Wood is generally considered to be the best material for siding due to its homely and natural appearance.

Redwood and Western red cedar are commonly considered to be the best types of wood for exterior wood siding. This is because they are known to offer an appealing look that can last for long periods of time of up to 100 years if well maintained. Cypress, Oak and Pine are however also used for siding.

Wood siding maintenance is usually done in terms of chalking, painting and staining. These methods are known to prevent such exteriors from extensive climatic damage as well as wood-boring insects which can eat into your siding.

Which wood siding lasts the longest?

Wood TypeLifespanAvg. cost per sq. ft.
Cypress15 - 40 Years$7.95 - $12.95
Cedar15 - 30 Years$6 - $12
Redwood25 - 35 Years$4 - $14
Pine10 - 15 Years$1 - $5
Oak25 - 50 Years$5 - $10
Engineered Wood20 - 30 Years$2.5 - $6
Average25 Years$5 - $10

Winner: Cedar siding

Cedar takes the top spot due to it’s great look, decent longevity and reasonable price as compared to other options. It is not the cheapest when compared to Pine or Engineered wood, but the curb appeal makes up for the extra price.

 

Pros

Visual Appeal

The Cedar’s visual appeal is based on its ability to increase in beauty over time. The wide variety of styles, shapes and sizes it can be cut in also enables it to offer an outer external flair that other sliding forms struggle to emulate.

Architectural Flexibility

Cedar is extremely suitable for homes that require thermal and sound insulation. It can also be used to construct green homes due to its entirely biodegradable nature.
The simplicity of its installation also adds to its flexibility by making it suitable for both do-it-yourself projects and almost all architectural styles.

 

Cons

Biodegradable
The biodegradable nature of Cedar also acts as a disadvantage since it makes it more prone to rotting and damage by insects than other siding alternatives.

Flammability

Untreated Cedar may be extremely dangerous for houses that are periodically exposed to fire.

Runner up 1: Cypress siding

It was a tough choice between cypress and cedar for the top spot as they are close on price and lifespan, but the cedar look is a little more popular in general and will help with the resale value of your home. Nonetheless, Cypress is a great siding choice.

Pros

Durability

Cypress siding is known to last for long periods of time of between 15 to 40 years. This is because it is usually able to withstand challenges such as fungal infections and insect infestation which generally affect other types of wood.

It also contains a protective oil otherwise known as Cypressene which is able to protect it from the aforementioned threats for long periods of time.

Weather Resistant

Cypress siding is often used for houses and buildings located along the coastline. This is majorly because it is widely known to be able to resist weather patterns for long periods of time.

Cons

Fading

Cypress siding has a tendency to fade after being exposed to different weather patterns over long periods of time. This limits its suitability as far as external appeal and appearance are concerned.

Cracking

Cracking usually takes place on Cypress siding especially in cases where a sealant has not been applied for long periods of time. This in turn means that Cypress siding needs to be periodically maintained through sealant application.

Runner up 2: Oak siding

Another contender for the top spot due to it’s longevity and low cost, but Cedar edges out oak with overall style and curb appeal.

 

Pros

Eco-friendly

Durable oak can be reused in different projects whereas decomposed oak may be used as manure.

 

Cons

Prone to Rotting

It is biodegradable and can therefore quickly rot if not well-maintained through sealing.

Honorable mention: Redwood siding

Redwood is a bit of an acquired taste and not for everyone. It is a great choice if you want to make a statement or even just for a feature like in the entrance or a single wall.

Pros

Long-lasting

This quality makes Redwood one of the best long-lasting wood siding alternatives. This is because it enables it to maintain its structure and joints without any curving distortions.

Aesthetic Quality

Redwood is commonly known to provide a visually attractive exterior finish that can be able to last for about 25 to 35 years without too much maintenance.

This is because of the tiny amounts of pitch it possesses unlike the large quantities of resins found in other alternatives.

Cons

Cost

Redwood normally costs about 2 to 3 dollars more per square foot than other wood siding alternatives. This is largely due to its limited availability and high demand.

Maintenance

The initial cost of Redwood is most likely to increase in the long term since it requires periodic sealant application to prevent mold growth and retail visual appeal

Budget option: Pine wood siding

It’s hard to go past pine for the budget option as it is the go-to timber for most building works and furniture these days. Another benefit is its light color which can be stained to whichever look you are after. The downside is the stain will fade over time and need to be reapplied.

Pros

Cost-Effective

Pine is generally considered as cheaper to either Redwood or Cedar.

Quality Finish

Pine is known to produce a great finish especially when horizontally painted or stained.

Cons

Structural Distortion

Pine can easily bend and crack especially when exposed to adverse weather conditions over time.

Prone to Rotting

Pine is normally prone to rotting which means that it must be regularly maintained through sealing.

Long Lasting: Engineered wood siding

This is a great alternative to real timber as it lasts longer than regular timber and requires little to no maintenance.

Pros

Cost-effective

Engineered wood is generally cheaper when compared to natural wood.

Natural Look

Engineered wood often retains the natural wooden look despite going through artificial processes.

Zero maintenance

There is no need to seal engineered timber. It is good to go for the lifetime of the product. There is also no chance of termites or other bug infestation.

Cons

Fading

Engineered wood is largely susceptible to fading when exposed to dynamic weather cycles over long periods of time.

Environmentally Unfriendly

The binding substances which are normally found within this type of wood are largely non-biodegradable.

What is thermally modified wood siding?

Thermally modified wood siding is usually altered through an oxygen deficient eating process otherwise known as pyrolysis. It is normally more durable for external use after this process when compared to raw wood.

Rot, insect and water resistance are among the greatest advantages of thermally modified wood. Its chemical-free nature coupled with structural stability and relative lightness also make it a suitable alternative for exterior siding.

Its major disadvantages include minimal curving strength and color darkening both of which also result from the heating process. Sunlight exposure may also turn it into a rather dull grey color especially in cases where it has not been well-finished.

What is engineered wood siding?

Engineered wood siding is basically composite modified wood. In other words, it is manufactured by combining a variety of fiber and wood strands with a view of coming up with a type of siding that is both cheaper and stronger than available alternatives.

Its major advantages include greater mold and insect resistance when compared to natural wood. It also has immense dimensional strength as far as stability is concerned which means that it can be able to withstand numerous adverse weather cycles without getting warped.

It can however lose visual appeal over time as a result of fading. It can also crack over time thereby enabling moisture to get into its structure.

What is engineered wood siding

Siding style

The following are the various siding styles:

Lap siding

Lap or shiplap siding generally refers to the horizontal installation of planks in such a way that the upper plank overlaps the one immediately below it. Shiplap can also be installed vertically.

Tongue and groove siding

This type of siding typically fits planks together by matching their edges. It is normally used when looking to strongly join two flat planks together to form one flat surface.

Drop channel siding

This kind of siding usually involves either horizontal, vertical or diagonal placing of plank. The planks are placed in such a way that they are joined together through either tongue and groove edge joint, a shiplap joint or a rabbeted joint.

Board and batten

Board and batten siding is commonly known for joining wide boards and narrow battens in an alternating fashion either horizontally or vertically.

Split logs

This siding method normally utilizes dried and treated cypress, pine, redwood or cedar logs to give an exterior wall a rustic appearance.

Shingle siding

Shingles are often used to provide a uniform but visually appealing external look. This is generally because they are thinner when compared to shakes. This in turn means that they can be cut into distinct shapes and sizes for outer beauty

Shake siding

Shake siding offers flexibility in design by creating a distinctive architectural look through the use of split-off, thick pieces of wood otherwise known as shakes.

Orientation

Vertical

Vertical orientation usually involves attaching wide and straight boards to the wall in a tongue and groove fashion. Tongues are usually located on one vertical edge with grooves being placed directly across them.

Horizontal

Horizontal siding techniques are known to engage lap siding which is a method that usually overlaps the plank edges so as to draw attention to the length of the building in question. It is however also possible to utilize log, clapboard and butt-edged siding in a horizontal manner

Diagonal

Diagonal siding is often able to place planks in either opposite or similar directions depending on your preference. This siding orientation normally utilizes a semi-vertical technique which is a crossbreed between vertical and horizontal siding.

FAQ’s

Engineered wood is the most durable external siding due to its strand technology.

Wood is generally considered the best type of siding because of its recyclable nature. It can also be able to offer durability and great aesthetic appearance when properly treated. Brick and Fiber are however not too far behind

Vinyl siding is the cheapest siding available for a house.

You can only replace your siding by yourself only when dealing with minor changes. Major changes may however require additional labor in the form of professionals.

Home Garden Guides is a great tool that quickly matches you with the best siding specialists in your locality. You can get three estimates from local siding professionals in a matter of two minutes. Kindly follow the steps below to enjoy this great service:

  1. Scroll to the top of the page and enter your zip code
  2. Answer questions about your drywall job
  3. Your siding details are forwarded to three local experts who will send you a price estimate for your job with some friendly advice.

Vinyl siding is generally considered the best low maintenance siding even though modified wood and fiber cement do not fall far behind it.

Wood siding is certainly better than vinyl since it is more durable and environment friendly especially when stained with oil.

Clapboard is a kind of wood siding that horizontally overlaps on the outer walls of a house. Its planks ae normally long and narrow

Wood siding generally comes in widths ranging between 6,8,10 and even12 inches.

Timothy Munene
Author: Timothy Munene - Timothy is a freelance writer and an online entrepreneur.