While style has a big part to play in the type of siding you choose, here are some of the characteristics of the most popular materials, to help you decide what’s best for you.
Wood (clapboards, vertical tongue and groove, or board and batten) looks good, and carries an image of quality. Cedar and redwood last the longest, and you can leave them unfinished, though they may weather unevenly. If you stain or paint, you’ll need to redo it every few years. Wood may cup and warp, but back priming the wood should help. Use galvanized screw-shank nails. Galvanized ring-shank are often clogged, and they bend easier. Of the three types above, board and batten is the least expensive and easiest to install.
Shingles are similar in characteristic to wood siding. They look beautiful and last. But they’re usually a little more expensive than even clear clapboard. And they’re a lot of work — and slow — to install. It’s important to leave room for expansion.
Vinyl is popular and it’s getting better. Initially introduced as an alternative to aluminum and steel siding, vinyl suffered one of the chief drawbacks of each. It looked fake. This is changing, and quality vinyl can hold it’s own against wood. Ease of maintenance and cost are big advantages; even topline vinyl can be cheaper than clear clapboard.
Like vinyl, aluminum‘s big strength is low maintenance. It’s more expensive than vinyl, and it dents and scratches easily. But it is easier to paint, and it doesn’t shrink and expand as much as vinyl.
These are just some of the most popular. You can also explore polypropylene, plywood, hardboard and even cement.