The Pros and Cons of Different House Siding

Rochel Maday
Written by Rochel Maday
Updated October 18, 2021
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Choosing the best type of siding for your home comes down to budget and style preferences

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Your home's siding is its first layer of defense against the elements. But finding an affordable option that looks good and lasts a long time can cause a headache. Once you understand house siding types’ pros and cons, you’ll be better prepared to make a decision that matches your budget and individual needs.

Narrowing down your siding options can be overwhelming. But stick around as we explore the upsides and downsides of several different types of house sidings. By the end, you’ll have a clearer picture of which material and style is best for your home.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl is one of the most popular types of house siding. It’s affordable and available in a variety of colors to match your home’s style. But what are its drawbacks, if any?

Pros of Vinyl Siding

Affordable

Compared to other types of siding, vinyl is one of the most affordable on the market.

Low Maintenance

While other types of siding need routine maintenance, vinyl siding requires very little. Keep it clean to avoid mold and mildew, and you’re pretty much good to go.

Easy to Install

While it’s still a job for a professional, installing vinyl siding is simple. Its relatively easy installation can cut down on labor costs.

Cons of Vinyl Siding

Seams

If you’re a stickler for seamlessness, vinyl siding may not be for you. The length of vinyl siding means planks rarely line up. This leads to visible seams in your siding.

Cracks

Storms that pack strong winds can damage siding; tree branches or other debris can crack it. So can a stray ball from the neighbor’s yard or a hidden rock flung from the lawnmower. The good news is that you can replace damaged siding.

Wood

Wood is another popular material choice for siding; you can stain or paint wood to nearly any shade, making it a versatile siding option. You can even char some softwood, like cedar, to create shou sugi ban siding.

Pros of Wood Siding

Environmentally-Friendly

Wood imparts minimal environmental impact. It’s biodegradable, renewable, and does not emit pollutants during the manufacturing process.

Improves Resale Value

If you’re choosing between vinyl and wood siding, wood is more likely to give your home a boost in resale value.

Transformative

Wood siding can update an older home or pack character into a new build. Choose from a variety of wood species, colors, and cut styles.

Cons of Wood Siding

Requires Maintenance

 Close up of hand staining wood shingles with brush
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Wood siding upkeep requires time and a larger budget compared to other materials. Wood siding needs to be stained or painted every two to five years to prevent damage.

Vulnerable

Because wood is a natural material choice, it has a lot of natural enemies as well. Between termites, carpenter ants, and woodpeckers, your wood siding can take a beating.

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement siding detail
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A mix of clay, cement, sand, and wood pulp comprises fiber cement. It can be molded to look like a variety of materials, including wood clapboard and masonry. But it’s not for everyone.

Pros of Fiber Cement Siding

Durable

Fiber cement is one of the most durable siding materials. It resists contracting and expanding with temperature changes, so wear and tear is minimal.

Minimal Maintenance

Upkeep and repairs are rare with fiber cement. It’s termite-resistant and doesn’t rot.

Cons of Fiber Cement Siding

Difficult to Install

Professionals must install fiber cement. It’s a heavy material that requires special installation tools and plenty of experience. It may also cost more to install because the boards are shorter, making labor take longer.

Stucco

Exterior view of stucco suburb house
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Stucco is similar to fiber cement. It’s low maintenance and resistant to fire and termites. But it still has a few drawbacks.

Pros of Stucco

Durable

Like fiber cement, stucco can stand up to weather and accidents.

Enhances Curb Appeal

Stucco is available in any color so that you can match it perfectly to your taste. Pros can also decoratively mold it to enhance your home’s exterior and curb appeal.

Cons of Stucco

Cracking

Stucco responds to temperature changes and humidity. This means that it can start to crack over time as it expands and contracts.

Veneer Siding

Exterior view of stone veneer siding house
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Homeowners who want the look of the real thing without the high price tag can consider veneer siding. The most common types are brick and stone. They have similar advantages and drawbacks.

Pros of Veneer Siding

Affordable

Though more expensive than vinyl siding, both brick and stone veneer are less expensive options than traditional brick or stone exteriors.

Minimal Maintenance

There’s no staining or painting to worry about with veneer siding. Despite needing little to no upkeep, it’s incredibly durable. Brick veneer can last as long as 50 years, while stone veneer often guarantees 30 years of beautiful and efficient protection for your home.

Cons of Veneer Siding

Moisture

Both brick and stone veneer siding can suffer moisture issues. Earthquakes or even vibrations from heavy traffic can lead to cracks in the mortar. Moisture that leaks behind veneer can eventually cause cracking.

Which Type of House Siding Is Best? 5 Factors to Consider

Cost

Vinyl siding is the most affordable type of siding. At an average cost of $4 a square foot, replacing or redoing vinyl siding on a home doesn’t grow out of control quickly. Here’s a chart breaking down the average cost of different siding types.

Type of Siding and Average Cost per Square Foot

  • Vinyl: $3 to $7

  • Wood: $5 to $10

  • Fiber Cement: $5 to $9

  • Stucco: $9 to $12

  • Brick Veneer: $3 to $10

  • Stone Veneer: $10 to $15

Most affordable: vinyl

Environmental Impact

If you want to make sure your siding has minimal impact on the environment, there’s only one choice to consider: wood. Wood siding is natural, recyclable, and considered a renewable resource.

Most environmentally-friendly: wood

Versatility

Just about every type of siding offers different color and style options. But some, like stone veneer and stucco, aren’t as easy to modify down the road. Vinyl comes in plenty of different colors but doesn’t always take new paint. Wood siding comes in various sizes and textures, all of which can be stained or painted a different color later on.

Most versatile siding: wood

Durability

Vinyl and wood are the least durable as they can dent, chip, or break from strong winds or debris. Fiber cement and stucco are more resistant to nature and even serious catastrophes like fire. But when it comes to finding a siding that will last for decades, brick and stone veneer options are the clear winners.

Strongest siding: brick or stone veneer

Maintenance

Some types of siding require maintenance every few years, like wood. Power washing and restaining wood siding can cost between $700 and $2,200. You’ll sometimes need to wash vinyl, while stucco and fiber cement may need patching from time to time. Brick and stone veneer are incredibly durable and just need a thorough inspection from time to time for cracks or damage.

Easiest to maintain: vinyl siding

What Type of Siding Is Right for You?

Now that you’ve explored multiple house siding types pros and cons, does one stick out more than the others? There’s no right or wrong choice. It simply comes down to your budget, style preferences, and durability needs.

Once you do decide, make sure you have a professional siding installation company handle the job so you can enjoy your siding and investment for years to come.

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