New Home Planning ~ Step 8: Home Siding Options

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New Home Planning ~ Step 8: Home Siding Options

The siding on your home should be a large consideration. 

It has a big impact on the aesthetics of the outside of your home, and will determine your long term cost of ownership for maintenance and repair of your siding.  Your siding decision will be effected by where your home is going to be located as well, and the seasonal “elements” your home may be exposed to.  Your contractor can provide you with recommendations for the best siding in your building location.

To help you understand your options, we are going to look at three popular siding options – Wood shingles, wood clapboards and fiber cement clapboards.

Wood Shingles

Wooden shingles are usually made from cedar and come in various grades from those that have small knots to totally clear – meaning there aren’t any knots at all. I have used cedar shingles on many homes.  It can lend the home to an older, more colonial.

There are also many options such as a natural shingles that will age and grey over time compared to shingles that are pre-painted or stained.

Shingles last for a long time as they are layered upon installation and are resistant to weather and most insects.

Over the years I have become a fan of squared and rebutted shingles as they are so much easier to install.

Singles do cost more, but the there is some cost savings in the labor since the shingles are pre-cut and you can normally avoid having to square up the edges.  This can sometimes outweigh the additional cost of the shingles themselves.

Wooden Clapboard siding









Like singles, wooden clapboard siding is a tried and true siding option for a home – and one that is still very popular.

They are much faster to install than cedar shingles because you work with long lengths of board.   You can also use a natural wood clapboard or paint it, depending on the overall look you are trying to achieve.

As you can see from the photo, the coverage isn’t as deep on the overlap.  When installing clapboards, there really should be a drainage plane behind them.

Without proper drainage, water will soak the clapboard causing the paint to eventually peel from the siding as it tries to escape. That is one of the possible reasons that you see paint peeling on clapboards.

Clapboards provide clean lines and a classic look that is still desired today.

Fiber Cement Clapboards







The last product we’ll look at is fiber cement clapboards.  These look similar to wooden clapboards, but they are composite material made of cement, fibers and glues.

There are various manufacturers of fiber cement clapboards, like James Hardie.

Many fiber cement clapboards are available with a simulated wood grain for a more natural look, and in a variety of colors – like those available from Mid-America Exteriors.


These clapboards have many advantages. They can be primed and you can paint them or you can choose a pre-painted color that is done at the factory. They hold paint very well.  And as the owner of a home in the Bahamas, which has had two direct hurricane hits, the clapboards and paint still look great!

Fiber cement clapboards are fire resistant as well as termite proof. That, in itself, is a valuable asset for people that live in termite zones. They should be blind nailed, so that the nails are not exposed, and precautions have to be taken when installing them – but they are a great long lasting option to consider. They are a bit harder to install than traditional wooden clapboards.

Of course there are a number of products and manufacturers offering home siding options, I thought this would give you a start in the right direction, in researching options. I have personally installed all of these options over the years and would recommend any of them. If they are installed correctly, you will have many years of beautiful siding to come.

Written by:

Todd Vendituoli, owner of Todd Vendituoli Construction L.L.C. in Vermont.  He also writes for:

Find him on the web at:!/TALV58

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