You love your home, and that’s exactly why you’re ready for a new take. It’s time for a home siding upgrade that not only turns the neighbors green with envy but also protects your property for years to come.
This job is easier said than done. Even if you were an expert at siding construction, you’d still have to choose the right materials, colors, and texture for that perfect combination of looks, functionality, and curb-appeal attitude.
With a big investment like this, it pays to make the right decision. Here are some of the best siding options for homes in the PNW along with their pros and cons.
Home Siding Considerations
…But first, a few factors to think about. While every Seattle home is unique enough to benefit from a fresh approach to planning a siding upgrade, you need to remember the universal concerns.
We’re (informally) judging these popular siding materials based on a few essential factors every homeowner should know:
- Longevity: Some types of siding are better suited to surviving the wet weather we experience here in the PNW.
- Styling: Although most siding types can be textured any way you want, they’re not 100 percent visually interchangeable.
- Expense: Despite fluctuating yearly prices, certain materials consistently tend to cost more than others.
- Maintenance: Your siding should take care of your home without you spending a lot of time taking care of it.
- Environmental Impact: Not all siding is equally sustainable. Even if you don’t personally care, this can impact your home’s curb appeal and future sale price.
With that out of the way, here are some of the most popular home siding trends in the Bellevue and Seattle regions.
Wood siding is a perfect thematic match for life in the PNW’s heavily forested environs. Not only does it fit right in with the surroundings, but it can also be sourced locally — or close to it. Your siding’s shorter trip to your Bellevue build site might help your renovation maintain a smaller ecological footprint.
Not all wood siding is alike, however. Although most types require treatment — such as painting or staining — at least every five years or so, the type of species you pick has a huge impact on how much upkeep you’ll have to do. Most paints and stains also make it harder to recycle wood properly.
Of course, there’s a possible downside here — millions of tiny, crawling ones. More specifically, termites (and ants!) are of major concern. The key here is to pick species that bear some natural resistance to incursions, such as cedar and redwood.
People typically think of wood as being super expensive, but this isn’t always true. You have a lot of price flexibility with this option. Different species trend higher depending on when you buy.
Also, consider composites or treated softwoods. These varieties are just as long-lasting, yet they cost significantly less than traditional hardwood.
Stone siding materials usually take the form of slate, limestone, flagstone (a type of sandstone), or other easily cut, flat materials. These stones are similar to the types of minerals used in pavers and patios, making it easy to outfit your whole property in a classic, eco-friendly style.
Masonry takes minimal upkeep, but it might chip or crack in extreme weather events. As you’ve probably guessed, it’s insect-, water-, and fire-resistant.
These features make metal a safe bet for homeowners who relish the thought of creating a long-lasting, hands-off exterior. Of course, this isn’t something you can paint or stain, so be sure to pick a color you like. A good tip is to find a contractor that can provide detailed mockups!
The biggest downside of this type of siding is that it costs the most of all the options on this list — even more than metal. We’re not 100 percent certain why this is, but it might have to do with the fact that stone is mind-blowingly heavy (trust us!) and requires lots of installation expertise. The cost difference is so noteworthy that many homeowners only use stone for accents or their front facades.
Metal siding lets you protect your home for decades at a variable cost that falls somewhere between masonry and fiber cement or wood. Certain types of metal, like zinc and copper, usually cost more, while tin, aluminum, and steel tend to be less expensive.
Like stone, metal is fire-retardant — an undeniable plus if you live in the woods. When it comes to resisting our local Seattle humidity, most metal paneling includes painted, galvanized, or otherwise treated surfaces to stop rust and oxidization.
Metal siding can be recycled and reclaimed. You might even get a nice hunk of cash for it in the process. This is a great way to divert building materials from the waste stream even if you apply custom paints that aren’t eco-friendly.
A big advantage of metal is that it comes in many predesigned cladding systems, which can minimize the amount of work that goes into the installation process — although you’ll still need skilled experts to do the job right. Don’t worry about your home looking too modern either. You can have your metal cladding textured for a more rustic look or go for shingles instead of larger panels.
We hesitated to include this one because it can be pretty controversial with some people. Make no mistake, vinyl siding is extremely popular: It’s the cheapest type of siding material you’ll find, it doesn’t need painting, and it resists mold growth and insects alike — sounds great right?
The issue is that vinyl, a type of plastic polymer, isn’t exactly a green building material — what you save upfront has traditionally come at a heavy ecological cost. The good news is that things are changing, and you can increasingly recycle this building material after use. Unfortunately, reclamation isn’t a guaranteed bet if your siding is too brittle or old for processing — and if you plan on moving, the new buyer may have better things to do years down the line.
So why mention it at all? The biggest appeal of vinyl is that it’s extremely cost-effective, easy to install, and essentially maintenance-free. If you’re on a tight budget or super pressed for time, this might be your preferred option.
Fiber cement siding incorporates a mixture of water, cellulose fibers from wood pulp or other plant materials, cement, sand, and fly ash. When these elements are combined and cured, the water evaporates, leaving a reinforced cement composite that’s watertight, lightweight, fire-resistant, impact-resistant, and cheap.
Fiber cement resists the growth of mold and termite incursion like nobody’s business. The other nice aspect of this material composition lies in its simplicity. Since it’s just a form of cement, you can mold it into any shape, including shingles, faux wood paneling, or stone-like tiles. The finished product also accepts painting and staining, which you can have applied in advance or do it yourself for true customizability.
When it comes to the ecological footprint, fiber cement is — well, complicated. For instance, some assessments have found that it actually scores lower than vinyl in terms of sustainability because manufacturing cement is such an involved process.
On the other hand, there’s no denying that the long-term drawbacks are generally lower with fiber cement. These materials generate minimal hazardous post-consumer waste, and if a fire disaster affects your home, they won’t burn and expel tons of hazardous gas all over the neighborhood. Even if it ends up in the landfill, it will have less of a future impact.
It’s also possible to choose more ecologically conscious sources of fiber cement, which you can’t really do with vinyl. For example, looking for sustainably harvested wood pulp and low-emissions products is a good start.
Home siding construction is a complex topic. It’s easy to get caught up in appearances, but looks are just part of the journey. Your siding needs to protect your home against the local humidity, expansive greenery, salt air, and other factors that make Mother Nature a unique force to be reckoned with.
Still uncertain? You don’t have to be a siding construction expert to make the right choice — or spend your weekends cruising Bellevue’s neighborhoods trying to tell what’s trending. We’ve got all the thematic and technical inspiration you need to kick your property upgrade off right. Talk to 3 Brothers Decking to discover how we can help your home shine.