The three synthetic home siding types (vinyl, composite and cedar impressions) share one positive aspect -- they are all sustainable. Each is made of at least 50 to 60 percent recycled products.
Wood siding has long been a popular choice for homeowners -- but as other, more easily cared for siding materials have been introduced to the market, it's become less so. Its drawbacks include its need for constant upkeep and maintenance, and its low effectiveness as insulation. Still, many homeowners are charmed by the natural beauty of wood.
Vinyl performs very well, regardless of the climate, and does not need much maintenance, which is something most homeowners are happy to do without. Experts say the material just needs cleaning once a year with soap and water. This option is the least expensive and definitely has its drawbacks. Often the look is not as sleek as homeowners would like, because of trim pieces that need to be placed at corners, windows and doors.
Composite siding requires painting, but there are so many options that it removes the need for a pocketed accessory item. It's costlier than vinyl because of its shape, but it's fireproof and rot-resistant and holds paint very well. It can be hard to work with, though, and requires special cutting tools.
Cedar impressions are the most expensive of these sidings, but it provides a great look and fits into more architectural styles. Carter, who runs Askthebuilder.com in an effort to demistify the often confusing world of homeownership, says it's the most beautiful, and is easy to work with. "Every other siding tries to mimic it, he says, but he cautions that this type of siding, which is already costly, will require maintenance.