Siding: Pros & Cons

With so many available siding options available, many homeowners looking to complete home improvement and maintenance may question what the best route is for them. Does the existing siding just need repairs? Should it be replaced with an updated material?


According to Historic Preservation Standards, it is important to retain historic material whenever possible. A building’s siding is one of the many components which contributes to its historic character. The material, size, texture, and shape of a home’s original siding is an important facet of this characteristic. Historic materials are also of much better quality than what you would find today. Routine inspection and maintenance – such as painting and cleaning – can keep your original siding in tip top shape! If possible, repair of original siding is always your best bet!


We recognize that maintenance and repair cannot solve every issue; sometimes replacement is necessary. In this case, it is ideal to replace the original historic material in kind – that is, in the same design, color, texture, and material. When using the original material is not feasible, a substitute material can be used to convey the historical visual appearance. It is important to ensure your new material will not damage, destroy, or obscure historic characteristics of your home.


Below we have listed some of the pros and cons of popular siding materials. It is important to remember that no siding is 100% maintenance free. All materials will fall into disrepair without proper attention and maintenance.

Different Types of Siding

There are a variety of types of wood siding, each with their own unique histories and characteristics, such as clapboard, shingles, and board and batten. Below are some of the general pros and cons of using wood as your exterior cladding material.


Can last 50-100+ years with proper maintenance
Maintenance can be time-consuming and costly: periodic painting/staining every 5-10 years; recommended annual cleaning
Readily available and can be installed quickly
Can be more expensive than other options
Repairs are usually easier and less noticeable than aluminum and vinyl siding
Can be susceptible to insect damage, rot/warping, and fire
Can add resale value
Customizable: can be painted any color
Maintains the historic character of the home
“Green” Option: Wood is renewable and biodegradable. The manufacturing process does not release pollutants and requires less energy than alternative siding options.


Many people believe the required maintenance is one of the biggest drawbacks for wood siding. However, a well-executed paint job should last 5-10 years. If you are finding the need to paint your home more frequently, it could indicate an improper paint job or a problem that new siding may just cover up, such as excessive moisture.


Sherwin-Williams’s Problem Solver for Peeling and Cracking paint can give possible causes and solutions to common paint issues: