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Good, Better, Best: Siding Options For Your Exterior

The exterior siding of your home influences not only how your home looks, but how it stands up to the elements. Choosing the right siding is essential to the success of any exterior home improvement project. However, choosing from the vast number of options available can quickly become overwhelming. In this article, we’ll break these exterior siding options down into good, better, and best categories.

As one of the most trusted remodelers in the Portland Metro Area, our team at Lamont Bros. has worked with nearly every type of exterior siding imaginable. Whether for home additions, full home remodels, or exterior repair projects, we’ve worked with homeowners to help them find the best type of siding for their homes. Now, we’re going to share with you what we’ve learned from our years of experience.

This article will cover several of the most popular types of exterior siding. We’ll use a good, better, and best ranking system and discuss each one’s strengths and weaknesses. The specific types of siding we’ll cover include:

Good Siding: T111, Vinyl, & Fiber Cement

When selecting entry-level siding for durability and cost-effectiveness, T111, vinyl, and fiber cement are standout choices in the “good” category. These materials offer homeowners a range of benefits suited for different needs and preferences:

T111 Panels: The Simple Solution

T111 siding, known for its straightforward installation and affordability, is a practical choice for many homeowners. It provides:

Easy Installation: T111’s straightforward application process makes it a favorite for time-sensitive projects.

Affordability: As one of the more budget-friendly siding options, it fits well within tight financial constraints.

Flexibility: Used commonly in developments and new home construction, T111 can adapt to various architectural styles, providing a basic yet functional look.

However, T111’s main challenge lies in its susceptibility to water damage. As it is made of wood, it’s more prone to rot and requires careful maintenance to prevent the need for replacement.

T111 siding is inexpensive and easy to install, but prone to water damage, as seen above.

Vinyl Siding: Durable & Versatile

Made from PVC, Vinyl is one of the most commonly used siding materials for residential construction. Many builders favor it due to its longevity and variety:

Longevity: Renowned for its durability, vinyl can withstand many years of wear and tear.

Customization: Available in multiple colors and styles, it allows homeowners to personalize their exterior aesthetics.

Maintenance: Because it is made of plastic, vinyl siding requires very little maintenance and maintains its appearance over time.

The major limitation of vinyl siding is its vulnerability to UV damage, which can cause it to become brittle or warped. This is most often a concern in areas that get a lot of sunlight throughout the year.

Fiber Cement: Strong & Stylish

Fiber cement siding is an especially durable and long-lasting siding material made from a combination of cement and wood fibers. Some advantages of fiber cement siding include:

Robustness: Many homeowners choose fiber cement due to its resistance to water, rot, and heat, offering a long-lasting siding solution.

Design Flexibility: With various styles including planks, shingles, and panels, fiber cement caters to different aesthetic preferences and can enhance the home’s appearance.

Fire Resistance: Because it is made from non-flammable materials, fiber cement exterior siding adds an extra layer of safety against fire hazards.

The main drawback of fiber cement is that it is much heavier than most other exterior siding materials due to its concrete content. As a result, installation tends to be much more difficult and costly.

Fiber cement siding is available in multiple styles, including shingle (top) and plank (bottom).

Better Siding: Engineered Smart Siding & Stucco

When upgrading from the basic options, homeowners often look for siding materials that offer an improved blend of durability, maintenance, and design flexibility. In the “better” category, engineered smart siding and stucco stand out as choices that offer improved performance and aesthetics while still maintaining a reasonable cost.

Engineered Smart Siding: Modern Efficiency

Engineered smart siding is a composite made from wood fibers stabilized in plastic, offering an innovative alternative to traditional wood siding. This option combines flexible design options with advanced resistance to environmental factors:

Manufactured Durability: This siding is designed to withstand severe weather conditions, providing a durable exterior solution. Some engineered smart siding can last up to 50 years.

Resistance to Water Damage: Thanks to the added plastics within the composite material, smart siding is more resistant to rot and mold.

Aesthetic Versatility: Offered in lap plank, shingle, and vertical panel styles, engineered smart siding presents a range of styles that can complement various architectural designs.

One consideration for engineered smart siding is its comparative lack of fire resistance, which may require additional safety measures in certain regions with frequent high temperatures.

lp smartside wood composite exterior siding
Engineered smart siding is easy to install and more durable than raw wood.

Stucco: Timeless Texture and Color

Stucco, a mixture of cement, sand, lime, and water, is prized for its textured finish and color versatility. It’s a popular choice for homes seeking a Mediterranean or Spanish aesthetic:

Customizable Finish: Stucco allows for a variety of textures and finishes that work with different architectural styles. It can also be mixed with color, eliminating the need for painting.

Lasting Durability with Care: Properly applied and maintained stucco can endure for many years, resisting the effects of sun and rain.

Energy Efficiency: The thickness and composition of stucco provide excellent insulation, contributing to more stable interior temperatures and lower heating and cooling costs.

The main challenge with stucco is its performance in wet climates, especially in areas with high humidity or frequent rainfall. Homeowners must be careful to prevent moisture intrusion, which requires constant maintenance.

Stucco is stylish and a great insulator, but typically performs poorly in wet climates if not properly maintained.

Best Siding: Wood, Metal, Stone, & Brick

For those seeking the pinnacle of durability, energy efficiency, and aesthetic diversity in siding materials, wood, metal, stone or brick are the best choices. These materials not only elevate the exterior appearance of your home but also offer significant long-term benefits.

Wood Siding: Naturally Elegant

Wood siding, most often in the form of cedar plank or shakes, is celebrated for its classic beauty and versatility:

Natural Beauty: The natural aesthetic of wood offers a timeless appeal with a variety of styles and finishes.

Energy Efficiency: Due to its low heat conductivity, wood also provides excellent natural insulation, contributing to reduced energy costs.

Durability: With proper care, wood siding can resist rot and wear, lasting for decades. Cedar is commonly used in coastal regions due to its resistance to fungus and rot.

Maintenance is the main consideration, as wood requires regular treatments to maintain its condition and appearance. Even with proper maintenance, most wood siding will grey over time and lose some of its original color.

cedar shakes
Cedar siding performs well in coastal climates but will grey and lose color over time.

Metal Siding: Sleek and Low Maintenance

Metal siding, known for its modern look and minimal upkeep, brings a few advantages as an exterior siding choice.

Versatile Designs: While metal siding is commonly used in more modern architecture, it is available in a wide range of styles and finishes that can match traditional home styles.

Durability: Metal is resistant to fire, rot, and insect damage, ensuring longevity.

Low Maintenance: Unlike wood, metal siding needs little care to keep its appearance over time.

The primary drawback of metal siding is its potential for poor heat and sound insulation, which may be a consideration in noisy environments and areas with wide temperature fluctuations.

Luxury steel siding by Quality Edge

Stone or Brick Siding: Timeless and Sturdy

Stone or brick siding offers classic exterior styles paired with unmatched durability. Although significantly more expensive to purchase and install, few siding options offer a more distinguished look.

Aesthetic Appeal: Stone and brick both add a luxurious and timeless appearance to any home exterior.

Longevity: These options are also among the most durable siding materials, capable of lasting for centuries.

Maintenance: Because of their strength and natural properties, stone and brick require minimal upkeep, though occasional cleaning or mortar repair may be necessary.

Installation and material costs for stone or brick are substantially higher than those of other exterior siding options. However, the cost of the initial investment is typically offset by the siding’s lifespan and the value it adds to your property.

Stone and brick can add elegance and refinement to a home, but at a much higher cost than other siding options.

Want More Inspiration for Your Remodel?

By this point, you should have a stronger understanding of the exterior siding options available to you in the categories of good, better, and best. Now, do you have a better idea of which one is best for your home? If so, continue your remodeling journey by visiting our Work Portfolio to gather inspiration from past projects as you plan your remodel.

Still considering your options and want to discuss your remodeling plans with a professional? If so, click the button below to schedule a free design consultation with a member of our team. We’ll help you navigate the remodeling process step by step, so you never have to face the challenges of remodeling alone.