Cladding VS. Siding – Differences, Selection, Installation & More

Cladding VS Siding

Last Updated on July 19, 2023 By Emma W. Thomas

Cladding and siding are exterior covering options for buildings. Cladding is a non-load-bearing layer, often made of materials like metal, wood, or composite, which shields the structure and enhances its appearance. In contrast, siding is typically made of vinyl, wood, or fiber cement and serves both decorative and protective purposes. While cladding offers versatility and modern aesthetics, siding provides easy installation and low maintenance. Cladding tends to be more expensive due to its high-quality materials, whereas siding offers budget-friendly options.

Cladding VS. Siding – Differences

DefinitionNon-load-bearing exterior layerExterior covering for buildings
MaterialsMetal, wood, composite, etc.Vinyl, wood, fiber cement, etc.
PurposeShields structure and enhances looksOffers both protection and decoration
InstallationRequires professional installationEasier DIY installation
MaintenanceMay require more maintenanceLow maintenance and easy to clean
CostGenerally more expensiveBudget-friendly options available
AestheticsModern and versatile appearanceVarious styles and designs are available
ProtectionProvides high-level protectionOffers moderate protection
SuitabilitySuitable for contemporary designsFits traditional and modern buildings
LongevityDurable and long-lastingDecent lifespan with proper upkeep

Cladding vs Siding: When To Use Each One

Cladding and siding serve different purposes and have distinct characteristics, making them suitable for various scenarios. Here’s when to use each one:

Use Cladding When:

  1. High Protection is Needed: Cladding offers excellent protection against the elements, making it ideal for buildings in harsh climates or locations prone to extreme weather conditions.
  2. Modern Aesthetics: Cladding provides a contemporary and sleek appearance, making it a preferred choice for modern architectural designs or when a sophisticated look is desired.
  3. Versatility: Cladding comes in various materials, allowing for creative and unique designs, making it suitable for projects with specific aesthetic requirements.
  4. Premium Budget: If the budget allows for higher upfront costs, cladding’s durable and long-lasting nature can justify the investment over time.

Use Siding When:

  1. Budget Constraints: Siding is generally more budget-friendly, making it a practical choice for projects with cost limitations.
  2. Easy Installation: Siding is often designed for straightforward DIY installation, making it a suitable option for smaller projects or homeowners who prefer to do the work themselves.
  3. Low Maintenance: Siding materials like vinyl and fiber cement require minimal upkeep, making it suitable for those seeking a hassle-free exterior solution.
  4. Traditional and Versatile Styles: Siding offers a wide range of traditional and versatile styles, making it suitable for various architectural designs, including both modern and classic aesthetics.

What Is The Difference Between Cladding And Siding?

Cladding and siding are frequently used interchangeably, but there is a significant difference. Yes, you will need to clad and side your wall to make it aesthetic, but here are the differences in application, design, and sturdiness. Let’s break them down. 


Cladding is applied indirectly to a wall by using a foam board. It will significantly reduce energy costs, allow water evaporation, and promote airflow. Usually, a ventilation cavity between the water-resistive barrier and the cladding material forms the rain screen. 

You may also apply cladding to windows, roof lights, and gutters. Cladding is mainly used to provide an extra layer of protection and, therefore, an excellent option for exterior walls.

Siding is predominantly used on the exterior surface of the building, especially on aluminum, vinyl, wood, or engineered materials to enhance the façade of a building. Siding is also applied directly to wood as it minimizes heat loss. However, you may also use on walls to curb the appeal of your house and protect it from severe weather like harsh winds, rain, and snow. 


Cladding boards protrude when applied to the wall because they are thick. It also requires less effort during the design process, hence more convenient and flexible for professionals. Unlike cladding, the siding will stay intact. Sliding boards are overlapped since they are thin and slender. 


Sliding and cladding boards may look similar, but their durability differs. As said earlier, cladding boards are thicker. That makes them durable and perfect for use on most exterior building surfaces. As you might guess, sliding boards are less long-lasting due to their delicate nature. 

Is There Any Difference Between Cladding and Facades?

Cladding is the external layer that is added to a building. A façade, on the other hand, is the outward appearance and mainly applied front part of a building. Occasionally, it also refers to the styles and colors of a building. In simple terms, there’s a considerable between cladding a facade concerning their appearance.

Types of cladding

These are the different ways of adding an extra level of protection to your home:

Wood cladding

As the name suggests, this process entirely depends on the wood. Depending on your preferences, you can decide to use softwood or hardwood. The difference is that hardwood is expensive and stronger than softwood because it guarantees low maintenance. 

Softwood is also good, costing half the price of hardwood. Hardwood comes on the top of the list if you want your structure to last long. Unfortunately, wood cladding is predisposed to insect attacks and moisture. 

Composite cladding

Composite cladding has come with many benefits since its introduction to replace wood cladding. You are likely to find discounted prices for composite cladding materials. Go for composite cladding if you plan to clad your home at a lower cost. Regardless of the materials you use, they will always be resilient yet easy to work with. 

This method makes your building resistant to insects and customizes the appearance of your house. Additionally, it allows your home to withstand all the harsh conditions that the weather throws on your way. Like plastic cladding, it is also easy to maintain, thus relieving you from replacing the cladding now and then. Typically, you can be guaranteed to have up to 10 years of uninterrupted weatherproof performance.

Plastic cladding

If you want to cut down on the cost, the plastic cladding will be a perfect match. Its capabilities are similar to composite cladding, but there is one significant difference: plastic cannot be customized to look like wood. 

What Are The Cons Of Cladding?

Every product will always have its advantages and downsides, and cladding vs. siding is not an 

exception. Here are the disadvantages of cladding. 

Cladding is expensive. You will require cladding materials to clad your home, which is highly priced. Furthermore, repairing dented cladding might not be the best option owing to the high cost of materials and expertise needed. 

Most professionals prefer cladding using wood, but wood is not resistant to fire. Every inflammable product in the building poses a risk to the house and everything if not handled with care. 

Is There Any Difference Between Siding And Sheathing?

Let’s begin with the definition of the terms. Siding involves using a material to make an exposed surface on a wall or frame of a building. At the same time, sheathing applies a material to the outer part of a structure to strengthen it. Both may sound the same, but there’s a big difference between them.  

Siding sometimes applies to interior wall framing, unlike sheathing. The sheathing is similar to a cover, case, or insulator. Nothing is put between the sheathing material and the surface to be covered. Siding, however, can’t be convenient if not used with a weather-resistive barrier (WRB) during installation.

What Is The Easiest Siding To Install?

You can easily install siding yourself if you have the right equipment. The easiest siding to install is vinyl siding. Before installation, plan layouts to mitigate any uneven exposure. A story pole will come in handy in the entire process, and it remains indispensable even for siding professionals. 

Why You Should Install Siding In Your Home

Any house without siding is vulnerable to water, which may damage it and even cause foundational problems. Mainly, the siding will cover your home, but there’s more than that. Here are more benefits of siding.

1. Make The House More Appealing 

There are many colors to choose from and apply to your house when siding your home. The buildings appeal to the eye and increase your home’s value. Whenever you want to sell the house, the appeal will give you an upper hand in the customers’ eyes. Surprisingly, research shows that the appealing nature of the house attracts almost 99% of realtors before looking at the contents of the building. 

2. Lowers Financial Costs

Installing siding will lower your bills to a larger extent. Siding makes the house last longer by protecting it from precipitation effects. That lowers the cost of maintenance, enabling you to run an energy-efficient home. Any cavity on the wall is also covered during the process, reducing the cost you would have spent every year on repairs. 

3. Mending Structural Damages

Often water leaks in the house unnoticed. Unless damages on the wall appear as fractures and cracks, you may not know why the wall keeps on becoming weak. Siding helps you cover all the unnoticeable cracks before developing into a grave problem. 

Which Siding Is The Best?

Vinyl siding is the best because of its good waterproof proficiencies with a lifespan of 20 to 30 years. Besides that, here are more reasons why vinyl is considered the best.

  • Readily available in many colors
  • It is DIY –friendly
  • Reduced fading
  • Low maintenance cost
  • Resistance to insects and precipitation effects

Of course, to choose the best type of siding, check for its weatherproof capabilities and durability. Aluminum & steel, fiber cement & composite, vinyl, wood, stucco, brick & stone, and faux stone are some sidings you will find in the market. However, vinyl siding still emerges as the best. 

Should You Hire A Professional For Cladding And Siding?

DIY form of cladding is the easiest. Not only will you save money but you will also learn a new skill. If you are making significant repairs, you might not need a lot of workforce from a professional. 

Confirm whether you have a hammer, fine-toothed hand saw, power drill, power saw, measuring square, level, snap-lock punch, fasteners, etc. The list seems endless. There are high chances that you lack either of them, even if the list is incomplete. This brings us to our answer – you need to hire a professional.

An expert will help sort out various complex issues, from getting the appropriate tools at subsidized prices to giving your house an admirable appearance. Plus, you will get things done rightly. Professionals also obtain work permits that abide by building codes and provide you with gridlock in the unlikely event that your project is nosedive. Therefore, seeking help from a professional is the best way to go.

Final Thought

Cladding and siding are good when applied to your home. The benefits associated with both installations are numerous. Nevertheless, it is important to know the differences, pros, and cons and the durability of the materials used. Equipped with such essential information, why not give your home a good look with cladding and siding? Finally, you would consider utilizing the services of an expert.