Pros And Cons Of Exterior Siding Choices

Gone are the days when your choices of materials for home siding were limited. Now there is a wide selection of options to choose from! The decision shouldn’t made lightly. You need to make an informed decision about what will fit best with your needs and your home.

Keep reading for a list of several kinds of exterior siding and their pros and cons.


PROS: Using wood to build or make improvements on homes is the oldest material still in use. Being so quick to decompose, it is one of the most green friendly options. Additionally, you can even attempt to source wood that has been taken from sustainable forests.

As a building material it is both easy to cut and has a great natural beauty.

CONS: Wood siding can not be placed over existing materials and for attractive wood, free of knots, you could wind up paying a hefty price.

Although with proper care a wooden house can last a very long time, maintenance is very demanding on both your time and wallet.

Fiber Cement

PROS: Relatively new on the siding block, in recent years fiber cement has gained a ton of attention and won over a lot of of critics. It is a composite of cement, clay, sand, and wood pulp that can be made to look like most other siding materials.

The product does not expand or contract from the weather so paint jobs last longer. As if all this wasn’t enough, neither termites or fire can destroy it!

CONS: As great as this all sounds, it can also be very pricey. Installation requires special procedures and tools.

Engineered Wood


If you like the look of real wood, and the durability of fiber cement, but both are out of your price range, engineered wood may be a perfect choice for you. It is a mixture of wood and resin that is made for the outdoors. Similar to some of the other siding choices, engineered wood can be made to look like a ton of other materials. Borate added to it helps to keep insects away.

CONS: This building material has a pretty big downside in it’s corner. Early versions of the product had a problem with moisture, and class action lawsuits were filed. It’s also hard to speak for the newer products since they haven’t been around long enough to show how they stand the test of time.

Stone or Brick

PROS: It shouldn’t be a shock to hear, but stone and brick are both very durable. If you stop and think, it’s not a surprise to hear that both are fireproof as well. To make it even better neither requires any real upkeep.

CONS: The materials can run pretty steep, as well as installation, since a highly skilled professional is needed. Additionally, proper structural support is needed to hold the heavy weight of the brick or stone.


PROS: This is a way to not only add a new look to your home, but also a new texture! Since all of the stucco applied will be one color, similar to vinyl, you don’t have to worry about ever having to paint again.

One of the materials in the stucco used today is very hard to chip or crack, making for a durable product. Another change is the use of products to replace the cement that was used in the process. Now the production of the product is easier on CO2 emissions.

CON: You’re going to need to find a real professional, with experience in the application of stucco, since it can be really tricky work.

Aluminum Siding

PROS: Most commonly seen in homes near the coast, aluminum siding holds up well against salt and moisture in the air. Since aluminum has tons of characteristics that are great for siding, like being rot proof, corrosion resistant, and waterproof, once installed on your home, it’ll hold up for as long you want it there.

CONS: The biggest problem lies in it’s appearance. Over time, the coating on the outside of the actually metal can fade and wear away, leaving it to look old and weathered, although this can be taken care of with a fresh coat of paint.

Not quite as easy to take care of is dents or scratches of any kind, which most likely would require replacing a section.

Randy and Barbara Dunn are the owners of Dunn Construction, located in Mechanicsville Va. Dunn Construction has been providing quality exterior siding replacement for the surrounding area of Glen Allen since 1960.