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Understanding the Types of Siding Understanding the Types of Siding

Understanding the Types of Siding

When you’re looking for a big boost of curb appeal to your home, you can’t go wrong with a refresh to your siding or starting out in your new home with great siding. But where do you begin? Choosing the right type of siding for your home doesn’t have to be a chore. Instead, at McCoy’s we help you understand the benefits of each type of siding so making the best choice for your home is easy.

Comparing Different Types of Siding


  • Wood: Some of the oldest types of siding in the world are wood planks or cedar shingles that are layered onto the side of a structure to provide insulation from the elements as well as an easy way to shed water from precipitation. You can paint or stain wood siding to coordinate with your home’s design, but regular upkeep is needed to keep the siding looking its best and to maintain its water repellency. Natural wood isn’t a great choice if you battle insects, birds, or lots of humidity, as it can become damaged and worn out quickly.
  • Engineered wood siding: In the category of engineered wood siding (also known as “composite wood” or “manufactured” board), you can find siding made from OSB, or oriented strand board made from zinc borate, adhesive resins, and water-resistant waxes. One type available at McCoy’s is manufactured by Louisiana-Pacific® Building Products as “LP SmartSide Trim and Siding,” and contains zinc borate, which is moisture repellent. Engineered wood can resist damage from hail or heat and comes in smooth or wood-like textures. To keep your engineered wood siding looking great for years to come, regular priming and painting is necessary.
  • Fiber cement siding: Resistant to moisture and rot, and fire resistant as well, fiber cement siding can be a practical solution for your home. Fiber cement siding is made from portland cement, sand, water, and cellulose fibers. One type of fiber cement siding is Hardie® board siding which comes in many designs and shapes to fit your home’s style, whether you want a natural cedar shingle look or a classic plank siding style. It comes in a wide variety of colors to coordinate with your existing or refreshed paint job. One benefit to fiber cement siding is its longevity. While the average lifespan of vinyl siding is 20-40 years, fiber cement siding can last up to 50 years. Note that regular painting maintenance for fiber cement siding is needed every 10-15 years or so.
  • Vinyl siding: Lightweight and somewhat long-lasting (depending on your climate and conditions, as well as the quality of the siding), vinyl siding comes in many colors and textures. If it does receive a bump from hail or storms, vinyl siding can hide some damage due to its resilient nature. Easy to install by most DIYers, vinyl siding can be mistaken for natural wood, due to its grain-texture and can even be installed over old wooden siding. When exposed to moist conditions vinyl siding resists rotting, which can be helpful in especially humid areas. In very hot climates, however, vinyl siding can become warped, requiring replacement.
  • Metal Siding: While metal siding — often manufactured from aluminum — can appear similar to wood siding at a distance, and can be durable and affordable, it may not be the best pick for areas with lots of hailstorms. It’s unlikely to be completely destroyed by a hailstorm, but it will show every ding and dent. If you choose metal siding made from steel or a corrugated metal, however, you have a durable and long-lasting material that can suit homes as well as functional outbuildings. Steel siding can also mimic wood in color and texture creating a modern industrial look that can last. In addition, metal siding is actually not going to heat up your home- it will help divert UV rays, much like metal roofs.
  • Additional types: There are other options if you really want your siding to match your home’s unique style, such as stucco, brick, and stone siding. These offer the appearance of true masonry, like a stone wall against your home’s exterior, but for a fraction of the cost (and depth). Brick siding, however, is one of the most expensive options available. While stone siding can be beautiful and have a “neutral” feel, because of its unique nature, it is costly to repair. Stucco siding can be aesthetically appropriate for homes in the Southwest, or in desert areas. It’s also practical in areas with long, hot, dry seasons with extreme sunshine. Stucco siding can be costly to purchase and apply, due to its technical installation requirements.

What to Consider When Choosing Siding


Your budget may be the first consideration when deciding which siding to pick for your home project. When you start looking at different types of siding, also note their long-term costs, too. Budget-friendly materials like aluminum may be more appealing, but they also won’t stand up to regular hail or other damage. By contrast, other types of siding like fiber cement siding are more durable and will last through many years’ worth of weather (and stray golf balls).

If environmental friendliness is important to you, you can use sustainable materials like certain types of wood for your siding. Look for certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Additionally, stucco or metal are easy to recycle, whereas engineered wood is not. Brick and rock siding are made from natural materials and are very energy efficient. Rock siding tends to be locally sourced. Both brick and rock siding, however, along with stucco siding, require a fairly labor-intensive installation process.

How Siding is Sold: Shapes and Sizes


Depending on your design and material choices for siding, you can typically find siding in several forms, such as shingles, which are applied in overlapping rows. You can also find siding panels (or boards), arranged vertically, or planks (or lap siding) arranged horizontally.

Panel siding tends to be arranged in vertical strips such as with board and batten styles on home exteriors and interiors. Board and batten style siding uses thin vertical strips of wood that cover the joints between wide boards.

You can even combine styles to use several different varieties of siding on your home, if you choose. Depending on what elements you’d like to emphasize, such as height or width of the home, or architectural styles, you can make a real splash with siding to change the face of your home.

No matter what, you can customize your siding lengths to suit your spaces, or purchase siding components that fit various parts of your home’s exterior, such as soffits, trim, and other exterior areas.

What Other Materials are Needed with Siding?


Additional materials combined with your choice of siding can help boost its longevity, as well as its energy efficiency by boosting its insulative ability. If you are using metal siding, for example, you can put new siding over existing siding, with a layer of fiber panels between new and old siding to add insulating properties.

You can also check the R-value of the siding to see the energy efficiency of your chosen siding type. An R-value notes an insulation’s effectiveness. So, a higher R-value translates into better insulating properties. Elements in your home likely already use high R-values, such as attic insulation. In colder climates, high R-value insulation is important to keep homes comfortable in the winter. In areas where temperatures are warm all year-round, considerations around moisture control and air sealing are important for health (to prevent mold and mildew) and comfort (to keep humidity inside homes lower).

Adding elements such as a quality house wrap can improve the energy efficiency of your home, keeping heat out in the summer and cold out in the winter. House wrap, common in modern home construction, operates as a moisture barrier that can protect your home from damage from precipitation as well as humidity. It’s not waterproof, however, so your house “breathes” and natural air exchange can still occur.

When you add house wrap and rigid foam insulation along with new siding, you can make significant changes in your home’s R-value, improving its energy efficiency.

McCoy's Siding Calculator


Get started by taking measurements of areas you wish to cover with siding, including exterior walls, gables, and the size of doors and windows within that space. To get an idea of how much siding it will take to cover your home, use our siding calculator.

McCoy’s Has All Your Siding Needs and Top Brands


When it comes to choosing a side on your siding decision, we don’t want you to be in a muddle. At McCoy’s we keep all your siding options straight, and we’ll help you make the best choices for your home project. Whether you’re concerned about the climate conditions, or just want to make a neighbor green with envy over your home’s great style, we’ve got your siding options covered with our experts’ advice in our stores. Come by and talk to the friendly folks at McCoy's!

Reviewed by Dewey Smith and Justin Dishman
McCoy's In-House Experts