How To Choose – Fiber Cement, Engineered Wood, Vinyl, or Cedar [SIDING]

May 5th, 20131 Comment


Years of experience with new construction and renovations of all sizes have given Outer Banks Renovation & Construction an advantageous position to help homeowners pick the best siding option for their needs. Below you’ll find a brief comparison between (click to read more):

James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding


The current darling of the siding industry, fiber cement has earned a reputation for stability and low maintenance. It’s made from a mix of wood pulp, cement, clay and sand, and it can be molded to mimic wood clapboard, shingles, stucco and masonry. It readily accepts paint, and most manufacturers offer an array of factory-applied finishes.

Upside: Fiber-cement siding resists expanding and contracting with changes in humidity and temperature, so caulk and paint really hold up. It’s fire-resistant, termite-proof and it won’t rot. A 30-year warranty is the norm.

Downside: Remodels or renovations mean completely removing the old siding, adding additional cost to the overall project

Green meter: It’s extremely durable and has a long replacement cycle, which scores points for sustainability.

LP Smartside Engineered Wood Siding


Engineered wood siding is made of wood fibers and exterior-grade resins. It’s tough, strong and can stand up to extreme weather conditions. It comes in a variety of styles and textures, including beaded lap, rough-sawn clapboard and look-alike wood shingles. It comes ready-to-paint, primed or with factory finishes.
Engineered wood siding positions itself as a cheaper alternative to fiber cement and real wood, but with similar durability. Some brands provide 50-year warranties.

Upside: Easy to work, with no harmful dust. Borate compounds added to the mixture make engineered wood siding impervious to insects. It’s half the cost of real wood siding.

Downside: Although now backed by serious R&D and warranties, early versions of engineered wood siding experienced failures due to moisture problems. With those problems addressed, newer varieties are proving themselves in the field and living up to the challenge.

Green meter: Binders are low-VOC. Manufacturing uses entire trees and select wood scrap so that production waste is minimal.

White or Red Cedar Shingles


Few building materials have the natural charm and beauty of white or red shingle siding. Prized for its warmth and workability, shingle siding is the choice for any premium renovation project.

Cedar shingle siding is a very resilient time tested product for the exterior. Because of the natural oils in cedar, it won’t rot nor deteriorate against the elements. Cedar shingle siding has been used a lot for areas that can have harsh weather, such as the Outer Banks, because of it’s toughness. For a rustic exterior look nothing compares to cedar shingle siding.

Upside: Cedar shingles are easy to cut and shape, and can be installed by skilled professionals with relative ease. It’s a great-looking material prized by architects, designers and homeowners for its natural beauty.

Downside: Diligent maintenance can add to the overall cost. That’s why painting and staining are not recommended or required. Retrofitting with wood siding requires removing existing siding materials.

Green meter: Wood siding is considered a highly sustainable material that breaks down easily in landfills. The best grades are made from old-growth timber. To relieve the pressure on old-growth forests, choose wood siding that’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as being harvested from sustainable forests.

Mastic Vinyl Siding


Vinyl siding is tough and comes in a boatload of colors and textures. Because the color is throughout the material, nicks and scratches don’t show up. Sophisticated manufacturing techniques create products that do a surprisingly fine job of mimicking wood-grain lap siding, wood shingles and even stone.

Vinyl siding is lightweight and, in many instances, can be installed directly over existing materials, so it’s a good retrofit option. Because it’s easy to handle, vinyl installation can be installed quickly, saving labor costs.

Upside: The material requires little or no maintenance, and dirt simply washes off. Never needs repainting. Vinyl has relatively low cost compared to other siding materials. The best brands offer transferable lifetime warranties.

Downside: Because the standard panels are 12 feet long, the ends of the panels must be overlapped, creating noticeable seams.

Green meter: The same stuff that makes vinyl so tough — polyvinyl chloride or PVC — lasts for decades (if not centuries) in landfills.

We’re Here to Help!

Call today for your FREE estimate and we’ll be happy to help you find the best fit. Ask us about the great deals we have on siding, as well as home and window trim options!

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