SAB Pick:

5 ways to choose siding material

Siding material determines your home’s exterior aesthetic. Follow these steps to find the right siding material for your home.

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Be bold and select a red color for your siding, no matter what siding material you choose. Photo by swisscan on Flickr.  Your home’s siding material is one of the most important decisions for the home. The way your home looks and holds up over time influences maintenance costs, how other's value it, and how much you enjoy it.

Your options include vinyl, fiber cement, stucco, wood, brick, and a few other less common materials. The wrong choice will hurt the value of your home in the long run. Every material has legitimate benefits, so the best choice depends on your home, needs and tastes.

Consider price, durability, style and aesthetics, regional weather, and frequency of maintenance when choosing siding material. Evaluate these factors for each material in the context of your needs by answering the following questions.

Estimate what siding material you can afford. Get free quotes from siding contractors first. Photo by photosteve101 on Flickr. 1. What is your siding budget?

Siding materials range in price. They can run as low as $182 for 100 square feet — a 10’X10’ area called a “square” — for the most affordable vinyl to over $1,000 per square for brick.

Figure out what you can afford and use that to start narrowing down your options. If there’s room in your budget later, you can change your mind. You might even find a more expensive material is necessary. But it makes things easier to have fewer choices to start.

Speak with several siding contractors for free quotes on different siding materials and advice on siding styles in your area and for your home.

Extreme weather conditions can affect siding materials. Photo by John Carleton on Flickr.2. What is your weather like?

Siding’s two main purposes are to protect your home from the elements and make it look good. The more extreme your weather, the more you have to factor it into your decision.

For example, vinyl siding may break or crack by extreme heat or cold, more so than stone or brick. Though vinyl siding is much more weather resistant than 15 years ago due to technological advances.

Fiber cement, on the other hand, was engineered specifically to withstand harsh weather. Brick is incredibly durable in the face of strong weather, but not as durable for California homes that experience seismic activity.

The more concerned you are with weather damage, the more limited your siding material options.

How often will you need to clean your new siding material? Photo by Alan Cleaver on Flickr.3. What is your tolerance for siding maintenance and maintenance costs?

All siding materials wear over time. Some require more maintenance than others. Classic wood requires seasonal maintenance, for example, and the repairs have to be done by an expert. However, they tend to be relatively inexpensive.

Vinyl, like fiber cement and brick, requires less maintenance. Regular weather doesn’t wear on it very much. You can just rinse it off with a hose once a season. If there is serious damage from wind or hail, you have to replace the entire vinyl panel.

Each material has its own wear and maintenance profile. Know what you can afford, and how much energy you’re willing to spend on repairs.

Vinyl siding brings in a 78% return on investment. Receive a free siding review and quote from a contractor!

This home mixes wood shingles with stucco. Photo by j l t on Flickr.4. What siding styles are most common in your area?

Different siding materials are more popular in different regions due to historical preferences and climate. Consider what types of siding are most popular in your area and for your style of home, even if you want to be unique.

The right siding material for your home’s property value is probably a popular regional choice. However, if you prefer say a stone veneer in New England where brick and cedar are specially popular, evaluate the benefits and downsides of the material.

In the end, it is your home. You should be pleased with the way it looks, especially if you plan on aging in place.

An example of stucco siding in yellow. Photo by Dystopos on Flickr.5. What materials and aesthetics match your tastes and other plans for the home?

Choose a siding material you like and that matches the style of your home. Don’t feel stuck applying materials in the conventional way.

Stucco doesn’t have to be whitewashed, for instance. Vinyl can simulate a range of materials in a number of colors.

You should, however, think within the context of your home’s other design elements. A large, French style Southern home looks sharp with brick. Affordable siding alternatives should mimic the aesthetics of brick closely, assuming maintaining stylistic consistency is important to you.


Finding information about the pros and cons of various home siding materials is easy. Answering these questions helps with the difficult part: figuring out how to choose between them. Consult with a siding contractor first to help you narrow down your options.

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Photo credit: 1. swisscan, 2. photosteve101, 3. John Carleton, 4. Alan Cleaver, 5. j l t, 6. Dystopos. All photos via Compfight CC.