The outside of your home is the first statement you make to visitors and to the people around you. Your personal taste is an important consideration if you’re choosing a siding material—sometimes people just have their heart set on, say, red brick—but each material has pros and cons.
Wood siding or shingles: This tends to be pretty environmentally friendly and can be painted or stained a variety of colours and even designs, as well as being left unfinished, although the paint and stain will need to be renewed regularly. Cheaper options like plywood can also work well, but keep in mind that some products, like composite siding, don’t last well in certain climates—they can rot and will need to be replaced before other options would.
Vinyl siding: This is often a cost-effective choice, and while it may need to be cleaned, it’s pretty low maintenance as well. It’s generally easy to install, and to replace pieces if necessary. It can warp, crack, or fade eventually, so you’ll still need to keep an eye on it. It can’t be installed over uneven surfaces like brick or stone without extensive work, though, and may not seem as attractive or as environmentally friendly as other options.
Aluminium siding: This can be more easily damaged than vinyl, with the potential to dent or rust, and potential for the paint to fade or chip. Since it generally comes in larger panels rather than single strips, it’s also harder to replace if necessary.
Fibre cement siding: A newer choice made from recycled materials, this can be a more durable alternative to wood. It’s very low maintenance, generally doesn’t need to be refinished and will hold up to weather and pests. It tends to be expensive, though.
Brick: Any type of brick or stone exterior will hold up well. The biggest worry for these tends to be the condition of the mortar, especially in climates with regular freezing and thawing, so you’ll want to keep an eye out for loose bricks. You may be able to find a more cost-effective veneer that also looks good. These will likely need professional installation.
Stucco: Stucco, like stone, will last well under a variety of conditions. You’ll need to clean it periodically, and make sure cracks get sealed in order to keep moisture out of the underlying structure. Some synthetic stucco products have been associated with severe moisture and rot problems, so houses that have used these materials should get inspected.
Depending on what you’re looking for in cost and maintenance standards as well as cosmetic appearance, there are a variety of choices that might work for you. You’ll want to weigh the characteristics of each material carefully before designing or redoing your home.