All Siding Materials & Exterior Cladding Compared

Siding replacement materials vary in numerous ways. We will cover various styles and offer the pros and cons of the most common siding materials that meet today’s building standards. 

We will summarize some critical elements, best usage, and benefits of fiber cement, metal, and wood siding.

Siding Material Options

When choosing siding replacement options, the predominant consideration is future maintenance. Contrary to what most believe, maintenance is not the same as durability. 

Maintenance is more along the lines of cost of ownership. Tasks such as painting are considered maintenance. On the other hand, durability is a measure of longevity. How long will the materials last before requiring replacement? 


Often overlooked, your region is critical to how long siding will last. While vinyl siding is the most water-resistant, it is prone to warp in extreme temperatures. It’s widely known that cedarwood siding resists insects well; however, it cracks under dry conditions. Composite siding is the new norm, but some products emit silica dust and contain benzene and formaldehyde. 

So, the carbon footprint and region are critical factors when determining the optimal siding material.

#1) Cement Siding Options


Fiber cement siding, such as JamesHardie is a well-rounded option that increases home value and exterior durability. Some profiles resemble wood textures, and other options are available to mimic almost any new or existing design. 

All fiber cement siding comprises Portland cement, cellulose, water, and other proprietary ingredients. 

Cutting requires a respirator, and all cut edges should be primed. Here is an Allura siding installation guide for complete details

Natural stone is a highly formidable exterior wall protection option. Although the price of stone materials has deterred most, it remains a highly regarded option. 


Natural stone will retain cooler air while keeping most exterior hot air out. Natural stone ranks very high for efficiency and offers improved blow door scores that meet passive house standards.

Stone and sand continue to become increasingly scarce as global demands increase. The price of the stone will largely depend on the type of stone as well. 

Stucco is another sand, water, and cement mixture that offers a sealed and uniform look. Although the price of stucco ranges, most think of stucco failures before the price. 

Stucco is perfect for modern and commercial applications. There are several stucco finishes, and Lahabra is among the best. When installed correctly, premium stucco products can last up to 80 years.

Stone veneer siding is a cost-effective option to obtain the natural stone look without the additional expense. Stone veneer is offered in several colors and provides a wide range of easy installations. But be cautious; some stone veneer siding installations are prone to holding water, resulting in water damage. 


Although premium stone veneers appear natural, like real stone, and can last long, a keen eye can detect the difference in cheaper offers. We recommend Tuscany natural thin stone for premium installs.

Brick veneer is thinner than traditional brick. Since brick veneer contains less material, it is less expensive, too. This more delicate brick form is not a structural part of the home.


Another drawback to thinner brick is water permeation. Since water passes through the brick at a higher rate, installation requires it off the wall, allowing a gap for airflow and moisture to shed.

Outside of being more delicate and not reinforcing the home, its appearance resembles a solid brick structure.

Solid brick has remained highly regarded for several reasons. Brick breathes well and conducts heat better than any other clay/cement-based material, requiring virtually no maintenance. 

Solid brick will also keep cool air inside. Brick materials optimize the efficiency of your home, maintaining heat or cooler temperatures when needed.

Its breathability, added structural strength and paintable surface make brick a choice that cannot be debated outside of cost.

#2 Wood Siding Options

Wood siding is flexible to install and delivers an undeniably natural curb appeal. Depending on the wood type and style, it balances cost and maintenance exceptionally well.

A consideration is that wood siding does not hold heat or cool air. So, a completely sealed housewrap and premium exterior wall sheathing significantly affect home efficiency for wood siding applications. 

Tyvek offers several house wrap types and is among the leading brands.

Hardboard siding had its claim to fame due to its lower cost and ease of installation. Its demise is cheaper manufacturing and face-nailing during siding installation.  

Since glue and resin keep the wood fibers together, it has medium resistance to insects when new. But over time, we all know this siding has delaminated and degraded and has since been phased out of most siding manufacturing and installations – for a good reason. 

LP continues to re-introduce various forms of OBS siding. LP SmartSide has large wood strands that improve siding rigidity. Aspen wood strands are treated with zinc borate for increased moisture and insect resistance. This wood siding provides an additional siding offering at a competitive price.


More evolutionary than revolutionary, this siding option requires priming all cut edges and is offered in prefinished colors.

Wood clapboard remains a timeless and enduring style of natural wood siding. Although clapboard costs significantly more than its composite counterparts, its naturally thick dimensions add an unmistakable siding reveal. 


The thickness of the board measures 1/2 inch or better and offers the most substantial structural rigidity of any wood siding style. A beveled profile also tightens the siding, allowing minimal gaps and minimizing unnecessary airflow.

Redwood & cedar siding balance versatility and durability better than any other wood siding. There are several species of both kinds of wood, and the type will heavily influence costs.

Although not considered hardwoods per se”, various wood species vary in wood density. But don’t let this mislead you; these natural woods are enduring.

Cedar shingles add texture and come in a rough or smoother finish. Outside of the cost of materials, siding installation takes longer for shingle-style siding. Tedious layouts increase labor costs, further exacerbating the cost of installation.


Since cedar is known for insect repealing, anti-fungal, and has some insulation properties, it remains a top choice for the naturally inspired appeal. 

Board and Batten siding is the one we saved for last. Board and batten is our favorite style of siding for numerous reasons. First, it seals the exterior walls very well. It is also a timeless look that adds a sense of elegance both modern and traditional enthusiasts seek. 

Each wall must be measured and calculated to optimize the symmetry of the wall space. Due to its added labor and time to sort layouts, board and batten siding is the most expensive style to install.

Batten separations vary from 12 to 24 inches. Board and batten siding is available in fiber cement, wood, or vinyl. 

#3) Vinyl & Composite Style Siding

Everlast Siding is the best vinyl siding on the market, which is why we feature it first on this list. Most notably, Everlast Siding is thicker than any other vinyl siding offering. It also contains polymeric resin and granular stone, a blend that no other siding has. 

A reference to vinyl siding miscategorizes Everlast Siding since it is ahead of anything related, although we often fall victim.

Most people view or consider plastic-style siding as a cost saver. But this premium siding is undoubtedly in a league of its own and is a siding replacement option worth serious consideration. 

Composite siding is unique and has not caught on in every market. While it doesn’t mold and is impervious to insects, it does scratch somewhat easily. 

Some composite manufacturers recognize the potential issues and offer repair kits that are relatively easy to use. Some composite siding options are also biodegradable and made from recycled materials. 

Vinyl siding is the most affordable siding available. Vinyl siding installation is easy and lightweight, making it a favorite for production-based siding in cost-effective new construction applications. 


Extreme or continual exposure to heat is a nemesis to vinyl siding.

Although it scratches easily and requires complete runs to be replaced to repair, vinyl siding has advantages outside of cost. 

Vinyl is the most impervious to moisture but also requires frequent pressure washing. 

Insulated vinyl offers improved R-ratings, which increases home efficiency. Outside of efficiency improvements, insulated vinyl siding suffers from the same shortcomings as regular vinyl siding.

Installing insulated vinyl should only be performed by certified installers who understand and abide by insulated vinyl’s best installation practices. Insulated vinyl siding leaks can cause severe damage to the structure of your home. 

#4) Preformed Metal Siding

Metal siding has the lowest carbon footprint of any siding. Metal siding also reflects light and heat, although it can be hot to the touch. Additionally, corrugated metal siding retains indoor heat exceptionally well. 


When air-tight, insect, fire, and wind-resistant are considered, nothing is more resilient than metal siding. 

Premium metal siding offerings have lifetime guarantees and deliver a modern industrial look that is simplistic yet robust. 

Aluminum siding is not as widely used as in previous years. A comparable vinyl option has widely replaced aluminum siding due to aesthetics and noise reduction.  


Aside from noise and looks, aluminum siding also dents relatively easily, and cheaper versions are more prone to corrosion.

Steel siding is typical in commercial applications, and recycled options offer cost savings, making it appealing. Protective coatings that limit rust, corrosion, and peeling paint are available. 

Premium screws and fasteners also help mitigate premature oxidation. Like other metal cladding, steel siding can be noisy due to expansion and contraction during storms. However, steel is much harder to dent than aluminum. 

Finally, seamless steel siding is the most efficient metal siding and the top contender for efficiency among all siding types. Seamless steel costs can be heavy, but considering the added features, it’s not too bad. 


Your structure, commercial building, or home will be completely sealed using seamless steel. Seamless steel has a vinyl coating foam insulation, and the only seams are at the corners of each wall. It is the quietest, most efficient, and most durable metal siding. 

Siding Replacement & Options Takeaway

There are several exterior cladding options that all cost and perform differently. Premium siding options and professional installations will require lower maintenance costs. Understanding the benefits of each option is critical to creating realistic expectations. 

Let’s ramp up your home’s curb appeal, making it the envy of the street! Contact us if you need help selecting the best siding for your specific climate zone.

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