Guide to Exterior Siding Options

Vinyl Siding Home Improvement

For homeowners who want to give their home's exterior a "magical makeover", opting for an alternative or upgraded siding can often provide just the boost needed to make the home look and feel new. In today's marketplace, there are several options to choose from, and each option offers its own unique characteristics and needs. Here, we will delve into some popular exterior siding options.


Due to its beauty and undeniable natural charm, wood siding has been a popular siding choice for many years. Wood is available in such a vast number of grades, finishes and species that no two wood exterior renovations will look exactly alike. Less expensive grades of wood work well if the homeowner intends to use an opaque stain or regular paint for finishing. By contrast, semi transparent stains are developed to highlight the wood's grain; therefore, a more expensive grade of wood is desirable in this scenario.

Wood is considered a highly sustainable raw material, and is often used in green building projects. It can also last for multiple generations with, of course, proper maintenance. The general rule of thumb: Semi transparent stains should be reapplied once every three years, while a new coat of paint should be applied in five year increments.

Wood ShavingsEngineered Wood

Created with exterior resins and wood fibers, engineered wood is built to give the appearance of natural wood siding along with exceptional durability. Available in a number of styles and textures, engineered wood is usually available in both factory finishes and in ready to paint shingles.

Engineered wood is easy to work with and is marketed as a cheaper alternative to the real thing. However, when it was initially introduced in the market, moisture problems created a number of complaints among early adopters. These early challenges have now been corrected.


The beauty and durability of stucco siding has long made it a favorite building material among contractors and homeowners alike. The beautiful, organic colors and finish associated with stucco generally does not need to be repainted. Further, stucco is both fire and pest resistant.

Stucco requires a great deal of prep work and should only be attempted by well trained and highly skilled contractors. Well maintained stucco siding can last for a lifetime.

Synthetic Stone

Made from a unique mixture of sand, cement and aggregate, synthetic stone can be formed to look like a number of natural stone sidings including limestone and granite. Synthetic stone is used most often as an accent material, rather than as siding covering the entire exterior.

Synthetic stone is lightweight and marketed as a less expensive alternative to genuine stone sidings. However, critics assert that synthetic stone does not mimic the original well.

Fiber Cement

Made to look like real wood, fiber cement has quickly earned a stellar reputation for stability and very low maintenance. Fiber cement is manufactured using clay, sand, wood pulp and cement. Interestingly enough, it can also be crafted to look like stucco, brick masonry, shingles and wooden clapboard.

One of the most remarkable features of fiber cement is its ability to resist the expanding and contracting commonly associated with real wood. Those changes in either temperature or humidity does not cause the material to move, and exterior paints tend to adhere to fiber cement very well.

Drawbacks of using fiber cement include its weight (it is a rather heavy material) and the fact that special tools are needed to install it. Only contractors specially trained to install fiber cement should attempt to use this material for your next remodeling project.

The typical manufacturer's warranty for fiber cement is a 30 year warranty, and the material is both termite proof and fire resistant.

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Wallboard Supply Company is a third generation, family run business that has been serving New England's building needs since 1970. Bob Filion started the company with a commitment to provide quality drywall and finishing products with unmatched customer service. The company has grown over the years, expanding its' product range, but never wavering from its' core values.