Launch Slideshow

CalStar. Made with fly ash, water, and sand and manufactured with a vibro-compaction process and cured for less time and at a lower temperature, CalStar bricks generate 85% less CO2 and use 85% less energy in production than traditional fired clay, the company says. The bricks incorporate 40% recycled content. A range of colors is available. 510.793.9500. www.calstarproducts.com.

13 Cladding Products

13 Cladding Products

  • Collins. TruWood engineered wood siding comes in a range of styles, including 1/2-inch Cottage Lap, 1/2-inch panel, and 1/2-inch cedar shake lap. The product is SCS certified for a minimum of 25% recycled content and is available FSC certified. It is designed to eliminate splitting, cracking, and checking, the company says, and comes pre-primed. 800.329.1219. www.collinsco.com.

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    Collins. TruWood engineered wood siding comes in a range of styles, including 1/2-inch Cottage Lap, 1/2-inch panel, and 1/2-inch cedar shake lap. The product is SCS certified for a minimum of 25% recycled content and is available FSC certified. It is designed to eliminate splitting, cracking, and checking, the company says, and comes pre-primed. 800.329.1219. www.collinsco.com.

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    Collins. TruWood engineered wood siding comes in a range of styles, including 1/2-inch Cottage Lap, 1/2-inch panel, and 1/2-inch cedar shake lap. The product is SCS certified for a minimum of 25% recycled content and is available FSC certified. It is designed to eliminate splitting, cracking, and checking, the company says, and comes pre-primed. 800.329.1219. www.collinsco.com.

  • Western Red Cedar Lumber Association. Available in a range of patterns and grades, Western red cedar is naturally resistant to decay and insects and can be left untreated for a natural patina or painted or stained. Wood from SFI-, FSC-, and CSA-certified forests can be specified. The product is stable and will remain straight and lie flat. 866.778.9096. www.wrcla.org.

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    Western Red Cedar Lumber Association. Available in a range of patterns and grades, Western red cedar is naturally resistant to decay and insects and can be left untreated for a natural patina or painted or stained. Wood from SFI-, FSC-, and CSA-certified forests can be specified. The product is stable and will remain straight and lie flat. 866.778.9096. www.wrcla.org.

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    Western Red Cedar Lumber Association. Available in a range of patterns and grades, Western red cedar is naturally resistant to decay and insects and can be left untreated for a natural patina or painted or stained. Wood from SFI-, FSC-, and CSA-certified forests can be specified. The product is stable and will remain straight and lie flat. 866.778.9096. www.wrcla.org.

  • CertainTeed. The companys CedarBoards D6 insulated vinyl siding is made with 60% recycled content that includes post-consumer vinyl siding. The foam backing boosts a walls R-value, enabling an Energy Star rating for the panels, and provides rigidity and impact resistance. The TrueTexture rough cedar finish is molded from real cedar boards. Eighteen colors are available. 800.233.8990. www.certainteed.com.

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    CertainTeed. The companys CedarBoards D6 insulated vinyl siding is made with 60% recycled content that includes post-consumer vinyl siding. The foam backing boosts a walls R-value, enabling an Energy Star rating for the panels, and provides rigidity and impact resistance. The TrueTexture rough cedar finish is molded from real cedar boards. Eighteen colors are available. 800.233.8990. www.certainteed.com.

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    CertainTeed. The companys CedarBoards D6 insulated vinyl siding is made with 60% recycled content that includes post-consumer vinyl siding. The foam backing boosts a walls R-value, enabling an Energy Star rating for the panels, and provides rigidity and impact resistance. The TrueTexture rough cedar finish is molded from real cedar boards. Eighteen colors are available. 800.233.8990. www.certainteed.com.

  • Boral Bricks. The companys bricks are made with clay and shale and are manufactured near the source. Options include traditional face brick in a range of colors and 17th Century Brick, which is formed in a handcrafted, sand-dusted wooden mold so that no two are exactly alike. Shown here is Indian River face brick. 800.526.7255. www.boralbricks.com.

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    Boral Bricks. The companys bricks are made with clay and shale and are manufactured near the source. Options include traditional face brick in a range of colors and 17th Century Brick, which is formed in a handcrafted, sand-dusted wooden mold so that no two are exactly alike. Shown here is Indian River face brick. 800.526.7255. www.boralbricks.com.

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    Boral Bricks. The companys bricks are made with clay and shale and are manufactured near the source. Options include traditional face brick in a range of colors and 17th Century Brick, which is formed in a handcrafted, sand-dusted wooden mold so that no two are exactly alike. Shown here is Indian River face brick. 800.526.7255. www.boralbricks.com.

  • LP. The SFI-certified trees (primarily aspen) used to manufacture SmartSide engineered wood siding are small and readily renewable, the maker says, harvested every seven to 10 years. The entire tree is used in manufacture, with the bark used to power the plant. SmartSide is bound with a low-emitting, urea formaldehydefree MDI resin and is treated with EPA-registered zinc borate. It comes pre-primed and can be pre-finished or finished on site. 888.820.0325. www.lpcorp.com.

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    LP. The SFI-certified trees (primarily aspen) used to manufacture SmartSide engineered wood siding are small and readily renewable, the maker says, harvested every seven to 10 years. The entire tree is used in manufacture, with the bark used to power the plant. SmartSide is bound with a low-emitting, urea formaldehydefree MDI resin and is treated with EPA-registered zinc borate. It comes pre-primed and can be pre-finished or finished on site. 888.820.0325. www.lpcorp.com.

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    LP. The SFI-certified trees (primarily aspen) used to manufacture SmartSide engineered wood siding are small and readily renewable, the maker says, harvested every seven to 10 years. The entire tree is used in manufacture, with the bark used to power the plant. SmartSide is bound with a low-emitting, urea formaldehydefree MDI resin and is treated with EPA-registered zinc borate. It comes pre-primed and can be pre-finished or finished on site. 888.820.0325. www.lpcorp.com.

  • James Hardie. The re-engineered HardieShingle fiber-cement siding line offers an authentic-looking wood-grain appearance in a straight-edge panel, a staggered-edge panel, and individual shingles in five widths. The siding is available primed or with ColorPlus pre-finishing. Under the companys HardieZone system, each panel is engineered to meet the needs of the region in which it is installed. 888.542.7343. www.jameshardie.com.

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    James Hardie. The re-engineered HardieShingle fiber-cement siding line offers an authentic-looking wood-grain appearance in a straight-edge panel, a staggered-edge panel, and individual shingles in five widths. The siding is available primed or with ColorPlus pre-finishing. Under the companys HardieZone system, each panel is engineered to meet the needs of the region in which it is installed. 888.542.7343. www.jameshardie.com.

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    Lee Webb (714) 240-1200

    James Hardie. The re-engineered HardieShingle fiber-cement siding line offers an authentic-looking wood-grain appearance in a straight-edge panel, a staggered-edge panel, and individual shingles in five widths. The siding is available primed or with ColorPlus pre-finishing. Under the companys HardieZone system, each panel is engineered to meet the needs of the region in which it is installed. 888.542.7343. www.jameshardie.com.

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    Eldorado Stone. Made with cement with lightweight aggregates, the company’s manufactured stone is lighter weight and lower cost than natural stone and has a lower waste factor. Color is provided by natural iron oxides. Some of the products contain recycled content in the form of fly ash. They have an average R-value of 0.41 per inch. A range of regional and national profiles is available; Cut Coarse Stone is shown here. 800.925.1491. www.eldoradostone.com.

  • EcoStucco. Made with limestone, EcoStucco requires about 40% less CO2 to produce than Portland cementbased stucco, the manufacturer says. The lime plaster can be used with most substrates, including blue board, concrete, and masonry. The product comes in 216 standard colors made with natural pigments and five textures. 415.455.9896. www.ecostucco.com.

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    EcoStucco. Made with limestone, EcoStucco requires about 40% less CO2 to produce than Portland cementbased stucco, the manufacturer says. The lime plaster can be used with most substrates, including blue board, concrete, and masonry. The product comes in 216 standard colors made with natural pigments and five textures. 415.455.9896. www.ecostucco.com.

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    EcoStucco. Made with limestone, EcoStucco requires about 40% less CO2 to produce than Portland cementbased stucco, the manufacturer says. The lime plaster can be used with most substrates, including blue board, concrete, and masonry. The product comes in 216 standard colors made with natural pigments and five textures. 415.455.9896. www.ecostucco.com.

  • Tapco. Foundry vinyl cedar shake siding features a rough-sawn look and staggered butt ends and varied widths for a cedar appearance. It comes in 7- and 10-inch exposures and is available with Fullback, a foam backer that adds a 3.96 R-value. The company participates in EcoScorecard, which allows contractors to see how products qualify under green project rating systems. 800.771.4486. www.foundrysiding.com.

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    Tapco. Foundry vinyl cedar shake siding features a rough-sawn look and staggered butt ends and varied widths for a cedar appearance. It comes in 7- and 10-inch exposures and is available with Fullback, a foam backer that adds a 3.96 R-value. The company participates in EcoScorecard, which allows contractors to see how products qualify under green project rating systems. 800.771.4486. www.foundrysiding.com.

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    Tapco. Foundry vinyl cedar shake siding features a rough-sawn look and staggered butt ends and varied widths for a cedar appearance. It comes in 7- and 10-inch exposures and is available with Fullback, a foam backer that adds a 3.96 R-value. The company participates in EcoScorecard, which allows contractors to see how products qualify under green project rating systems. 800.771.4486. www.foundrysiding.com.

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    Sto. Comprised of StoGuard spray-on waterproofing/air barrier, adhesive, and StoTherm EIFS, StoTherm NExT provides a complete wall system of physically and chemically compatible components. The StoGuard continuous air and moisture barrier is seamless and durable, the maker says, and resists moisture penetration more than five times longer than traditional housewraps. The EIFS consist of a base coat with 17% recycled content, embedded glass-fiber mesh, and a 100% acrylic polymer-based or silicone-enhanced textured finish coat. The company's Lotusan finish mimics the properties of a lotus leaf to repel water, resist mold, and rinse clean with rainfall. 800.221.2397. http://www.stocorp.com/.

  • Owens Corning. Cultured Stone manufactured stone is made with a minimum 35% recycled aggregate as certified by UL Environment; the products also are Greenguard certified. The product is lighter weight and easier to install than natural stone; the variety of styles and textures are created from molds of natural stones. Del Mare Ledgestone in Sangria is shown here. 800.438.7465. www.culturedstone.com.

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    Owens Corning. Cultured Stone manufactured stone is made with a minimum 35% recycled aggregate as certified by UL Environment; the products also are Greenguard certified. The product is lighter weight and easier to install than natural stone; the variety of styles and textures are created from molds of natural stones. Del Mare Ledgestone in Sangria is shown here. 800.438.7465. www.culturedstone.com.

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    Owens Corning. Cultured Stone manufactured stone is made with a minimum 35% recycled aggregate as certified by UL Environment; the products also are Greenguard certified. The product is lighter weight and easier to install than natural stone; the variety of styles and textures are created from molds of natural stones. Del Mare Ledgestone in Sangria is shown here. 800.438.7465. www.culturedstone.com.

  • BASF. Senergy Senturion III water-drainage EIFS features a secondary air/water-resistive barrier and a pre-formed drainage mat that channels incidental moisture to the exterior. The mechanically fastened EPS insulation board provides an additional R-value of 4 per inch. The 100% acrylic reinforced base coat is crack resistant, the company says, and the 100% acrylic finish coat resists fading and abrasion; finish coatings with additional dirt and mildew resistance can be specified. A standard palette of 128 colors, along with unlimited custom colors, is available. 800.221.9255. www.senergy.basf.com.

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    BASF. Senergy Senturion III water-drainage EIFS features a secondary air/water-resistive barrier and a pre-formed drainage mat that channels incidental moisture to the exterior. The mechanically fastened EPS insulation board provides an additional R-value of 4 per inch. The 100% acrylic reinforced base coat is crack resistant, the company says, and the 100% acrylic finish coat resists fading and abrasion; finish coatings with additional dirt and mildew resistance can be specified. A standard palette of 128 colors, along with unlimited custom colors, is available. 800.221.9255. www.senergy.basf.com.

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    BASF. Senergy Senturion III water-drainage EIFS features a secondary air/water-resistive barrier and a pre-formed drainage mat that channels incidental moisture to the exterior. The mechanically fastened EPS insulation board provides an additional R-value of 4 per inch. The 100% acrylic reinforced base coat is crack resistant, the company says, and the 100% acrylic finish coat resists fading and abrasion; finish coatings with additional dirt and mildew resistance can be specified. A standard palette of 128 colors, along with unlimited custom colors, is available. 800.221.9255. www.senergy.basf.com.

  • CalStar. Made with fly ash, water, and sand and manufactured with a vibro-compaction process and cured for less time and at a lower temperature, CalStar bricks generate 85% less CO2 and use 85% less energy in production than traditional fired clay, the company says. The bricks incorporate 40% recycled content. A range of colors is available. 510.793.9500. www.calstarproducts.com.

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    CalStar. Made with fly ash, water, and sand and manufactured with a vibro-compaction process and cured for less time and at a lower temperature, CalStar bricks generate 85% less CO2 and use 85% less energy in production than traditional fired clay, the company says. The bricks incorporate 40% recycled content. A range of colors is available. 510.793.9500. www.calstarproducts.com.

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    CalStar. Made with fly ash, water, and sand and manufactured with a vibro-compaction process and cured for less time and at a lower temperature, CalStar bricks generate 85% less CO2 and use 85% less energy in production than traditional fired clay, the company says. The bricks incorporate 40% recycled content. A range of colors is available. 510.793.9500. www.calstarproducts.com.

Like many building product categories, choosing siding for a green-built home is far from cut-and-dried. Among mainstream cladding materials, each product comes with its own set of features and benefits, both from a sustainability perspective and from the attributes of price, installation, appropriateness for climate, and aesthetics. As such, while certain products have emerged as leaders in the green-building industry, no option is perfect. Perhaps this is to be expected, considering we rely on cladding materials to protect homes from the worst Mother Nature can throw at them—and still look good doing it.

“There is no silver bullet,” confirms Vladimir Kochkin, division director at the NAHB Research Center. “And that’s true for almost any product or material.”

Unfortunately, there’s also no category-wide certification program to use as an overall guide, although some manufacturers have obtained third-party verifications for attributes like recycled content and air quality. And most claddings qualify for points under LEED for Homes and the National Green Building Standard.

The first decision for choosing a siding material must come down to what’s suitable for and allowable in your market and location. Following that, here’s a breakdown of how the major types of residential cladding compare on common attributes for green-built homes.

Fiber Cement

Fiber cement has become a go-to product for many green builders, who appreciate its durability and a look that replicates wood but with lower maintenance. Made with cement, sand, and cellulose fiber, the non-combustible material is resistant to rot and termites, according to ToolBase, carries warranties as long as 50 years, and costs less than wood and stucco.

“What [builders like] first is the durability,” says Prashant Panchal, director of marketing for James Hardie. “Secondly, it’s what the product is made of … None of these elements are toxic.”

One environmental drawback to fiber cement is its high embodied energy during manufacture. Our friends at Environmental Building News also caution that some of the cellulose content may come long distances, so be sure to get documentation on origins.

Fiber-cement planks with recycled content in the form of fly ash are available, such as those from CertainTeed. And though fly ash has recently come under the EPA’s microscope for concerns over hazards in disposal, “beneficial reuse” applications—such as encapsulated in concrete or brick—are exempt.

Because of silica dust, installers should cut outdoors and wear a respirator. Upon tear-down, fiber cement can’t be remanufactured, but it can be ground up for use as fill.

Manufacturers and green experts recommend pre-finishing, which provides an emissions-controlled environment; it also better ensures a quality application and may be required for some warranties.