There are several commonly-used types of shingle siding available for your home’s exterior, and each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Wood has been the traditional material of choice, and it requires certain upkeep on a regular basis to preserve its appearance. Vinyl is a newer material that has overtaken wood in popularity because it does not need nearly as much maintenance. Cement and masonite are also options for your shingle siding, but they have their own considerations as well.
Wood shingle siding can be fabricated out of any wood type. Cedar is used the most frequently because it is more resistant to harsh weather and other environmental factors; it is also one of the more reasonably-priced wood types. During installation, the edges of each shingle must be correctly beveled for the right fit and caulked to prevent harmful moisture from seeping in between them. It is also recommended that you paint the wood shingles with a weather-resistant paint. Caulking and paint both need to be reapplied approximately every 10 years, though more often if living in an area known for rainstorms, hailstorms, etc. Despite the need for this upkeep and the detail level of installing this type of siding, its resulting durability can last for many decades with few to no major repairs needed.
Vinyl shingle siding has the distinct advantage of no need for maintenance over the entire life of your property. The appearance of this siding as improved in recent years to resemble wood more closely, giving the more high-end appearance that many homeowners desire. Any types of vinyl siding from a reputable seller should come with a lifetime warranty, and tests have shown that vinyl siding can withstand very strong winds, hail, and rain with no damage to this material. Another advantage to vinyl is that it comes in a much wider range of styles and colors than other types of shingle siding. The only real drawback to vinyl shingles is that they are difficult to remove and reinstall if repairs or modifications are ever needed. Having your vinyl siding installed and then later repaired by an experienced contractor is highly recommended.
Cement shingle siding is actually a flexible material that looks quite similar to wood but does not require the heavy upkeep. It has a heavier weight, making it more expensive to install, and painting each shingle is still advised to protect it from harsh weather. However, cement siding has shown to be more resistant to moisture than wood siding. A disadvantage to cement is that it has sometimes cracked apart in freezing temperatures; therefore it is not recommended for colder northern climates.
Masonite shingle siding is also a type of siding that has been developed to the point of closely resembling wood shingles, more so than vinyl if this is your preference. However, it needs an even higher level of upkeep than traditional wood siding. The edges of each shingle need to be beveled, primed, and individually painted before being installed, resulting in higher contractor prices for this involved amount of work. The process of putting together the pressed wood to make masonite makes it vulnerable to water damage, so several coats of water-resistant paint are a must. This material is also not recommended for areas with heavy rain for this reason.