Vinyl siding has long been a sensible choice for consumers who want to refurbish the exteriors of their homes. Now, new technology and fresh ideas are making vinyl siding not just practical but aesthetically appealing. More and more, homeowners are choosing vinyl based on color and trim options, says Jeff Landon of Atlantis Building Products. Manufacturers have responded to this trend with gusto.

Vinyl siding makers are finding ways to spin “wood” from PVC. The new grains and textures on vinyl siding panels look realistic — and not just from afar. This means more choices for homeowners who don't want to deal with the maintenance of wood but fear “artificial” siding will make their house look like plastic. It's simply not the case anymore, and consumers should be made aware of the advances in the industry.

Another wood imposter that's improving all the time is fiber cement. Contractors are happy with this composite of cement, sand, cellulose fiber, and other additives because it can be worked like wood — you can nail it and paint it easily — yet it lasts longer. Installers should note that cutting fiber cement generates a lot of dust and is hard on saw blades. However, in the long run, it's a good choice because it resists termites and doesn't rot.

Siding colors are getting richer and deeper, in response to consumer demands for more selection. Vivid forest greens and intense red-browns are showing up in sample palettes all over the industry. Trims and accessories are showing more detail. Corner posts, scallops, cornices, and other accents are now part of the siding package.

Even the best siding will look awful if it's installed improperly. Most manufacturers have explicit instructions on how their siding should be installed and are happy to provide technical help.

courtesy Atlantis Building Products

Atlantis Building Products. Cedar-way's Hand Split Shake siding is designed to combine the look of authentic cedar with low-maintenance performance. Each 18-inch panel has 37-inch exposure, with 22 panels per 100 square feet of coverage. The company regularly runs production on over 90 colors. (888) 501-9879.

courtesy Revere Building Products

Revere Building Products. Harbor Pointe Shakes and Scallops provide durable performance and graceful good looks. Available in 14 shades, including Venetian Red, the siding's polymer construction withstands 160-mph winds with a locking system that secures the panels. For use as a whole-house exterior or to highlight architectural details, the siding's cedar-grain texture extends over the edge of each shake for authentic wood appeal. (800) 548-4542.

courtesy Mitten

Mitten. Six new color choices enhance the options from Sentry premium performance vinyl siding. All feature a.c.t. Advanced Color Technology, which resists heat and comes with 25-year fade protection. Colors include Academy Gray, Grenadier Green, and Annapolis Blue, and all are available in Double 4-inch horizontal and Double 4.5-inch with matching trims and accessories. (800) 265-0774.

courtesy Nichiha

Nichiha. Sierra Premium Smooth lap siding is 60% thicker than average fiber-cement lap siding and is able to resist 111 mph winds when blind nailed. Sealed on six sides, the 1/2-inch-thick panels are available in 7-inch and 83/4-inch profiles. According to the maker, the panels will not crack, rot, or delaminate and are resistant to fungus and termite infestation. (866) 424-4221.

courtesy CertainTeed

CertainTeed. Cedar Impressions Triple 5-inch Perfection Shingles offer a rustic appearance. Molded from real cedar boards, the shingle panels are available in 12 colors. Each 15-by-60-inch panel consists of three rows of 5-inch shingle exposure. The PanelThermometer system displays the panel temperature so that it can be accurately installed at the correct temperature line indicators. The shingles are .100-inch thick and come with a lifetime limited warranty. (800) 233-8990.

courtesy Georgia-Pacific


The Board & Batten siding collection has the look of painted wood in eight colors: Beige, Clay, Cream, Gray, Mist, Pearl, Tan, and White. Its 7-inch vertical profile — 5.5-inch face, 1.5-inch batten, and .5-inch projection — has a .048-inch thickness. (800) 284-5347.

courtesy Reynolds

Reynolds. The Cedar Reflections line offers a variety of options with a Double 4 1/2-inch Horizontal, Double 4 1/2-inch Dutchlap, and Vertical Double 5-inch panel. Offered in a variety of colors and designed with a low-gloss random grain to resemble natural cedar, the panels have a 3/4-inch projection and rolled-over reinforced nailing hem. (800) 528-0942.

courtesy SmartSide

SmartSide. Panel siding is 39% lighter than standard fiber-cement siding and can be cut using regular wood cutting tools, making it easy to install. It can be nailed directly to studs, which eliminates the need for wall sheathing. Its cedar-grain texture resists moisture with a resin-saturated, paint-based overlay. (800) 648-6893.

courtesy Crane

Crane. Part of the Solid Core Architectural Essentials series, the Band Board makes for an effortless and attractive transition between separate siding products. Installed with a special back plate, each panel is 7 1/2 inches wide and 20 feet long. Featuring the CraneBoard Performance Purple backing, the band board is available in 13 colors. (614) 443-4841.

For more product information, visit, Hanley Wood's interactive product catalog.