Next time you’re taking a walk through your neighborhood, play a little game with yourself and count how many homes you see with vinyl siding—you might be surprised just how many.
Vinyl siding is highly popular in the United States because it’s affordable, it’s durable, and it’s a proven way to protect homes. It also helps that it boasts an eye-catching design, similar to wooden clapboard.
However, just because it’s a favored material for so many other homeowners doesn’t mean it’s your first choice. If you’re interested in other types of siding that share the same beneficial perks as siding, read on for our top picks:
Cement board is a versatile siding option that can be painted—and it comes in a variety of textures, too. It’s easy to get the look you want—and more importantly it’s highly durable and low maintenance. Many varieties don’t have to be painted at all, and the ones that are painted will last even longer. Cement board commonly comes with a 30-year warranty—but it’s important to note that this siding is more difficult, time consuming, and costly to install than vinyl siding. That means you’ll spend more time looking for a skilled installer for the job, as well as more money to get it done.
Natural wood siding is expensive, but it’s known for being long-lasting when taken care of, and it can be painted or stained to look a number of different ways. The real benefit with natural wood is that you can continue to refinish it, so it lasts far longer than many other forms of siding ever would. Be warned though—that’s also one of the downsides of the material. If you don’t like handling regular maintenance, you may grow tired of having to redo the siding every few years to keep it looking fresh. Natural wood is also a fire hazard and it is susceptible to termites, which means you’ll have to pay for regular pest treatments if you live in an area with termite issues.
When looking for an affordable alternative to vinyl siding, engineered wood is a truly attractive option. It’s more affordable than natural wood, as well as more versatile. It comes in a variety of finishes and textures. It’s composed of a mixture of wood fibers and exterior-grade resins, which makes it termite-resistant—unlike natural wood. The new and improved engineered wood mixtures can be finished on arrival so it can be easily installed and ready to go, and they are more resistant to moisture than older variations—though if you live in a highly humid location, you probably don’t want to rely on this form of siding.
Stucco is a widely used form of siding because it’s not only cost-effective, but design-wise, it’s incredibly versatile. Pigment can be infused into the mixture to create any color you desire. It can go on smooth or have a rough, grainy texture—and some homeowners even infuse theirs with small rocks for a look known as “pebble dash” stucco.
When installed properly, stucco is durable and outlasts many other types of siding. Unfortunately, that very installation proves to be the biggest challenge—stucco often requires a skilled professional to install it successfully so that it lasts. That means that you’ll spend more on an installation—and doing it yourself is likely out of the question.
Actual stones are more trouble than they are worth, other than using in small sections of a home. Synthetic stone, however, is a much friendlier choice, since it’s much lighter than real stone—and this makes it much easier and quicker to install.
While most homeowners tend to use faux stone for accents on sections of their homes, others prefer to cover their entire homes in them. The material looks genuine, and it’s also fire and pest resistant. There are some downsides to this material though. Faux stone costs more than most other siding options—which is likely why most people only use it as an accent. And while most engineered stone is every bit as realistic looking as its authentic counterpart, there will surely be the savvy visitors in your home who know better.
If you don’t like the look of vinyl, or if you simply want to stand out from all the other homes in your neighborhood, consider these siding alternatives instead. Many are just as durable as vinyl and and some are just as affordable—and they each have their own benefits that make them a worthy choice.