Side it and Forget it: 5 Amazing Materials that Last

When it comes to siding, turns out you can have it all. Here are 5 picks for siding that last long, and look good, too.

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We spoke to siding experts across the country for their preferred picks on siding trends. They told us about their favorites that deliver the best of both worlds: curb appeal and durability. 

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1)     Fiber Cement Siding such as HardiePlank
It's made of cement, but can resemble wood clapboards or cedar siding, giving you the strength of the former and the curb appeal of the latter, says David Businelli, RA, AIA, president of Studio 16 Architecture in New York.  "It's fire-, insect- and rot-resistant, giving a lot of value for the dollar, while looking good and performing well for a very long time," he says. $5 to $10/square foot installed

2)     Engineered Wood Siding such as LP SmartSide
Eric Brown, National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) member and co-owner of Siding Unlimited in Wisconsin, loves working with SmartSide, an extra-durable wood-base product with a 50-year warranty. It's made from fast-growing trees, resists fungus and termites, and can be made to resemble cedar shake or even stucco. "It's really beautiful. Our customers often use it to mimic or replace cedar siding, because cedar cracks, curls, or fails, and has to be maintained every two to three years," he says. $3 to $10/square foot installed

3)     Cement-Bonded Particle Board such as Viroc
Large cement-wood panels are being used as a modern (and modern-looking) covering, both outside and inside (where it can be used on floors and ceilings, too. )"It looks likes stone and has the flexibility of wood," says Carter Oosterhouse, lifestyle expert, celebrity carpenter, and host of the FYI Network's Rowhouse Showdown. The cement makes them low-maintenance, good for wet climates and rooms, and insect-resistant and fire-retardant. $3 to $7/square foot pre-installation

4)     Brick Veneer such as Z-Brick
Brick veneer, which is basically thin, nonstructural brick, can work well as a siding replacement. It offers many of the benefits of traditional brick -- it's weatherproof, fireproof, and requires zero maintenance. $7 to $13/square foot installed

5)     Vinyl Siding, various brands
If you think vinyl isn't your thing, consider that vinyl siding has evolved. It mimics wood better than ever, and comes in a variety of styles, including scalloped, lap, and shake. There are lots of color options, too. "Twenty years ago, homeowners asked, 'Do I have any other options?' Today, they're overwhelmed with them," Brown says. And the fact remains: Vinyl is and always has been both extra-durable (which keeps it out of landfills longer) and popular. Brown says that a quality manufacturer makes a big difference. He uses CertainTeed's Monogram line. "I drive by houses that we did twenty-five years ago and they still look great," he says. $2 to $7/square foot installed

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