Natural Wood – lap / bevel, shakes and shingle, board-and-batten, split logs

Wood provides a rich, natural look that many prefer. Some of the other materials on this list (their manufacturers) do what they can to mimic the appearance of natural wood, as the appearance is that desirable.


It is a versatile material and has many styles as noted above. Lap, also known as bevel, is arguably the most popular, with horizontal boards being the common appearance for wood. While wood shakes and shingles are also popular, or small rectangular shapes of wood covering the home (though other shapes are sometimes used, which just further demonstrates its versatility). Board-and-Batten is horizontal boards around a structure, or the traditional look for a barn. And split-log is the type of appearance one might think is a home in a forest or on a mountain, yet can really exist anywhere. Each of these styles have varying degrees of complexity for installing and may require expertise, which would add to cost.

Wood is in the cost range of $5 to $10 per sq. ft. and depends on the grain mainly, as well as the style. The order we put the styles at the top of this entry (bevel being first) is essentially the order of cost from least to most expensive.

An average-sized home will cost between $14,000 and $27,000 for standard wood siding, including materials and installation.

A major selling point and notable benefit wood (one of the pros outlined below) is that it’s very durable if properly maintained. Which is also a con, because it requires routine maintenance. Everyone knows wood can burn, and so it is sometimes treated with fire retardant chemicals. Likewise, wood tends to fade in color or attracts insects. Thus, coats of stain or paint are added to overcome these issues. Those coats last at most 5 years before they substantially deteriorate. Proper maintenance in some cases means every 2 years re-staining the side of your home, to ensure longevity of the material. Clear stain coats are desired to draw out the natural beauty of certain wood grains.

Wood is one exception where we’d wish to note the sub-types as they are natural and do generally go into decision for the material, while also affecting the cost. So, the types of wood used as siding for a homes are as follows:

  • pine
  • spruce
  • cypress
  • cedar
  • redwood
  • red cedar

Pros: very durable if properly maintained, natural beauty, is Eco-friendly, easier to install (for some styles)

Cons: requires ongoing maintenance (adding to overall investment costs), is expensive, subject to ongoing problems with insect and animals

Natural vs. Engineered Wood Siding

Engineered Wood is a product made from wood fibers and bonding agents. It is a strong, lightweight material that is less expensive than natural wood. Whatever are the natural imperfections of wood, engineered wood overcomes this. For appearances, this is rather subjective, but functionally, engineered wood is not something that animals/insects tend to be attracted to.

It generally lasts 20 to 30 years. And it is manufactured with factory finished colors or comes ready-to-paint or primed.

Engineered wood costs $3 to $5 per sq.ft. and depends really on the manufacturer and what the surface finish is.

An average-sized home will cost between $7,000 and $12,000 for standard engineered wood siding, including installation.

Pros: less expensive than natural wood, highly durable – stands up to extreme weather changes, easy to work with and no harmful dust, fairly Eco-friendly, impervious to insects

Cons: like wood it can burn easily, still needs regular maintenance like wood, if water penetrates surface it becomes less durable

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