Nothing will impact the appearance of your home more dramatically than
the exterior siding you choose. As you shop for exterior siding, look
for a siding material that suits the style of your house and also fits
your lifestyle. Choices include:
Traditional stucco is cement combined with water and inert materials such as sand and lime. Many homes built after the 1950s use a variety of synthetic materials that resemble stucco. Some synthetic stuccos have been prone to problems. However, a quality synthetic stucco will prove durable. Tint the stucco the color you want, and you may never need to paint.
Stone Veneer Siding
f you think of ancient monuments and temples, you know that stone is the most durable of all building materials. Granite, limestone, slate, and other types of stone are beautiful and nearly impervious to the weather. Unfortunately, they are also extremely expensive. Precast stone veneers and facings are more affordable. Some stone veneers look quite genuine, while others are clearly artificial. Austin Stone from Owens Corning Cultured Stone® is one respected brand of precast stone veneers.
Cement Fiber Siding
Fiber cement siding can have the appearance of wood, stucco, or masonry. This durable, natural-looking material is often called by the brand names HardiPlank® and HardiPanel®. If you want the look of authentic wood with a bit less maintenance, cement fiber is a good option. Fiber cement siding is fireproof, termite-proof, and may have a warranty up to fifty years. Some older homes have Cement Asbestos Siding made from Portland cement and asbestos fibers. Removing that type of siding can be hazardous, so remodelers often apply a new, modern siding on top.
Wood Clapboard Siding
Modern science has given us many synthetic wood-look products, and yet solid wood (usually cedar, pine, spruce, redwood, cypress, or Douglas fir) remain favorite choices for finer homes. With periodic care, wood siding will outlast vinyl and other pretenders. As with cedar shingle siding, wood clapboards can be stained rather than painted. Many wood frame houses built centuries ago still look beautiful today.
Brick and Brick Veneer Siding
Made of fired clay, brick comes in a wide variety of earthy, eye-pleasing colors. Although it is expensive, brick is desirable because it can last centuries, and probably won’t need any patching or repairs for the first twenty-five years. Quality brick veneers are also attractive and durable, although they don’t have the longevity of solid brick.
Cedar Shingle Siding
Homes sided in cedar shingles (also called “shakes”) blend beautifully with wooded landscapes. Made of natural cedar, the shingles are usually stained browns, grays, or other earthen colors. Shakes offer the natural look of real wood, but usually require less maintenance than wood clapboard. By using stain rather than paint, you can minimize peeling.
Engineered Wood Siding
Engineered wood, or composite wood, is made with wood products and other materials. Oriented strand board (OSB), hardboard, and veneered plywood are examples of engineered wood products. Engineered wood usually comes in panels that are easy and inexpensive to install. The panels may be molded to create the look of traditional clapboards. Because the textured grain is uniform, engineered wood does not look exactly like real wood. Still, the appearance is more natural than vinyl or aluminum.