The siding on your home has two primary functions. The first is to provide safety and comfort for you and your family. To do this, the siding must be capable of withstanding whatever local weather conditions can throw at it. The second function is to look good while doing it. So, what type of siding does the best job? Let’s start by examining the most common materials used for siding:

Popular Siding Materials


Vinyl is a popular choice for many reasons. In addition to the variety of designs and fade-resistant finishes, vinyl also typically comes with excellent warranties because of its high durability. In addition to these qualities, this material also requires minimal amounts of maintenance. Thorough cleanings keep it looking new for long periods of time. Certain types of vinyl siding also have a high R-Value to help reduce heating and cooling costs. Because no painting or caulking is needed, this is an Eco-friendly option. The only downside to vinyl siding in some cases, is the possibility that certain styles can potentially allow moisture to work its way under the boards.


This type of siding is an environmentally friendly option because the manufacturing method does not release pollutants into the atmosphere. Wood is also a durable material with a long lifespan if maintained correctly. There is an endless choice of colors you can apply including different shades to set your home apart from the crowd. Wood is considered an upscale finish which improves curb appeal and resale value. The only drawback is the necessity for repainting every four or five years to prevent moisture damage. Annual cleanings and inspections by a professional will prevent any problems.

Engineered Wood

Boards of wood are treated with a mixture of borate, resins, and wax to create a very durable form of siding. The advantages are resistance to moisture, mold, and termite damage. The material can withstand damage from storms and temperature fluctuations.

Cedar Siding

The number one reason homeowners choose cedar siding is the aesthetic appeal. There are also added benefits. Cedar resists rot, fungus, and moisture. This natural siding material is surprisingly durable. Another benefit is the environmentally friendly nature of Cedar. As a result of its benefits and quality, the initial cost is higher, and repainting or staining is necessary every 3 to 5 years.

Fiber Cement

The thick construction makes it possible to design a realistic wood look as compared to a vinyl material. This is a great choice for historic homes to maintain their original appearance. Fiber Cement is also more fire-resistant. It will not melt as easily as other types of siding. Regular maintenance is important and installation takes longer than vinyl or metal siding. Siding is manufactured as shingles, boards, or panels and installed vertically or horizontally depending on the type of siding and your preference.

Siding Style Options

Shingle Siding

When you think of shingle siding, Cedar usually comes to mind. By installing shingles one at a time in an overlapping method, a staggered effect is achieved. Modern shingles are also manufactured in vinyl and fiber cement, along with traditional wood shingles. There are even long panels available to resemble shingle siding if you like the look, but prefer the easy installation of panels.

Panel and Lap Siding

The boards are installed starting from the bottom to overlap each other. Panel siding is the use of long boards with batten strips. Panels come in a variety of materials. Installation can be done in less time than other types of siding.

Vertical Siding

Panels are made in many different styles to accent whatever design you have in mind for your home. Some homeowners use this siding in an entryway or porch. Different widths and colors are available. Just as the name implies, the siding planks are installed in a vertical configuration. This design is gaining popularity with residential homeowners. A unique look is achieved by giving your home a stand-out appearance. Cleaning vertical panels is easy with water draining easily from top to bottom. This gives the added benefit of superior resistance to wood rot.

Nearly all types of siding materials can be manufactured in whatever style you prefer for your home. The result is a case of matching your favorite style with your preferred material. The premier siding manufacturers are James Hardie, Gentek, and LP Smartside. Top-quality siding options are available from these manufacturers. An experienced siding contractor can help you make an informed decision when choosing a siding that will be best for your home and fit into your budget.

Please contact VanWeelden Co. to discuss new siding for your home. We have been proudly serving customers in Des Moines and the surrounding area for over 20 years. Our experienced technicians install all types of top-rated quality siding. Quality workmanship and customer service is our top priority. We are licensed, bonded, and insured in Iowa. Let’s get started transforming your home with new siding today!