6 Wood Siding Alternatives

Wood siding is one of the more popular looks for the exterior of a home. It has classic good looks, and is versatile enough to come in a number of different shapes and sizes. It can also be painted in any color to get a more personal appearance for the home. Unfortunately, there are a lot of drawbacks to wood siding. It’s flammable, susceptible to termites and moisture damage, it also needs to be scraped and repainted every few years, leading to a lot of time and money invested over the lifetime of the home. For homeowners that want those classic looks that wood can bring, but without the maintenance and durability issues, there is an alternative – fiber cement siding. Fiber cement is just as versatile as wood, coming in a wide range of different shapes and sizes, as well as numerous colors that never fade, chip, or peel. These six alternatives to wood siding will help you realize that when it comes to the exterior of your home, you can have your cake and eat it, too.

1. Architectural Panels

One of the more popular designs being used everywhere today involves the use of a blend of different styles, such as modern and rustic. And to get that blend of looks, you need to be able to blend the clean lines of modern design with the texture and depth of the rustic. To do this with wood, you’d need to find very large planks – often larger than what is typically commercially available. Covering even a small section of your home this way can lead to significant costs. And installing these large panels has other issues as well; because the panels aren’t designed to overlap one another the way that Dutch lap siding does, you end up with gaps between the boards where water can infiltrate your home, causing mold, mildew, and wood damage.

With fiber cement architectural panels, you get can more easily achieve your style and design goals. There are two styles of wood-look panels to choose from; grooved, and seamless. Both have the look of real cedar, and can be either painted in 22 colors or primed and ready to paint in your color of choice. When paired with EasyTrim Reveals, the panels install quickly and easily, while locking out moisture and channeling it away from your home at the same time. So you can get the clean lines and rustic texture you’re after, without the extreme expense, difficulty in procuring the sizes you need, or the durability and maintenance issues that typically follow natural wood.

2. Traditional Lap Siding

Horizontal or Dutch lap siding is one of the most popular and frequently used styles on homes across the country. Homes of nearly any size, style, and architectural design can make use of traditional lap siding in several sizes to achieve their exterior covering goals. Lap siding can be used on its own or paired with more decorative options to highlight certain aspects of a home’s design.

Traditional wood lap siding looks great when it’s first installed, but over time it has a tendency to peel, fade, and chip, which requires frequent scraping and repainting to stay looking its best. And depending on the type of wood you install, it may also be flammable, prone to termites, and may eventually begin to rot in places if moisture infiltrates that peeling paint to the siding below. All of this means that you’ll spend thousands of dollars just maintaining your siding over the lifetime of your home.

Fiber cement comes in a wood-look alternative to traditional lap siding. Choose from either cedar-look, which has a natural-looking wood grain in the surface of the siding, or smooth, which has the appearance of freshly sanded wood. Either type can be found in several sizes beginning at 5-1/4-inches and heading up to 12-inches wide, so you can customize the look of your home. Both types also come ready to paint or are available in 22 brilliant colors that won’t peel, fade, or chip. Cedar-look planks are also available in natural wood stains as well.

3. Vertical Siding

Another popular choice for wood siding is the vertical plank, or board-and-batten siding. This type of application involves two sizes of wood siding installed vertically, with a smaller batten being installed over the seams between the boards to help keep out moisture. The look is not only classic, it has a lot of dimension that works well on beach properties, Country-style homes, and barns.

Unfortunately, all the same issues that come with horizontal lap siding are also found in vertical board-and-batten wood siding. The wood needs to be scraped and painted every few years, and is susceptible to things like moisture, termites, and flames.

Fiber cement is also available in a vertical panel that when combined with Plycem trims, can be installed as a board-and-batten alternative. The panels themselves come in several different styles, including a cedar-look and a smooth panel so you can get the look you want for your home. By choosing the size of the Plycem trim, as well as its placement across the panels, you can also customize the look of the board-and-batten siding.

Both the vertical panels and the trim come in a wide range of different colors, as well as in ready-to-paint finishes, so you can coordinate the look of your siding with the rest of your home and property. Pair a section of board-and-batten fiber cement siding with a section of horizontal lap to get a more personalized look for the finished exterior.

4. Shingles and Shakes 

For those that like a more textured or rustic look for their homes, shingles and shakes made of cedar are frequently used. The shingles may be straight edged or staggered, and the shingles themselves may be uniform and even or come in a variety of different sizes pieced together. Wood shingles may be used to cover a portion of a home or used to cover the entire thing. Like all other wood products, however, they often need frequent maintenance. Unlike lap or vertical siding, however, shingles can be even more difficult to maintain simply due to their size, shape, and texture; they often take longer to prime and paint and may need more frequent replacement.

Fiber cement siding comes in a wide range of different shakes and shingles, from long sections that can be installed quickly to individual shakes in both straight and staggered sizes. This allows you to customize the look of your siding to match the architectural style of your home; opt for rows of 7-inch straight shingles to pair with horizontal lap siding, or cover your home in individual shakes of varying sizes for a truly rustic look. And like other forms of fiber cement siding, shingles and shakes don’t rot, burn, peel, or fade so there’s far less maintenance.

5. Decorative Shingles

It’s not uncommon for some styles of home, such as Victorians, to feature sections of decorative siding, such as shingles in the shape of octagons or hexagons. These more stylish sections may be painted or stained in a different color than the rest of the home to help show off the area more effectively. But like all other wood products, using them does mean that you’ll be spending even more time scraping, repainting, and replacing them over the years.

Fiber cement shingles also come in decorative shapes like octagons and hexagons, so you can trim out your Victorian or Tudor-style home perfectly without those maintenance issues. All fiber cement shingles come in a full range of colors, as well as ready to paint so you can customize your look.

6. Wood Trims

Siding your home is all well and good, but you still need to trim out those sections around your windows, as well as frame the edges, and separate the areas where different styles are being used. Wood is usually used to trim out homes in this way, completing the exterior look and style either with color matched pieces or by using contrasting colors.

Plycem trims come in a range of different sizes, in both wood-look and smooth styles so you can easily complete the look of your home. Choose from any of 22 different paint colors and stains, or paint them on site to get the perfect finishing touch for your wood-look siding.

Make the Switch

Wood remains a popular option for homes simply because of its classic good looks. Fiber cement siding offers those same good looks, and more – durability and low maintenance for as long as you own the home. Make the switch to fiber cement siding to get all the looks and style of wood, but without any of the hassles.