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Siding Options For Your Outer Banks Home

Siding Options For Your Outer Banks Home

It seems to be human nature to get as much out of a product as possible before replacing it. A great example of this is siding. People hope against their better judgement that a paint job will suffice when the siding of the house has far exceeded its life expectancy. Sometimes a little paint and caulk will buy you a couple of years, but this is usually not the case.

If you see evidence of fungus and wood rot, separated seams, warped or split boards, an abundance of missing shakes, or you find yourself painting the exterior of your home every three to four years…it may be time to replace your siding. Like most things on the Outer Banks, the harsh environment often means your siding won’t last as long here as it does in other parts of the country.

What are the best siding options on the Outer Banks?

Every siding system has advantages and drawbacks. It’s important to realize the installation and maintenance costs before you commit. The siding systems that are most popular and seem to perform best on the Outer Banks are wood (cedar), fiber-cement board (Hardie Plank), and composite/engineered wood (SmartSide).


Whether you install clapboards, panels, or shakes, you will need to protect the wood from the elements and from insects. Pine, spruce, and cypress are commonly used throughout the country, but cedar tends to be the most popular on the Outer Banks, owing to its ability to resist rot and insect damage.

You’ll likely have to re-paint or re-stain the cedar every 3-5 years. If you choose to go with a more natural look (i.e. clear sealer, toner, or semi-transparent stain) you’ll still need re-coat the surface according to the severity of the environment you live in. A house on the beach will require more maintenance than a house that is further inland. If properly maintained, wood siding should last about 20 years.

Fiber Cement Board (Hardie Plank)

Fiber cement board, commonly known as Hardie Plank, is relatively low maintenance. It’s a manufactured product made of sand, cement, and cellulose fibers. It is more durable and outperforms vinyl siding. It is available in a number of profiles and, from a distance, it looks like wood. It’s fire-resistant and is not prone to insect damage.

If installed properly, fiber cement siding doesn’t require painting as often as wood, but the boards are heavier, which means they come in shorter lengths and are more labor-intensive to install. Over time, fiber cement boards have a tendency to become brittle and crack. They also have a tendency to wick up water if they are installed (improperly) in contact with the ground or in contact with any surface where water can pool.

Composite or Engineered Wood (SmartSide)

Composite wood siding has become extremely popular on the Outer Banks. It is made with wood fibers and epoxy resin and is impervious to moisture and insect damage. It is more durable than vinyl or wood, and seems to be better suited to this environment than fiber cement siding. It’s relatively inexpensive and relatively easy to install.

Installation practices

Regardless of which siding system you choose, the siding must be properly installed. After removing your old siding, your contractor should check everything visible before installing the new siding. Plywood sheathing should be checked for rot and insect damage. Plywood sheathing at the ground level should be pressure-treated.

In most cases, the house wrap should be replaced. We prefer to use 30-lb asphalt felt paper rather than the polypropylene fiber paper (Tyvek). It is extremely durable and has no chemically adverse reactions to different types of wood or metal.

Post Installation

After your siding is installed and inspected, you’ll need to paint or stain it. This is something you definitely want to do right the first time. Remember that every layer of paint depends on the layer(s) beneath it. Your painting contractor should specify only premium quality primers and paints. This will have a major impact on how long your paint job lasts and how well your new siding is protected.

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Why Customers Choose Beach Painting

  • Expertise - we have the experience and versatility to take on the most demanding painting and residential construction projects.
  • Integrity - we only use the highest grade materials and take the time to do the job correctly.
  • Dependability - our employees are directly employed (not subcontractors) and covered under our liability and workers' compensation policies.
  • Professionalism - we carefully measure all components of the work and provide a detailed scope in our estimates and proposals.
  • Longevity - with over 20 years of steady growth, we have become the largest full-service painting contractor on the Outer Banks.
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