Story at a glance:

  • Siding protects your home from dangers of the elements like mold.
  • Multiple siding color choices make it easy to complement a home’s modern design.
  • Fused bamboo combines the properties of wood and plastic, making it an excellent choice for siding.

Modern house siding ideas not only protect your home from the elements, but they can also add to the aesthetics of a modern house.

Without proper siding, water can cause major damage like mold or foundational issues. Siding is necessary—but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be creative.

Here are a few modern house siding ideas that will protect and enhance your next residential project.

1. Thermally Modified Timber

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The thermal modification process turns timber a darker, richer color, often making it look like a more exotic hardwood. Photo courtesy of Arbor Wood

Thermally modified timber (TMT) has proven to be a great option in environments that are typically unforgiving to wood, according to Jon Heyesen, the vice president of business development for Intectural, the distributor and producer of Arbor Wood. Through a chemical change using heat and steam, natural wood is made to be more dimensionally stable and less susceptible to humidity and temperature-induced expansion and contraction.

How does heat and steam make wood more stable? Heyesen explained that the breaking up of the hydroxyl groups in the wood’s cellular structure increases both durability and biological resistance by permanently reducing the material’s tendency to absorb water—eliminating the chance of wood serving as a food source for mold, rot, fungal decay, and insects.

Contractors are finding that the improved stability and significant reduction in warping or cupping means better yield and less waste. The material is also lighter in weight, often making it an easier and more predictable material to work with.

2. Vinyl Siding

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Photo courtesy of Royal Building Products

Although plastic products are not typically considered sustainable, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) challenges that idea.

PVC is not only a cost-effective substitute for wood, it is also weatherable, chemically stable, and lightweight. Companies like Royal Building Products use PVC as a material for vinyl siding. PVC resin begins with two abundant building blocks: chlorine from common salt and ethylene from natural gas.

In terms of total environmental impact, vinyl siding outperforms fiber cement and brick, according to Royal Building Products Vice President of Marketing Steve Booz. Compared to vinyl siding, fiber cement contributes almost four times the global warming potential; more than two times the acidification; and more than three-and-a-half times the air pollution.

Vinyl also does not require painting or staining and needs only occasional cleaning—unlike other exterior materials like brick and fiber cement.

3. Black Tile

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The Santo Tirso House’s industrial black tiles contrast against the honey tone of thermally modified wood. Photo by Ivo Tavares Studio

In Santo Tirso, Portugal, HOUS3 architecture firm fused the properties of black plasma tile and thermally modified wood to create an eccentric connection on a home’s exterior.

“The relationship is extreme between hardwood and industrial tile, but it works as a whole. Industrial black enhances the honey tone and natural gray oxidation of the wood,” Fábio Costa, architect and founder of HOUS3, said to gb&d in a previous interview.

The team applied black plasma tile from CS – Coelho da Silva to the roof and walls, along with Lunawood Thermowood, which has a beautiful brown tone that naturally weathers over time to have a beautiful silver-gray patina.

“Thermal modification improves the wood’s properties. Thermowood is dimensionally stable, resistant to decay, and a resin-free and non-toxic, natural product that is easy to machine and install,” Costa previously told gb&d.

4. Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT)

GBD Nordic Structures

Platte 15, Denver’s first CLT building, is estimated to achieve a potential carbon benefit of 5,580 metric tons by using CLT as a building material. Photo by JC Buck

Platte 15, a five-story project and Denver’s first cross-laminated timber building, is just one example of how CLT can be used for modern house siding, too.

CLT is a lightweight yet strong wood panel made from layering boards in alternating directions that are bonded together with structural adhesive. CLT’s low carbon footprint makes it a sustainable siding material.

“This building will store 1,790 metric tons of carbon dioxide within the wood. Another 3,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions will be avoided for a total potential carbon benefit of 5,580 metric tons,” Conrad Suszynski, co-CEO of Crescent Real Estate, previously said to gb&d. “We have proven wood is a cost-viable, sustainable structural option with regenerative benefits for mid-rise commercial construction. That’s a genuine evolution, and that’s a big deal.”

5. Hardwood

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Tigerwood, a reddish wood with darker stripes, is commonly used as an accent on modern homes. Photo courtesy of OHC

Overseas Hardwoods Company (OHC) produces multiple types of hardwood, depending on design, budget, and climate. Two of their products—Tigerwood and Garapa—both compliment a modern look with their golden hues.

Exactly how it sounds, when oiled, tigerwood takes on a reddish hue with darker stripes—mimicking the look of a tiger’s fur. Tigerwood is very durable with a life of 25-plus years. Because of its unique look, tigerwood is commonly used as an accent on modern homes. “It looks beautiful next to the clean modern lines of a concrete home,” Ben Roberts, marketing director of OHC, previously said to gb&d. “It is very striking.”

The lightest of hardwoods is Garapa, which has a golden brown color similar to beige. As with all hardwoods, garapa has no large knots. “It’s great for modern applications,” Roberts told gb&d. “It complements clean lines with a lighter color.” Even if left to gray, garapa continues to maintain an even color.

6. Pre-Finished Siding

Diamond Kote

This storefront demonstrates the many pre-finished siding colors that Diamond Kote Building Products has to offer. Photo courtesy of Diamond Kote Building Products

Pre-finished sidings are coated in a factory-controlled environment before installation. This process can speed up the labor-intensive process of staining the materials on site, and it allows for immense customization.

With Diamond Kote Building Products, clients can choose a contemporary, traditional, or rustic look. Diamond Kote offers options that include 23 solid colors and six duo-blends, with the ability to do custom colors. Their siding comes with a 30-year no-fade warranty.

Siding requires only one coat, making it easier to apply, but also better for the environment.

7. Thin Fiber Cement Siding

It has been said that cement products all look the same, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Companies like Nichiha create cement composites that can be made in many textures and finishes, ranging from reclaimed wood or limestone to brick and mortarless stone.

Fiber cement is also durable and inexpensive compared to other siding options like hardwood and modified wood, according to Tim Seims, market segment manager at Nichih.

Cement siding is resistant to warping, termites, rot, impact, and fire. As far as durability in extreme elements, almost every fiber cement manufacturer has Miami-Dade hurricane testing approval in Florida, Seims told gb&d.

Seims explained that Nichiha’s manufacturing process uses a mixture of cement, sand, wood fibers, and fly ash, a post-industrial waste product that would otherwise end up in landfills. Their products can also be reused, and the longevity of fiber cement helps improve a building’s sustainability, too.

8. Bamboo

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Photo courtesy of dasso USA

Fused bamboo is another excellent choice for siding, according to Bamboo Ambassador Avery Chua, as it combines wood’s aesthetic appeal with plastic composite’s durability to make for a perfect outdoor material.

What is fused bamboo? It is bamboo harvested at peak growth, shredded into strands, and then extracted of nutrients. Those bamboo strands—no longer containing nutrients—are then recombined (fused) into a dense, durable panel.

The dasso Group’s bamboo material has the look and feel of natural wood, minus the downsides—a short life span, fungus growth, prone to insect and termite attack, rotting, and instability. Similar to plastic composite, it is low maintenance, durable, and non-rotting in nature.