How do I Choose the Best Exterior Wood Siding?

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  • Written By: Laura Evans
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2019
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Siding is a material that is placed on the exterior walls of a building. Materials that are used to make siding include wood, wood composites, vinyl, synthetic stucco, and brick veneer. Wood siding is one of the traditional favorites. Several factors can come into play when choosing the best exterior wood siding, including choosing the siding based on the style, choosing the siding based on the type of wood, and choosing the siding based on treatments used on the wood.

Exterior wood siding is available in a number of styles. These styles include clapboard, a type of horizontal siding where each piece overlays one of the siding pieces next to it; shakes and shingles, which have a rustic appearance; and cove siding, which have a rounded depression between each siding piece. The style chosen should reflect the overall design of the home. Some of these styles can be installed horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. In areas where there is a lot of rainfall, siding should be installed horizontally to allow proper drainage and to help prevent the wood from rotting.


Among the types of wood that are used to make exterior wood siding are cedar, redwood, and pine. Each type of wood that is used to make exterior wood siding has different attributes as well as appearance. For example, cedar is insect resistant, swelling resistant and is a great wood to stain while redwood can require less maintenance than other types of wood and has its characteristic red appearance. On the other hand, pine can be less expensive than redwood or cedar and can be the wood of choice when using paint instead of stain. In addition to characteristics inherent to a given type of wood, availability can factor into choosing a type of exterior wood siding, as woods that are grown in a given area may be more readily available and less expensive in the areas in which the given wood is grown.

Another point of consideration when selecting exterior wood siding is the treatments that the siding might have. For example, wood is naturally biodegradable. Some exterior wood siding is treated with preservatives, which makes the wood non-biodegradable.

In addition, some exterior wood siding is sold sealed and ready to paint or stain. Other wood siding is available for purchase that is completely stained or painted. People who are interested in wood siding with these types of treatments have to balance the additional costs that are tacked onto the siding versus the amount of time that the people will save by avoiding painting or staining the wood themselves.


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