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New England weather is known for being fairly unpredictable; so in a climate where your home will have to suffer through blizzards, hurricanes, and intense heat– your siding material matters. You need a siding material that can protect your home without breaking the bank, or breaking your back with upkeep! If you’re considering what types of siding are available for your re-siding project that fit your needs and your budget– here are a few great options to compare: vinyl, composite, fiber cement, and natural wood.


If you’ve been for a drive around New England then you’ve surely noticed some natural wood houses– especially in coastal areas like Boston, Cape Cod, and Martha’s Vineyard. Cedar siding has been a staple for New England homes for decades, having first made its appearance in colonial times. The resurgence of shingle-style homes was due to more than the exterior materials used, it introduced the concept of organicism to home’s exteriors. Natural siding allows houses to blend into their environmental surroundings, embracing a natural look and style. 

PROS of Cedar Siding

  • Excellent Insulator – As a low-density softwood, cedar siding is an excellent insulator and natural acoustic barrier, which can help save you money on energy bills.
  • Eco-Friendly – As a natural material, cedar siding is eco-friendly and has a lower carbon footprint than vinyl.
  • Increase the Value of your Home – Cedar siding can increase the value of your home, which will offset the expensive nature of cedar siding.
  • Long Lifespan – With good maintenance, wood siding can last up to one hundred years– far surpassing any other siding material.
  • Easy to Change – Cedar siding can be painted or stained, meaning that if you want to change the exterior look of your home, cedar siding makes it easy to do so!

CONS of Cedar Siding

    • More Expensive – As a raw and natural material, cedar siding is more expensive than alternative siding options. 
    • Requires Maintenance – Cedar siding requires attention and regular maintenance: repainting, sealing, and staining should be done on a routine basis to maintain a clean and classic look. Unfortunately, this maintenance will add to the expensive nature of natural wood. 
  • Woodpeckers – Natural wood attracts a variety of pests and animals, and some can damage your home’s exterior. 


If you want the look of wood, without the headache of maintaining traditional wood siding, then composite siding may be the answer. Composite siding is a manufactured material that is made out of scrap wood that’s compressed and bonded together with resins. Traditional wood siding requires regular maintenance and is vulnerable to water damage, but composite siding can last 20-30 years, give you the look of wood, and has little-to-no regular maintenance requirements. 

PROS of Composite Siding in New England

  • Less Expensive – For homeowners who want the look of wood without paying a higher installation price and for regular maintenance work, composite siding is a great option. 
  • Variety of Options – As a manufactured material, composite siding is available in a variety of colors, textures, and finishes.
  • Good Insulator – Where fiber cement and vinyl fall short, composite siding is coated with a layer of thermal barrier that can insulate your house better– saving you money on your utility bills during the winter and summer months. 
  • Sustainable – Composite siding utilizes recycled wood materials in the siding, meaning that no trees have to be forested to produce this siding.


CONS of Composite Siding in New England

  • Maintenance – Composite siding is susceptible to fading, so to ensure that it looks good for its full lifetime, it’s recommended that the paint is updated approximately every 10 years. 
  • No Substitute for Real Wood – While composite mimics traditional wood siding very well, there is no replacement for the real deal– some homeowners find the look of composite to be unnatural. 
  • Prone to Cracking – Composite siding uses resin to bind the wood materials together, but with continuous sunlight and bad weather, the resin is prone to cracking.  A small crack in the finish can allow moisture to penetrate your siding, which can lead to damage and bigger problems if left untreated. 


Vinyl has been popular since the late 1960s when it became widely available to homeowners. Today, nearly one-third of all homes in the United States have a form of vinyl siding due to its low cost and low maintenance. It’s also available in a variety of styles and colors which makes it a great option for homeowners who don’t want to be limited in their design options. However, the saying ‘you get what you pay for rings true with vinyl siding– it’s low cost because it’s made out of plastic, which comes with its own disadvantages. 


PROS of Vinyl Siding in New England

  • Inexpensive – Vinyl is considered the cheapest siding material
  • No Maintenance – As a plastic, vinyl siding has low to basically no maintenance requirements. 
  • High ROI – On average, according to the Cost vs. Value Report, you should be able to recoup 69.8% of your vinyl siding installation investment when you sell your home.

CONS of Vinyl Siding in New England

    • Short Lifespan – Despite being advertised as a high-quality siding, vinyl only has a lifetime of about 15 years. 
    • Prone to Breakage – Unfortunately, there are a variety of ways that your vinyl siding can be damaged over the years. The siding can split or break due to expansion during the hot summer months and contraction in the colder winter months. Due to being a thin plastic, it’s also not uncommon for vinyl siding to break from a rock being thrown by a lawnmower, or hail!
  • Harder to Repair – With vinyl siding, if a piece gets damaged then the whole plank has to be replaced.
  • Not Desirable to Home Buyers – Despite saving money upfront, many home buyers regard vinyl as an inferior product and are less likely to purchase a home with vinyl siding.
  • Not Environmentally Friendly – Vinyl siding leaves a big carbon footprint, and the manufacturing process is bad for the environment.
  • Bad Insulator – Vinyl siding is a bad insulator and requires additional insulation for your home if you don’t want to spend a ridiculous amount on gas this winter.


If you’re not familiar with Hardie board or fiber cement siding, it’s a super durable siding product from the James Hardie company that was released in the mid-1980s. So while it may be ‘newer’, it’s been tried and tested for decades! In the early 1990’s it became a staple for American homes because of its resilience to pretty much anything mother nature can throw at your home! It’s made out of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers which make a durable and attractive siding material that can protect your home. For a safe, and low-maintenance siding option, fiber cement siding is the way to go!


PROS of Hardie Fiber Cement Siding in New England

  • Maintenance Free – this house siding option is practically maintenance free, except for keeping it clean. 
  • Extremely Durable – Resistant to rain, humidity, hail, hurricane-force winds, and UV rays, fiber cement siding is one of the most durable house siding options on the market.
  • Lower Insurance Premium – Hardie board is the only siding option that has been rated as fire-resistant, and installing it can actually lower your insurance premium. 
  • Damage Resistant – Fiber cement siding doesn’t retain moisture, so the siding will never rot, swell, or warp like wood can. It also is resistant to pests– woodpeckers, termites, and other wood-loving bugs won’t bother with it. 
  • Eco-Friendly – Fiber cement siding is approved for use in LEED-rated buildings– LEED Certification is a standard that recognizes buildings that are efficient, cost-effective, and better for occupants and the environment. 
  • High ROI – According to the 2022 Cost vs. Value Report, New England homeowners will be able to recoup 70.2% of the cost of installing fiber cement siding. Making it a great investment for homeowners. 
  • Long Lifetime – Hardie board siding has a lifespan of 50 years!

CONS of Hardie Fiber Cement Siding in New England

  • Expensive Installation – The upfront installation costs of Hardie board is higher than even wood installation because fiber cement siding takes longer to install. 
  • Bad Insulator – Fiber cement siding is a worse insulator than vinyl, so unless you’re investing in additional insulation you’re going to be dishing out a lot of extra money for gas in the winter. 

Which type of siding is best?

There is no clear answer to this question. Each material has its own significant downfalls and benefits that can affect homeowners in different ways. Whether you’re operating with a limited budget or looking for something that will last you years without much maintenance requirements there is a siding option that will best suit your home’s needs. Contact a Project Consultant at Tom Curren Companies today to discuss your project today!


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