lets talk about...siding

july 18, 2019

When we start working with new clients, exteriors are a big topic in many of our conversations. We spend a great deal of time making certain the home's exterior is equally as beautiful as its interior. It's the first thing anyone sees and we want to ensure you have the most curb appeal as possible. (Your neighbors will also thank us)

Along with the design of the exterior, we get so many questions regarding the material options available and their pros and cons.  How does it hold up to hail? Do I have to paint it? How about those pesky rocks my hubby keeps shooting out the lawnmower? Which has the best color selection? How much does it cost? What is on this Pinterest picture?

If you're still thinking WTH, have no fear, we're about to dive right in and clear things up!


Vinyl siding is a great budget-friendly option. Some of it’s most popular benefits are that:

  • It’s got a lot of variety — Vinyl offers the most color selection and also comes in a wide variety of styles, i.e. board & batten vertical siding, shakes, etc. Because they are made of the same product, the colors match effortlessly.
  • Don’t worry about up-keep — You never have to paint vinyl and maintenance is minimal. Periodic cleaning maintains the look of the home.
  • It’s durable — Typical vinyl siding thicknesses are .042″, .044″, .046″ and .048″. The thicker the vinyl, the more durable.
  • Bonus — A definite bonus to vinyl is that if damaged, you only need to take out one piece.
    Hey that seems like a pretty great list of benefits right?

While vinyl is a great option, it can warp if the product is poorly made (ie, thin) or if it gets too hot (not usually a problem in the Fargo-Moorhead area). It can also chip or crack, especially in the winter, if it gets hit with something.



Steel siding is beautiful and commonly used for its versatility and ease of maintenance. What are the benefits of using steel siding for your home?

  • Getting a polished look — There are less color options with steel siding but its seamless profile makes the home look polished.
  • Strong as steel — Durability of steel has increased its popularity. Even with our area’s strong winds and extreme temperatures, steel doesn’t have the propensity to warp. Dents may happen, but steel shouldn’t chip or crack if installed properly.
  • Variety —Similar to vinyl, there are 4”, 5” and 6” heights and different profiles to choose from.

Another pretty great list of benefits, eh?

There are some drawbacks to using steel, but not many. If the siding gets too tall (6"+), it can warp—this is called oil canning. This happens when the product was stretched too thin with no support behind it. Steel is also more expensive than vinyl. Seamless steel is another step above in the price ranking.

(Design tip to note - accent siding isn’t great with steel as it can sometimes look fake or shiny)


LP SmartSide + Hardie Board

The Fargo-Moorhead area is pretty traditional and tends to use Vinyl and/or Steel on the majority of the homes. However, there are a few that will step outside that  box and go for something different. This is where LP SmartSide and Hardie Board come in.

LP SmartSide is a wood composite material and Hardie Board is a cement board - both are made to replicate actual wood siding. They are both much more 'real' looking and come in a variety of prefinished  or completely custom colors. The boards are a little taller and there is more flexibility overall with what you can do (think trim bands, paneling, details, details, details). It's also a very durable product. Those rocks, baseballs, and hail tend to bounce off with little to no damage.

The biggest downfall is price and maintenance. They price out to be close to one another, but it's definitely a jump above steel - a lot of this is due to install as it's a more skilled practice to install properly.

Also - that cool thing about getting any color you want? That means you get to pick a new color every 10-15 years, because it needs to be painted again over time.

There are also a ton of other fantastic materials that can be used on your home, but I've gotta keep us reined in.

This is a lot of information to take in and its not always an easy comparison from product to product. So my quick little bit of advice is to weigh the pros and cons of each option and decide what best fits your budget and style. AND of course we will use our best judgement and knowledge to help in your decision making and ensure your satisfaction. 🙂

Hopefully you found this informational. Or was an excuse to drink a glass of wine while 'studying' up on your new home 😉

- Kirsten



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