How to Choose the Right Siding for Your Home


Montana Siding is one of the most essential elements of your home’s exterior. It protects your house from the elements and can save you money on energy costs if you choose a siding material with good insulation.

Many types of siding have different levels of quality, so homeowners should speak with a professional contractor to learn about the pros and cons of each.

1. Aesthetics

Siding does two important jobs – protects a house or building from the elements and adds visual interest to its exterior. When re-siding your home, it’s important to consider how the color and material of your siding will compliment the architecture of the house as well as the natural surroundings.

Choosing a neutral color for your siding can be a good option. You can pair it with a variety of different trim options and accent colors to create a look that’s both timeless and modern. Board and batten style siding is enjoying a resurgence in popularity as a way to add character to your home’s exterior. It’s also a great choice for homes that have to comply with homeowner’s associations’ restrictions on siding colors.

There are many types of siding available, from the classic wood to the contemporary textured composite. Some of the newer materials, like stone veneer, are designed to mimic real stone but at a fraction of the cost. Stone veneer is made from cement, lightweight natural aggregates and iron oxide pigment (for color). It’s designed to stand up to extreme weather conditions, withstand mold, moisture and insects and not be prone to cracking or warping.

Engineered wood is another popular siding option that offers a similar appearance to natural wood. It’s made from a combination of wood fibers and durable resins. It’s also more expensive than vinyl and not as long-lasting as fiber cement. However, it doesn’t rot or require re-sealing as frequently as real wood.

Natural wood siding comes in a variety of styles and colors, from pine to cedar. It’s best suited for rural or lakeside properties where the rustic look is desired. Cedar and redwood are more resistant to rot, insect damage and warping than pine.

For a modern exterior, nothing beats the natural appeal of wood-look siding. This siding is manufactured using molds that create the textured surface of real wood, including grain patterns and knots. It’s easy to maintain, holds up against rain and snow and resists fading. At Conservation Construction, we offer a wide range of wood-look siding in both vinyl and James Hardie fiber cement.

2. Durability

Siding isn’t just for aesthetics; it protects the walls and structure of your home from moisture damage. It also provides a barrier against cold air and winds that could wreak havoc. A re-siding project is a significant undertaking that will cost you some money, so you want to ensure that the new siding will perform well for years to come.

There are several different types of siding, ranging from natural wood to vinyl and manufactured wood. Traditional wooden cladding, such as cedar, redwood, cypress and pine, are durable and can last a lifetime with proper maintenance. Engineered wood cladding, such as LP SmartSide, combines the classic look of real wood with added elements that improve durability. This includes the LP SmartGuard process, which mixes resins and waxes with the wood strands to add core strength, as well as zinc borate that helps resist fungal decay and termite damage.

Other more modern options include fiber cement and concrete cladding. These materials are generally durable and require less maintenance than wood, but they can be more expensive to install. These materials also use more energy to produce, so they’re not the best choice for those on a tight budget.

Metal siding is also a durable option, and it stands up to harsh weather conditions like snow, high temperatures and rain. However, it’s not soundproof, so if you live in an area with loud traffic or other outside noises, this may not be the right type of siding for your home.

For those looking to add a unique style to their home, board and batten siding is enjoying a resurgence as a way to create visual interest on a wall. This is accomplished by using planks that are smaller than the wall they cover, which allows for expansion and contraction due to humidity and temperature changes. Other siding styles include clapboard, where the butt joints between pieces are covered with a strip of wood, and horizontal shingles.

The first step to installing any type of siding is to put down a layer of sheathing, which offers a smooth surface for attaching the panels. This sheathing will then need to be insulated and covered with a water-resistant barrier and flashing around corners, doors and windows.

3. Insulation

When you think of insulation, you likely picture the material inside your walls. However, the exterior of your home also plays a critical role in overall insulating levels. Siding creates a durable seal against the elements, keeping cold air from seeping in and warm air from escaping. The energy savings associated with this feature can make a significant difference on your home’s energy bills, especially if you live in an area with harsh winter weather.

While the wood studs in your walls contribute to thermal bridging, insulated siding provides an additional layer of protection against the elements. This extra layer of insulation adds up to a higher R-value, meaning it offers greater thermal resistance and lowers energy costs.

The breathable foam backing of insulated siding does more than prevent air leaks. It also reduces outside noise and contributes to a quieter, more comfortable home. When paired with proper flashing and sealing techniques, this energy-efficient insulation can significantly improve the comfort of your home.

In the summer, insulated siding keeps your home cool and comfortable by trapping air in between your walls and preventing humidity from entering. This allows you to keep your thermostat settings lower and save on expensive air conditioning bills.

Another benefit of insulated vinyl is that it’s more durable than traditional vinyl, making it less vulnerable to damage from hail or high winds. While a hailstorm may not be as common in our region, the high winds that come with it can cause dents and dings to your home’s exterior. In addition to reducing the need for repairs, this extra durability can help protect your investment by extending the lifespan of your siding.

The insulated foam in insulated siding also contains an insecticide that makes it more effective at repelling pests like termites and bees. This prevents these pests from damaging your home and compromising the safety of your family. In fact, some insulated siding products even include insecticide built right into the foam. This is an added bonus for homeowners who want to go green while boosting their home’s insulating value at the same time.

4. Fire Resistance

When choosing siding for your home, the type of fire resistance it provides should be considered. Whether you live in an area that’s prone to wildfires or you simply want to add some peace of mind to your property, there are plenty of non-combustible options. Of course, even the best siding does not make a home completely fire-proof. It’s still important to have smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and a plan for safe evacuation in case of an emergency.

Wood siding can combust in minutes if not treated properly or kept away from direct flames, and stains, paints, and other coatings can actually exacerbate the problem. This is why it’s important to choose a material like vinyl or fiber cement.

Vinyl siding is essentially non-combustible since it’s made from polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. To ignite, this material requires a very high temperature and a unique chemical composition to begin burning. This gives it some of the highest fire resistance of any siding, allowing it to resist heat and flames for hours before melting or igniting. Using vinyl with complex lap joints rather than a simple bevel will also provide a greater level of fire protection, and adding extra layers of 5/8-inch type gypsum boards with taped seams will further increase the durability and safety of your new siding.

Fiber cement siding, such as HardiePlank lap and soffit panels, is another highly-rated option. This non-combustible material is termite-proof and fire-resistant, and it can be molded to replicate the look of multiple styles of siding, including stucco. This product holds a class A fire rating, meaning it can withstand long periods of heat and flames without igniting or damaging the structure, and is even eligible for 1-hour fire-rated wall assemblies as required by local building codes.

The other recommendation on this list is steel siding, which far surpasses materials like wood or vinyl in terms of fire resistance. This material is also known for its durability and low maintenance requirements. It has a class A fire rating and can withstand extreme heat for hours before melting or igniting.