Siding is particularly important to new home building, but the products are also seeing growth in the remodeling sector as homeowners have more money to spend on renovations. A 2014 study by the Freedonia Group predicts an increase in demand for siding in the U.S. of 7.1% annually to 103.5 million squares in 2018.

Consumers are looking for longevity as well as attractiveness; as they look to improve exterior design, color will be important, with trends moving toward darker colors and earth tones. Respondents surveyed by Principia Consulting’s Residential Siding & Trim 2014 report cited their top three reasons for upgrades were changing material (from economy to premium), weather-related repairs, and aesthetics. 

“The homeowner is looking for performance, beauty, and value,” explains Jerry Blais, senior vice president of marketing for Ply Gem Siding. 

According to Freedonia Group analyst Matt Zielenski, “Vinyl will remain the leading replacement siding material, but will continue to be challenged by newer products with enhanced performance and aesthetic characteristics.” He adds, “Fiber cement products are being marketed as replacements for not only wood, but vinyl siding, which would indicate to homeowners that the material will last as long.”

Michelle Forchetti, associate segment marketing manager for LP SmartSide Trim & Siding, says that LP has seen a significant increase in demand for its treated engineered wood siding products—up 21% in first quarter 2015 compared with the previous year. “Over the past three years as we’ve seen a continued increase in sales,” she explains. 

Other materials Freedonia predicts will experience growth are brick, concrete, and stone siding—including synthetic stone veneers. Blais also reports seeing this trend emerge, saying that stone veneer is often attractive to homeowners because it’s lighter and more affordable than real stone. 

Manufacturers are responding to evolving exterior trends with products that feature new styles, materials, and colors. We’re rounded up six that represent some of the latest  siding innovations.

Nearly Natural

The Tapco Group introduced its new Grayne Engineered Shake & Shingle siding as a durable alternative to natural cedar. Grayne is positioned as a low-maintenance solution for replacing old cedar wood, which requires regular upkeep. The engineered composite also boasts a tough weather-resistant surface. The Plain Sawn Shingle profile option features authentic-looking graining patterns that mimic the natural depth and shadows of real sawn cedar. Grayne comes in six colors that are designed to look like the color variations that occur when a finish is applied to aged wood. 

Catching Rays

In response to the increased popularity of darker colors for the exterior, Ply Gem introduced its new SolarDefense reflective technology to the Mastic Home Exteriors siding line. UV rays cause fading, especially with dark colors, and heat causes distortion. SolarDefense uses reflective polymer ingredients that are molecularly bonded to reduce color fading and heat absorption. The five colors available with SolarDefense are Mastic’s darkest siding colors: newport bay, natural slate, mahogany, brandy wood, and red brick. 

Smarter Siding 

Citing increased demand, LP Building Products announced the manufacturing expansion of LP SmartSide treated engineered wood siding products. The company says SmartSide lap and trim sales grew 18% from 2013 to 2014. SmartSide products are treated with SmartGuard, a formula of binders, waxes, and zinc borate, before being bonded with a water-resistant, resin-saturated overlay to keep out moisture and protect against weather damage, fungus, and termites. Manufacturing will be expanded across all products, including lap siding, panel siding, and cedar shakes. 

Three-toned Stone

ProVia launched Terra Cut, a new manufactured stone collection. Terra Cut’s design is a mix of three different stone styles--weatherworn, coarse-grained, and coral. The combination provides a visually stimulation with shadow and texture variations, Heritage Stone says.  The collection is available in three color options: slate, russet, and summit. The firm says its slate hue is unique because it’s blended with hints of brown, rust, and plum shadings, which give it more dimension. 

A Royal Estate

Royal Building Products launched Estate, an engineered vinyl siding that’s made to look like natural wood. Estate features a 5/8-inch butt height, .044-inch panel thickness, partial rollover hem, the ability to withstand up to 180 mph winds, and a double lifetime warranty that includes color and hail protection. The new siding line is available in UV-resistant standard colors and Royal’s ColorScapes options, which have enhanced color protection. Estate is offered in four profiles: double 4-inch, double 4.5-inch designer, double 5-inch designer and colonial beaded.

Game-changing Clip 

Nichiha USA has introduced the Ultimate Clip, made with stainless steel and covered in a corrosion-resistant coating, designed to make installation faster and easier for its fiber cement and architectural wall panels. The new clip system features a starter track and a single model of clips, which can be used for all installations, no matter the size or style of the panel. At 26 inches long, only two clips are required for a six-foot panel. It also boasts a larger surface area, which enhances wind resistance for fiber cement panels, and a built-in rainscreen allows moisture to drain and dry. Nichiha says the Ultimate Clip will allow its panels to be installed on taller structures and more complicated façades.