Types of Exterior Siding on Houses

Inside the Inspector’s Head

Home Inspection 101 Inside The Inspectors Head : Types of Exterior Siding

Featured Blog Post Written By Aaron Borsch from Core Inspect

Last week I was speaking on the different electrical systems that may be out there.

Now as I mentioned lets talk about Siding & Cladding


When I speak of cladding or siding, I speak on the material that is used on the exterior of the house to shield the interior from weather. Obviously a very important feature of a property.

There are many different kinds of cladding that can be used, that all vary in price, and advantages. Let us go over a few common ones.

Vinyl Siding

types of exterior siding

Probably one of the most common types of cladding on ‘modern homes’ is vinyl. They come in large sheets and generally snap into place over an entire side. They typically have a ‘horizontal look’ to them, but they can come in a variety if shapes and designs as well. They also can range in many kinds of colours.

Vinyl is also one of the cheaper materials available when it comes to cladding. The way its installed also acts as a rain screen due to it having an air gap under the cladding itself. To learn more about rainscreen, check out this blog: Rainscreen & Leaky Condos

It doesn’t generally wear due to weather, and only really fails due to physically breaking or melting from a heat source. An example of such a heat source would be a BBQ.

Fiber Cement (Hardiboard)

Fiber Cement cladding is commonly referred to as Hardiboard or Hardiplank, and is a brand of fiber cement cladding manufactured by James Hardie.

It comes in large sheets, like vinyl, and is installed in an overlap system. However, it can also be designed in a variety of ways to mimic other kinds of cladding as well. Another stylistic benefit is that the colour options for it are unlimited.

Since it is fiber cement, it is very fire resistant which makes it a popular choice. Also, since it uses an overlap system, it also acts as a rain screen as well. Similar to vinyl, it doesn’t weather easy, and typically fails due to physical damage rather than weather.

It is a popular style to use fiber cement on the front of a house, due to its higher quality look, than use vinyl on the rest of the house.


Stucco is another very common material that has been used for a very long time. It is essentially a fine plaster, which may have aggregate in it as well.

Good quality stucco can be shaped into a variety of architectural designs, however due to our rainy climate, they must be installed a certain way to ensure that there is a proper moisture barrier, and air gaps involved. This specific installation can sometimes be referred to as rain screening.

Since stucco itself is a pretty basic colour, it needs to be painted to achieve the colour you want. Stucco can also be more expensive to install than vinyl and fiber cement; however, it is often cheaper than wood. Ultimately, the cost will depend on the design you are looking to achieve.

Over time, the stucco material may develop hairline cracks, or chips, giving the stucco a weathered look if not maintained.

Wood Siding


Wood cladding has also been used for a very long time, and is one of the oldest materials used for exterior cladding.

It can come in a variety of types of cuts, and quality can also depend on what kind of wood is used. For example, cedar and longboard are very resistant to rot, but also can be more expensive.

Wood cladding typically uses an overlap system as well which will act as a rain screen, but you can get styles installed that involve other methods, such as interlocking.

The downfall of wood cladding is that it has the highest amount of maintenance, as it needs to be painted every 5 to 7 years. However, if it is maintained properly it can last a very long time.

It is also one of the more expensive materials available, and can vary depending on style, type of wood etc.

Next Time


Next blog I will speak on drainage

Written By:
Aaron Borsch
Certified Master Home Inspector (CMHI)
License #: 53540
Phone: 604-880-0818
Email: [email protected]
Website: CorePropertyInspections.ca


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