Looking to learn more about composite cladding and all of its benefits? From sustainability to maintenance and everything in between, here are five things to consider when choosing composite siding for your home.

Three photos of home exteriors with different siding colours.

We had to make a lot of compromises when building our sustainable home. Before the build, the three things I was set on for the exterior were solar panels, metal roofing and composite siding. And while I’m happy to report we ended up with two of those three items, we weren’t able to go with the composite siding and instead went with the most popular – and affordable – choice where we live, which is vinyl.

There isn’t much I would change about our home, but I won’t lie and say I don’t often dream of durable cladding boards made from recycled fibers… especially whenever I look at the hole in our vinyl siding directly behind the back door. (That’s what happens when you choose the “cheap” option.)

If you’re considering composite siding and want to learn more about this popular exterior finish, read on! It may not be the type of siding we have on our home, but a girl can dream.

Note that this post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you click on a link and make a purchase a small percentage of the sale goes to yours truly. Please know that I strive to only feature eco-conscious products and brands.

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What is Composite Cladding?

Composite cladding is a type of exterior siding that can be made out of a blend of materials such as fiberglass, resin and wood. And although you can buy composite wall cladding that looks like a number of other finishes, this type of siding was originally meant to simulate wood – without the maintenance required to upkeep a wood exterior.

Sometimes people use the terms composite wooden cladding and hardie board interchangeably, but they are actually different. Hardie board is a name brand for a specific fiberglass based siding made up of Portland cement, cellulose fibers, sand and some other additives. Meanwhile, the more general term composite wood cladding can mean any type of siding made from a mixture of a variety of materials that has a wood-like appearance.

A home's front porch with grey siding and white wicker patio furniture.
(Image Credit: Oakio)

How Sustainable is Composite Cladding Siding?

Not all composite siding is created equal, and while most manufacturers of composite products will tell you they’re an “eco-friendly choice,” its best not to just take their word for it and do a bit of your own research. Composite siding products are usually made from reclaimed wood, plastic and other waste materials, though the percent of recycled content varies. 

When on the search for composite exterior siding panels, look for products that come with third-party certification. Third-party certifications mean the products meet the standards of an independent organization. A few certifications to be aware of are the Green Building Council and the Forest Stewardship Council.

A dark grey home exterior with white flowers planted in front.
(Image Credit: Plank and Pillow)

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How Long Does Composite Exterior Cladding Last?

One of the main reasons why composite wall cladding is considered sustainable is its durability and longevity. Certainly, wood is a renewable resource and there are so many benefits to using wood products both inside and outside our homes. The house my mom grew up in (which my grandfather built and sadly was torn down) had beautiful white wooden siding. However, I remember as a kid the paint was always peeling and the wood was definitely showing its age.

On the other hand, a high-quality composite siding can last for fifty years if it’s well taken care of. Composite siding is often recommended for harsh climates (such as where I live), as well as for homes located in areas of high humidity or with high salt content in the air due to proximity to the ocean.

A home exterior with grey and stone siding with small plants in front.
(Image Credit: The Creativity Exchange)

How Easy is Exterior Composite Cladding to Maintain?

Not to knock wood siding again – because I really do think it’s beautiful, but it does require a lot of maintenance work. It needs to be painted or stained every few years. You need to keep on top of replacing warped or rotting boards. And experts recommend an annual wash – by hand! – as things like pressure washers can damage the wood.

Meanwhile, composite siding can easily be hosed off as needed and usually needs very little repairs because its so durable. But because no exterior material is infallible, some maintenance items you may need to tackle with composite siding are cracked or broken boards or bubbles in the finish.

A home exterior with stone and dark grey siding with a rock planter out front.
(Image Credit: Chris Loves Julia)

Additional Benefits of Composite Wall Cladding: Insulation, Sound Dampening and Fire Resistance

People interested in wood composite siding may not realize that this product actually provides additional insulation for your home.  A good-quality composite will provide an additional R-value of 2 to 4. In comparison, vinyl siding has an R-value of less than 1, while wood siding hovers around an R-value of 1.5.

Composite siding is also known for its ability to dampen sound, which may be particularly appealing if you live in a busy city or near a highway. And perhaps most importantly, especially considering the rise of wildfires in many parts of the world (mine included), some composite siding products also come with a fire rating.

A home exterior with natural wood siding and black window frames.
(Image Credit: Melanie Jade Design)

All of that info and I never got around to talking about the range of colours and finishes you can find within the realm of composite siding. If you need help choosing finishes for your home’s exterior – or interior – consider a free consultation with me! 



Four different home exteriors with a variety of siding colors and textures with text 5 reasons to consider composite cladding for you green home.

Posted on May 22, 2024

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5 Reasons to Consider Composite Cladding for Your Sustainable Home

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