Deciding on Siding“Oh my god, [I’m] back again…” and I obviously have Backstreet Boys on the mind since watching their riveting documentary “Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of” on Netflix the other weekend. (I’m not even being facetious, it was surprisingly moving.)

And just like BSB when they came out with their second album, I’m back without having actually gone anywhere. But now that Devin’s laptop has an external keyboard hooked up to it, the AutoCAD muses are sending me productive vibes once more.

That’s right! The design of our new house is back on track and the time has come for me to start thinking about exterior siding. Our current home has one type – horizontal vinyl boards in beigey-grey. Yuck. (My apologies to anyone who loves vinyl siding or the colour beigey-grey.) The truth is our new home will likely have some vinyl siding strewn about as it’s pretty much the most affordable (and easy to maintain) option. But after seeing photos such as the one below I got to thinking about homes that are clad in several different materials and about how the varying colours and textures add so much visual interest.

Super charming house that incorporates several types of exterior cladding. Plus, who can resist a front porch, window boxes AND a brick chimney? (Image Credit: Home Bunch)

So here we go, nearly 200 words into my post, let’s talk about what I came here to talk about… siding!

Sure, it looks decrepit now, but I bet this brick farmhouse (which I used to drive by every day) could’ve been restored to its former glory… if a developer hadn’t bought it and promptly tore it down… sniff.


I had to begin here, because brick is just, well, classic. It’s uber durable, it adds mad character and… it’s crazy expensive. Since I was a kid, all I wanted was to live in a home built out of brick. Really. I even would’ve traded my favourite toy pony Jessica (who had beautiful rainbow coloured wings… which I later cut off because I thought she was too delicate to play with in her winged state) for a red brick farmhouse with a dormer window in the attic. And while an entirely brick facade just isn’t in the budget for our new house, it’s quite popular in the neighbourhood I currently live in to have a bit of brick or stone across the lower face of the house, although we don’t have any on ours as Devin told me it would’ve been an extra $10,000 at the time of purchase… yikes.


Another pricier siding type, stucco is traditionally made from sand, Portland cement, lime and water. Spread over top of a metal screening (which, if I recall correctly from my architectural technology days, is called “lath”), stucco has several finishing options ranging from smooth as a baby’s bum to pebbledash – meaning small rocks were smooshed in before it dried. Pebbledash was a popular finish in the neighbourhood I grew up in, which was built in the 1980s and thus it seems quite dated to me. We had a neighbour who had coloured glass mixed in with their pebbles and I used to pick the little pieces out and pretend they were jewels, because I’m classy like that. Devin and I have talked about using stucco for the new house because of its durability, especially after the great hailstorm of ’09 pinged holes through our vinyl siding and much of it had to be replaced (hooray for insurance!).


Like many oft-used home finishes these days, vinyl began as an affordable substitute for the pricier wooden clapboard or shakes seen on many older homes. Vinyl claims to be “no-maintenance,” while wood siding at the very least needs to be stained or painted every so often, but I just finished reading a very informative article that insisted no siding is ever maintenance free. It was geared towards owners of historic homes, but still made some good points, my favourite being in reference to historic materials: “They’re not good because they’re old, they’re old because they’re good.” But, I digress. The aforementioned hail damage to our current home’s vinyl coupled with the fact that it just doesn’t look as good as other siding options means it is my last choice for our new home… and the one we’ll probably end up using because, hello, having a stunning dream home you can’t actually afford to build just doesn’t make much sense, now does it?

I’ve seen this home’s wood clapboard up close and personal (I wrote an article about this house, located in Edmonton, Alberta for a community newspaper.) It truly was beautiful!


See above. Although I’d also like to add that wood siding is susceptible to rot and insect infestation, but damn it sure is pretty… or maybe it’s just the houses it’s typically used on that I love so much?

Green Options 

I wouldn’t be able to keep my credibility as the tree-hugger in the family if I didn’t include a little info on sustainable siding options. Many of the aforementioned materials have environmentally friendly counterparts such as vinyl siding that includes a layer of foam insulation. Or, how about some FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood? Another eco-concious choice for a home’s exterior is fibre-cement siding, which is reported to be extremely long lasting and has been popularized by the company James Hardie. (I did come across mention of a class action suit filed by consumers angry that their James Hardie products are failing, but I think I need to poke around a bit more before writing it off as I’m leaning toward using some fibre-cement siding on our new home. Yay! More research!)

If you stuck with me through this rather long post then congratulations! (I even left several siding types out for brevity’s sake – aluminum, natural stone, etc.) Your reward is commenting below and letting me know what type of siding ensconces your current house and what your “dream” siding is.

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Posted on June 30, 2015

Deciding on Siding

2 thoughts on “Deciding on Siding

  • July 7, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    Interesting article! Owning a 100 plus year old home has been interesting for me as we renovated and I watched the exterior go through changes and had the chance to see down through the layers what went before. It started as a wood siding of various colours with the oldest one butter yellow and progressed through baby blue siding and onto the final at this point which is slate grey wide vinyl siding with a metal roof. My favourite siding? That would be stone… As in medieval European buildings. Or a close second Spanish tile. With Spanish weather. Anyways always happy to read your clever stories L. I’m off to find the BSB doc. Sooooo exciting!
    Auntie C. (I don’t trust Google).

    • July 4, 2015 at 4:44 pm

      Thanks Auntie C! Do you have a lot of pictures of the farm in its before state? I’d love to see them! Enjoy the documentary and be prepared to sniffle a little bit as the boys have become rather emotional in their old[er] years.


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