Shed Siding: What's the Right Material for Your Shed?

Shed siding comes in such a huge range of different materials, deciding which one is right for you can be one of the toughest decisions to make when building your new shed. It really does depend on your budget, the look you're going for, whether you like DIY jobs and what you plan on using your shed for.

Shed wall construction

The shed siding is of course only the outside skin of the shed. What you intend to use the shed for and your budget will determine how you approach shed wall construction.

This article on shed wall construction will point you in the right direction.

Some siding materials are better than others. When deciding which material to use it typically comes down to what you're trying to achieve with your shed and the style you want to create.

Here's an overview of some of the main types of shed siding materials with some of the pros and cons of each. You'll then be able to make up your own mind as to which is the best shed siding for you:

Wooden shed siding

When you think of a shed, wooden siding naturally comes to mind as a natural material with a wonderful charm that will give character to your final project. There are a two broad categories of timber siding:

Natural wood finish

If you want the natural color of wood which will fade and weather with time then you will most likely choose a naturally resistant timber such as cedar, oak or larch or a preservative impregnated pine board. Wood shingle siding is an interesting material that can be used to add features and character to your shed.

Painted finish

A more sophisticated and less rustic appearance is achieved with painted wood. If you want a painted finish it is worth considering whether natural wood is the first choice as it requires regular maintenance, with re-treating and painting to preserve the finish and protect against rot.

An alternative to painted wood is exterior wood stain which enables the grain of the wood to be seen beneath. But doesn't trap moisture and require extensive repairs/rubbing down to re-finish. A good quality stain will just require re-coating every few years. Also timber stains are available in a variety of colours.

However do not give up on having great looking solid colored timber siding, a durable low maintenance alternative is available in the form of engineered wood. Even on close inspection it can be difficult to tell the difference between natural and engineered wood!

Engineered Wood Siding

Engineered wood siding offers beauty and also resists moisture because it is made of real wood strand or fibers that are treated with resins (be sure to seek products with low emitting resins).

Market leading engineered wood siding products like LP SmartSide are also treated with zinc borate to help resist fungal decay and termite damage.

Engineered wood siding is durable and well suited for helping avoid damage from impact blows such bashing the side of the shed with the lawnmower or an errant baseball! When choosing a brand ensure that it comes with a multi-decade product warranty, LP Smartside for example is warranted for 50 years.

This article on Shiplap siding will help you choose whether engineered or natural wood is your best choice.

Fiber-cement siding

One of the newest types of siding available on the market, fiber-cement siding is made from sand, cement and cellulose fibers that come in a sheet form to clad the outside of your shed. This material is is very rigid but can be susceptible to impact damage, such as from a baseball or large hailstones.

More on fiber cement siding installation

The advantage of fiber cement is that it won't rust or rot and can be made in a color of your choice.

One of the largest manufacturers is James Hardie, who specialize in this type of siding for homes and outbuildings.

Do bear in mind if you've decided to invest in fiber-cement siding it's worth getting the professionals to install it because it can be quite tricky and it creates a lot of dust as you install. This obviously incurs extra cost.

Vinyl shed siding

Vinyl siding is mainly chosen because it is low maintenance and weather resistant. If your home is clad with vinyl, it's the perfect siding to compliment your home and is still fairly economical. You can have it treated in a color to match your home.

Whilst vinyl siding shouldn't chip, it cannot be retouched with paint if it fades and if there is any damage, repairs can be costly.

The main advantage of vinyl is its virtually zero requirement for maintenance.

This article is a great introduction to installing DIY vinyl siding on your shed.

Metal shed siding

If you're on a budget, metal shed siding is a popular option in certain countries, especially Australia so I understand. Whilst metal is very strong and resilient, it's also very noisy during the rain and can dent quite easily if hit by large objects such as branches or baseballs.

Metal siding can be made from either steel or aluminum.

Steel is stronger but more prone to corrosion. When purchasing steel siding consider carefully how it will be protected against rust. Some varieties come galvanized and with specially formulated paint coatings. Whatever you select make sure that you check out the products anti-corrosion guarantee.

Aluminum is a weaker metal and so dents more easily but is naturally corrosion resistant.

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