneers are thinner, and you refer to them as thin brick as a result. They’re installed like ceramic tile, and they are made from concrete instead of clay. You need one-inch of air space behind it to help shed moisture.
If you maintain your brick correctly, it can last for decades. With brick veneer, all you’ll have to do is pressure wash it once or twice a year. It’s fire and weather-resistant, and it won’t fade with sunlight exposure. However, the price for the brick material and the installation costs are much higher than other types of siding.
Brick House by Jason Rowe / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Stone siding is one of the oldest types of siding and construction materials for homes. You can trace it back to the Roman Empire, and they used slate, limestone, granite, travertine, and marble in their construction processes. The stone type they picked out depended on which stone was available in a specific area. Installing stone veneer is also a very old way to keep the exterior of your home looking authentic and elegant. Stone siding became popular in the 19th century, and you have a very broad choice when it comes to options today, based on your budget.
Since there is such a variety of this type of siding, you can decide if you’d prefer to have manufactured or natural options. There is also high-quality faux stone available, and it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between the two. You can have:
- Cladding – Cladding gets cut into specific, smaller sizes to suit your needs. It usually has granite because it resists cracks, and it’s popular in cold climates because it’s frost and water-resistant. You’ll need a professional installation with this type of siding because it can be complicated and time-consuming. However, it gives you a high-quality look and feel.
- Imitation – If you don’t want natural stone, you can choose from faux stone made with concrete pigments or a polyurethane stone panel. Faux stone is cheaper with the same durability level, and it’s much easier to install. However, it doesn’t look as authentic. Polyurethane panels feature fire retardants, UV inhibitors, and polyurethane. It looks real until you touch it, but it doesn’t have a high durability factor.
- Solid Stone – Solid stone gives your home a classic look with a high durability, and it’s easier to install and transport today than it was. It’s also easy to recycle into landscape stone. It gives you a very long life, and it’s much more durable than other types of siding like wood. It is much more expensive, but you won’t have to replace or repair it for decades.
- Veneer – Stone veneer is another natural stone type of siding that comes with panel system technology to make the installation process quicker and easier. You can choose from several sizes and colors, but you know that not all varieties of this siding work for exterior applications.
Stone House in Franktown, Ontario by Ross Dunn / CC BY-SA 2.0
Render or stucco is a very traditional type of siding made from sand, cement, and water. You apply it wet and allow it to dry to a very solid, dense material. It was historically popular in the Roman Empire and Ancient Egypt as they used it as a material in sculptures and for a decorative element.
Stucco is now an exterior covering for homes. It gives you a very durable and solid siding, and it’s fire-resistant and low-maintenance to make it safe. However, it won’t handle humidity or moisture, so it’s popular in arid desert climates. You can give it different shapes and textures when you apply it to recreate several architectural styles. You can also paint it any color you want, and you can mix it in different ways to get a range of different textures.
House by David Sawyer / CC BY-SA 2.0
4. Fiber Cement
Fiber cement isn’t extremely common in the United States, but you’ll find it all over in Australia and in the UK. It’s very long-lasting, durable, and has lower maintenance requirements. It features cellulose fibers with cement in the makeup, and the fibers replaced asbestos when it was found that it wasn’t a safe material to use in wall or roof insulation.
It resists insects and rot, but you’re supposed to repaint it every 10 to 15 years due to damage caused by pollution or moisture. You can make this type of siding mimic the look of virtually anything you’d like, including wood while having a longer lifespan. You usually use it with a natural wood front door to create a nice contrast.
Unpainted Siding by chaim zvi / CC BY-NC 2.0
If you’re after a very insulative option for your preferred type of siding, concrete is very effective. Concrete features sand, gravel, and water in the makeup, and you get a very thick mixture that’ll get hard as it dries. Once it hardens, it’s durable enough to last more than a century, and you can form it into different sizes and shapes. This is why it’s popular for foundations, patios, walkways, driveways, and more.
Concrete is popular in minimalist, modern designs, and it has a very low maintenance cost associated with it. However, installation is more expensive but you get a very energy-efficient home when you finish. It’s resistant to flooding and fires, and it’s very insultative to lower your cooling and heating bills.
Concrete House in Vancouver by pnwra / CC BY 2.0
6. Metal – Steel and Aluminum
Aluminum siding has been going out of style since vinyl exploded in popularity due to the availability and price. However, aluminum siding can last over 50 years, but thinner or cheaper options can get damaged easily due to how soft it is.
Steel is a type of siding that is the most durable, and it has a strong resistance to scratching or moisture damage due to the hardness. It rarely rusts and holds color very well, but it’s an expensive choice and more challenging to install. Metal is a great choice for people who live in extremely cold or wet climates because of the durable natural properties. Metal isn’t good for high heat areas due to expansion concerns, and you don’t want it in windy areas due to the noise levels.
Houses of Yellowknife by incommunicado / CC BY-SA 2.0
The single most popular type of siding in the United States and Canada is wood siding. This is due to the long history of timber processing and wood construction, especially in areas that have larger forests.
It comes in a large range of styles and shapes, and the most popular types of wood that people want for their exterior siding are pine, cypress, spruce, fir, engineered wood, and redwood. Some options are looks-based while others are preferred due to their decay and rot-resistance. Whatever type of siding you pick out, you want to maintain it on a regular basis by sealing and staining it to avoid moisture damage.
- Cedar – Cedar is popular because it has a natural grain and rot resistance to it, even if this makes the initial costs higher. However, it adds durability to allow your siding to last longer in the long-term.
- Pine – Pine is another popular wood siding, but it’s not resistant to rot. It’s cheaper to get and install than fir is, and pine is also very elastic and lightweight. You can bend it slightly while you install it, and this makes it an excellent decoration.
- Spruce – Spruce is a type of softwood, and it has most of the same characteristics pine has, including a lower price point. If your home is on the East Coast, spruce is likely your first choice for wood siding over pine.
- Fir – Fir is popular instead of spruce in the Western portion of the United States. It’s a softwood that is easy to cut and install on your home, and it allows you to get a very rustic look. Redwood is also regionally available here, but it’s expensive. Due to this wood’s rich resin and texture, you can use it in any climate, and it doesn’t need a lot of maintenance.
- Wood Siding Styles – Finally, there are a range of wood siding styles to choose from. Log siding is very popular because it can last a long time with proper care. It’s usually popular in mountain houses or cottages, but it works on virtually any home. Wood shakes or shingles give you an even more rustic look and feel, and you can imitate this look using vinyl or cement if you’re on a budget. Dutch lap is another option that is very easy to combine with different siding types on the same building.
Shingle Edge in Context by Melinda Young Stuart / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Siding isn’t technically the correct term for exterior glass walls, but it’s one of the most expensive, modern, and stylish looking types of siding available. The glass walls will give your house a huge amount of sunlight in virtually any conditions, and it can be a very energy-efficient option. You can easily save on electricity costs by not having to have external lighting on during most of the day, and you can get passive heating during the winter months by harnessing the sun’s natural energy to heat the house. Glass does give you a distinct lack of privacy and it has higher cleaning requirements to it, but the never-ending window benefit can make up for it.
Windows by yrjö jyske / CC BY 2.0
Vinyl siding uses plastic sheets made out of PVC resin, and the exact formula will vary from one producer to the next. This is one of the most common types of siding used to replace traditional wooden siding in Canada and the United States. It has a long-lasting durability to it, and it is very low-maintenance. You won’t have to repaint or repair it, but you do want to occasionally pressure wash and inspect it for issues. Vinyl can’t absorb moisture, so there is no fear of it rotting. It also comes in dozens of color choices.
It was originally established in Ohio as a cost-effective replacement siding for wood or aluminum in the 1950s. There are sustainability issues to consider because plastic is an oil product, and you can’t recycle PVC as it won’t degrade in the garbage. It could also leach some chemicals, but it’s widely considered to be a better option than unsustainably harvested wood siding.
There are several types of siding and ways to install it when it comes to vinyl. Clapboard siding is one of the most popular types, and you could hear it called lap or horizontal siding. It’s been popular since Colonial times, and the idea is to try and imitate a wood texture. You install it so each board overlaps. Dutch lap vinyl siding creates a larger shadow between each plank, and this allows it to shed water very effectively.
Beaded seam vinyl siding is more luxurious than traditional vinyl siding. The planks come with a rounded notch along the bottom edge, and this makes the lines stand out. Vinyl siding can also easily imitate other types of siding like log or cedar shake. It’s also generally low-maintenance and easy to keep clean once you install it.
Siding by ntm1909 / CC BY-ND 2.0
When you look at Tudor-style houses you’ll find half-timbering. This is only considered to be a decorative effect today, and you typically use a combination of faux-timber trim with ornamental brickwork or stucco instead of bringing in heavy timbers. You apply the boards to the wall’s surface using an older structural pattern. Next, the contractor will infill walls of brick or stucco siding, but you can theoretically use any material you like.
China and Germany were two countries that historically used this half-timbering architecture style. It has slowly spread throughout the world, and it can lend a very rural and nostalgic feel to your home.
MULBERRY COTTAGE, 73, HIGH STREET, SNODLAND, ME6 5AL by John K Thorne / CC BY 2.0
Insulated types of siding are an improved version of vinyl, and it has almost all of the same benefits that you’d get with vinyl except that it uses EPS or expanded polystyrene foam as the material. You fuse the EPS onto the back of the vinyl siding to give it a much snugger fit between the home and the vinyl itself to improve the insulation.
In fact, going for this type of siding can give you up to 20% more energy savings than you’d get with the best-insulting vinyl siding available on the current market. You also get a very strong durability factor with it, and it can come with a warranty that guarantees it’ll last over 40 years from the installation date.
Prodigy Insulated Siding by Alside / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
12. Steel Log
Steel log siding is a relatively new and unique type of siding that combines the gorgeous look of natural wood with the durability of steel to create a siding that is easy to maintain, durable, and looks like real wood without having the problems you get with wooden siding. It can lend your home a nice vintage charm without worrying about upkeep.
It uses individual siding panels made out of 26 or 28-gauge steel. They have a one-inch underlayer that gives them insulation to protect your home from the elements for people who live in different planting zones or noise and additional strength. The top layer gets painted to mimic the look of wood, and there is wood grain, hewing marks, and chinks etched into each panel to make it look more authentic.
The etching allows it to keep this look year after year without it fading with elemental exposure. You install it just like you would any other siding type, and it has a relatively fast and easy installation process.
Crawford Grayling MI Rays Au Sable Canoe Livery and Fly Shoppe by Don…The UpNorth Memories Guy… Harrison / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
13. Hardie Board
Hardie board is a fiber cement-type of siding that was created in the 19702 by the founder of fiber cement, James Hardie. The brand commits itself to sustainability, and they make a point to source up to 90% of their materials from regional companies. They also use solid waste recycling technology and employ waste minimization to support Zero Landfill Initiatives.
Just like fiber cement, this siding is insect and rot-resistant. It can also withstand the ocean’s salt spray without any damage. It features 90% cement and sand in the makeup to make it very fire-resistant and safe, and most of this type of siding has a 50-year transferable, limited warranty on it. You’ll pay between $1.00 and $6.00 per square foot for the installation, and you can have it mimic the look of other siding, including cedar shingles, wooden lap boards, and wood shake siding. The color options are huge too.
Cement Board Siding by Sery Content Development MT / CC BY 2.0
Choosing an Installation Method
Once you pick out a type of siding, you’ll have to consider the installation method. The exact method will depend on the type of siding you pick out for your home. Certain siding types, especially ones that are heavier like brick or natural stone will almost always need a professional to come in and install them. You can DIY the installation process on lightweight, prefabricated materials like engineered wood or vinyl.
If you’re going to replace old siding, it’s always a good idea to go with a professional over DIYing it. A professional crew will be able to look for structural damage and repair it as they find it. Removing this damage right away reduces the need to go back in and repair it once they finish installing your new siding, and this can save you thousands of dollars. A professional team will also be able to install a moisture barrier, and this greatly reduces the moisture damage potential to your home.
How to Narrow Down Your Siding Options – Three Criteria
Since there are dozens of types of siding available, you can find it challenging to narrow down your choices to one specific material. There are several factors that will impact which type of siding you end up with, and we picked out the most common considerations below.
Each home improvement project has a budget, no matter if you’re adding on an extension, painting your home, or upgrading your siding. Since there are different house siding options available, you should know that each type has a different price tag. When you start comparing our pricing, make sure that you know your home’s square footage because you can take the cost of the siding per square foot to get a rough cost estimate. This way, you’ll know if it falls into your budget or not.
Also, consider that different types of siding offer varying returns on investment ratios. Generally speaking, the longer the siding lasts and the less maintenance it needs, the better your overall return on investment will be. Yes, it may cost more upfront, but it can pay off huge in the long run.
2. Climate and Weather
The location of your home is an excellent indicator of what type of siding will work best for your needs. Certain types of siding work better in different environments because some are much better at resisting moisture. Other siding types are rust-resistant, or they offer better insulation capabilities. Additionally, some siding is much more energy-efficient than others, and this can help save on your cooling or heating costs, depending on your location.
- Coastal Climates – Hardie board
- Cold Climates – Brick and natural stone
- Dry Climates – Stucco
- Hot Climates – Metal (steel and aluminum)
- Hurricane-Prone Climates – Fiber cement
- Wet Climates – Fiber cement
3. Maintenance Requirements
Finally, you want to consider your type of siding’s maintenance requirements. A lot of siding types will only last for their full projected lifespan if you make a point to clean it regularly by pressure washing and perform regular maintenance. Some siding is lower maintenance and only requires you to refresh it every year or two years while other siding types require yearly or semi-annual maintenance.
Vinyl siding is generally low maintenance, and you can clean it on an annual method by yourself using a brush and a cleaning solution. Wood or natural stone siding is more high maintenance. Wood siding needs to be stained or repainted on a regular basis to help protect it. If you don’t have time to maintain your new siding or the money to invest in a professional to do so, make sure that you pick out a low maintenance option to help protect your investment.
These 13 different types of siding give you the freedom to explore which popular options are available and narrow down your choices to find the best fit for your climate, budget, aesthetics, and needs. You can take a look at the ones we outlined and narrow them down using our three big criteria. In turn, you’ll get to refresh your home’s look and boost your curb appeal.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.