Choosing Sides: A Buyer’s Guide to Exterior Choices

Gentek_Blog 2.56.08 PMAside from brick and stone, there are several other home exterior siding options. With 50 years of manufacturing experience, Gentek is well-equipped to offer you this primer, designed to help you choose what type of exterior cladding is best for you, or better understand the type you already have.

Vinyl Siding:  Made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), vinyl siding is inexpensive, durable and needs little maintenance. It is available in a wide range of colours, including darker, richer tones, and does not fade excessively. Technology has significantly improved the quality of vinyl siding, a big part of the reason it is the number one exterior cladding choice across Canada and the United States.

Aluminum Siding: Aluminum siding became popular after WWII but in the past couple of decades has become a less common choice. It is not as durable as vinyl siding as it can dent, scratch and fade.  A plus is that it can be repainted using oil-based paint.

Polymer Siding: Made from polypropylene resin, polymer siding utilizes an injection molding process that enables the final product to have a highly defined three-dimensional pattern in a variety of styles, sizes and colours. It has become quite popular in the past decade, both for accent and whole-home siding. It is now available in profiles that mimic stone and brick, as well as the ‘shake and shingle’ look. Gentek offers polymer siding by both Novik ( and Foundry (

Composite Siding: Composite siding can be constructed from a wide variety of materials and made to look like wood. It has become very popular over the last 20 years, with the most popular composite siding known as ‘fiber cement.’ Manufacturers claim it can withstand rain, hail and wind. It is available in a wide variety of colours. On the downside, composite siding is very heavy, which makes it difficult to install. It also has surface irregularities and is a poor thermal conductor.

Stucco: A material made from an aggregate, a binder and water, stucco can be applied in a variety of ways. Hand-trowelled remains the most common. It can be smooth, rough or somewhere in between.  Great care must be taken to ensure that stucco remains watertight. If water gets under the stucco it will make it come off the home. As a result, proper installation is critically important.

Wood Siding: Beautiful in appearance, wood siding requires high maintenance and can rot over time. Wood siding is manufactured in a variety of types such as shake, clapboard, singles or lap. It is finished in stains, paints or sealants. Due to its porous nature, wood siding needs to be installed over a moisture barrier.