Low Maintenance Siding Materials to Consider in Colorado (And where to find them)

(Note: See this post for our 2022 guide to siding materials.)

With so many siding materials out there, how do you know what is right for your home or business? To understand what type of siding is best for you, we created a siding cost comparison guide highlighting the pros and cons of popular siding materials and outline some of the best manufacturers to consider as you weigh the options.

In Colorado, the best siding materials are durable and can withstand extreme weather conditions. Not only does choosing durable siding material increase home value, this one decision can cut costs of repair, maintenance, and reduce chances for siding replacement all together.

Here's what you should know:

Fiber Cement Siding (Manufacturer: James Hardie)

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement is a man-made material - a mixture of wood fibers, cement, and sand. You can rarely see fiber cement in its pure form since it is mostly made to mimic other materials, especially wood.
  • How many years does it last? - The expected lifespan of fiber cement is 30 years, but the material can last over 50 years in the right conditions. This will depend on manufacturing quality, weather, and maintenance.
  • Maintenance requirements - Fiber cement is the lowest-maintenance siding for Colorado homes. You should power wash it once or twice a year and do regular inspections for cracks or damage every few years.
  • Average costs: The cost of fiber cement depends on the local market and home's size. The average cost of fiber cement is $6 to $13 per square foot including labor and materials. If you need to remove previous fiber cement siding, you can expect an additional cost up to $3000.
  • Durability: Fiber cement is a heavy material, fully resistant to water, insect damage, and rot. It's also has a Class (A) 1 fire rating.
  • Color options: Fiber cement can imitate many materials and comes in various colors including brown, blue, green, and white. You can explore a variety of color options at James Hardie.
Wood Composite Siding (Manufacturer: LP SmartSide)

Wood composite siding

Also known as engineered wood siding, a great alternative to natural wood siding. This material is a mix of multiple components which are bonded with resins. It comprises real scrap wood, similar to wood shavings and sawdust and has the same look as natural wood with more resistance to moisture and cracking. Over time, the coat is susceptible to cracks as a result of old age or damage reducing the siding's moisture resistance
  • How many years does it last? The expected lifespan of wood composite siding is 30 years. If it's in ideal climate conditions and if you treat it properly, it can last up to 100.
  • Maintenance Requirements - Wash wood composite siding once a year. Every 5-6 years you should also seal, paint, varnish, and stain the siding to increase its resistance, especially if your home has direct sun exposure.
  • Average LP Smart Siding costs: Wood composite siding is very affordable, compared to other products. You can expect to spend $7.00 – 14.50 per square foot including installation on wood composite siding.
  • Durability: This material is ideal for areas with extreme temperature variations. It is also resistant to moisture, insects, and fire. But if you don't maintain it regularly, it will wear and tear. LP Siding ratings are high, so you can rest assured that you're getting quality materials when you choose this manufacturer.
  • Color options: It comes in various colors and styles. You can discover the color options at LP or Diamond Kote. If you want to cut costs, you can order a ready-to-paint material and paint your composite wood siding yourself.
Diamond Kote Siding (Manufacturer: LP Diamond Kote)

LP Diamond Kote Siding

Diamond Kote Siding is a finisher product made by LP - elastomeric coatings with resistance to fading, moisture cracking and peeling. The final product is a combination of the superior wood composite siding from LP SmartSide and the innovative color technology of Diamond Kote. But high-quality comes for a high price. This is the major disadvantage of Diamond Kote siding.
  • How many years does it last? Diamond Kote offers a 30-year no-fade warranty for their siding products. Usually, no-fade warranties for other materials last up to 15 years.
  • Maintenance requirements: Diamond Kote siding is scratch-resistant and doesn't need repainting, unlike other wood composite products. You should wash it once or twice a year, but don't use a power washer since it can discolor and damage the siding.
  • Average costs: The average cost for Diamond Kote siding is an additional $1.75-$3.15 per square foot on top of their $7 to $14.50 per square foot. Compared to other siding materials, the price is high, but since it doesn't fade and need repainting, you can save a lot of money in the long run.
  • Durability: Diamond Kote Siding is made to last. It can withstand everything, from freezing conditions to heavy humidity due to superior finish and non-porous surface.
  • Color options: Red, blue, brown, green…you name it! Diamond Kote are experts for refinishing and colors.
Vinyl Siding (Manufacturers: Plygem and Norandex)

Ply Gem Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is a synthetic material, very popular among Colorado homeowners because of its low cost, and low maintenance. It also comes in many forms including shakes, shingles, panels, and fish scales. However, vinyl is not as eco-friendly as other materials and is more vulnerable to wind and high temperatures.
  • How many years does it last? Usually, vinyl lasts between 20 and 40 years. These numbers mostly depend on manufacturing, installation, weather, sun exposure, and maintenance.
  • Maintenance requirements: Vinyl siding is low maintenance and colors don’t fade. You should pressure wash vinyl siding once every one to two years and inspect for leaks, mold, loose nails, and cracks. Repainting is needed if the material gets burnt or damaged.
  • Average costs: The cost for vinyl siding can vary drastically by contractor and is on average, $7.50 per square foot including installation. Costs can be as low as $4 per square foot ranging up to $12 per square foot.
  • Durability: Vinyl is widely known as durable and resistant. However, when compared to fiber cement and engineered wood, it isn't as weather-resistant as people think. If it's not properly installed, it can also fall victim to mold and rot.
  • Color options: Vinyl is a man-made material with a broad color choice. If you want to find out more, check out some top manufacturers – Ply Gem and Norandex.
Wood Siding – Cedar 

Cedar Siding

Wood siding can be created from cedar, pine, cypress, redwood and many other timbers. We recommend cedar siding of those options because it is the most durable and requires the least amount of maintenance. Many homeowners who have a deep love for nature choose cedar siding. It has a unique look, is biodegradable, and has impeccable thermal insulation. However, cedar siding is neither a low-maintenance siding nor a cost-effective one.

  • How many years does it last? Usually, cedar siding lasts between 20 and 30 years. Even if you maintain it properly, some planks will need to be replaced after 10 or 15 years.
  • Maintenance requirements: You should pressure wash and remove debris once a year. Since cedar easily wears and tears, you must repaint it regularly to maintain the quality and appearance. Applying a layer of primer is recommended before painting adding cost.
  • Average costs: The average cost for cedar siding per square foot ranges between $3 and $10, depending on manufacturing and sourcing.
  • Durability: Cedar provides high structural stability. Even though it's vulnerable to rot and moisture, it can withstand wind and impact like no other material.
  • Color options: Cedar siding has almost unlimited color options. You can choose solid color finished or semi-transparent ones if you want to highlight its natural look.

Not All Siding is Created Equal

Not all siding is created equal. The major reason is the difference between manufacturers, where they source materials, how materials are made and what type of affect the creation and disposal of their products have on the environment. So how do you know which siding manufacturer is best for your project? At Endeavor Exteriors we always partner and recommend the following manufacturers due to their commitment to high-quality and performance standards, as well as reducing environmental impact:
  • James Hardie – An industry leader with a long history, James Hardie specializes in fiber gypsum products. They pioneered the technology for fiber cement products in the 80's. The company currently has over 4800 employees all over the world and continues to be leaders in the manufacturing and construction industry.
  • LP Smartside/ Diamond Kote – LP Smartside are titans in the composite wood industry. Their products can withstand weather like no other product on the market. They are partners with Diamond Kote. Together, they create siding with the strongest base and refinish.
  • EDCO – With 75+ years of experience in manufacturing, EDCO is an industry leader for manufacturing pre-finished metal siding products in the US. They have a vast range of products including roofing, siding, soffit, fascia, and gutters systems. EDCO values sustainability. Nearly all of their products are 100% recyclable.
  • Ply Gem – A division of Cornerstone Building Brands, Ply Gem is a leader of exterior building products. They produce almost everything, from windows and patio doors to stone veneers and fences. Their specialty though is windows, vinyl siding, and metal accessories which undergo rigorous tests to ensure maximum performance in all weather.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Siding

There are several factors to keep in mind when choosing the perfect siding for your home. Some of these factors will only affect cost while others will influence your comfort level and environmental impact.
  • Local sourcing - The most eco-friendly siding for Colorado homes is locally sourced. Transportation is a serious environmental issue. If you source your products locally, you will reduce transport pollution and contribute to a better environment. Plus, it's a great way to show appreciation for your local heritage and culture.
  • Energy efficiency - Another way to reduce pollution is to choose building materials with high energy efficiency. Decide based on the R-value of the siding product. R-value stands for the capacity of a material to resist heat flow. This measurement is determined by the insulation and thickness of your exterior wall. The higher value, the greater savings on heating and cooling.
    • Wood Shingle Siding: R-Value of 0.87
    • Beveled Wood Siding: R-Value of 0.81
    • Non-Insulated Aluminum, Steel, or Vinyl: R-Value of 0.61
    • Brick or Stone: R-Value of 0.44
    • 2-inch Stucco: R-Value of 0.40
    • Fiber Cement: R-Value of 0.15-0.37
    • 1-inch Brick or Stone Veneer: R-Value of 0.11
  • Manufacturing - If you really want to contribute to the environment, always collaborate with reputable companies that value sustainability. Some companies make sure they implement eco-friendly solutions while others offer recyclable or recycled products. Manufacturing will also influence your comfort, since high-quality siding has better insulation qualities.
  • Labor - Something that is frequently overlooked during a renovation is labor. Heavy materials require more labor and time to install. For example, installing fiber cement siding is more expensive than vinyl siding installation.
  • Recyclability - We previously mentioned how certain manufacturers offer recycled or reusable products. You can choose a siding based on its recyclability but have in mind that each state and country has different capabilities and rules for recycling construction materials. Visit Colorado's environmental center to find out more about your options. The state regulations can also prevent contractors from recycling. Another limitation is logistics, which can be an enormous obstacle for contractors who want to recycle.

So, What Siding has the Best ROI?

At the end of the day, you still have to make a decision on what siding is best for you. Knowing what material has the best ROI is helpful, but a better place to start is to answer one question: What is YOUR goal?

If your goal is:

  • Resale value: According to NAR's 2019 Remodeling Impact Report, vinyl and fiber cement have the highest resale values. Vinyl has an ROI of 63% while fiber cement has an ROI of 76%.
  • Low-Maintenance: Some materials such as natural wood require regular refinishing and repair. So if you like the aesthetic of wood but don't like to spend money on paint, choose another alternative. Fiber cement has the same look as wood without the maintenance.
  • Affordability: This will vary based on the material you choose. Selecting higher quality materials will cost more, sure, however financing options can provide an affordable monthly cost to meet your budget.
  • Durability: Look at the material's moisture, wind, and impact resistance to learn which is the best option for your home. For example, vinyl has low impact resistance and is vulnerable to wind. To cut costs on potential repairs, choose a stronger material.
  • Quality: Lower quality products will need to be replaced sooner and need more frequent repairs and maintenance. For example, most composite wood siding products need repainting. However, Diamond Kote's engineered wood siding can last for up to 30 years without ever needing a new fresh coat of paint. High-quality products are also more energy-efficient.

And the Winner is...

James Hardie Lap Siding James Hardie Fiber Cement. When comparing all the options, you can’t beat the 30 year warranty, 50 year life expectancy and return on investment at 76%. Fiber cement was even designed to replace the asbestos siding products to create a safer environment. Specifically, James Hardie discontinued manufacturing and distributing building materials containing asbestos in 1987. Will fiber cement siding last forever? No. Will fading occur? Yes. Nothing last forever but it’s a pretty solid choice when looking at all the factors for your Colorado home or business.