Is Non-wood Siding Appropriate for Your Queen Anne Home?

Susanne Clemenz

Manufactured home siding comes in mind-boggling choices. Each has pros and cons, as does wood. Here's some help in making your selection:

No One Type of Siding Is Best for Queen Anne Homes

Here are major factors to consider:

  • Style choices: Wood, fiber cement, and vinyl siding offer numerous styles, including Queen Anne features such as scallops often used as accents beneath gables. Hand-split shingles and wood-looking clapboard are also appropriate for your Queen Anne.
  • Colors: Vinyl siding has colors that permeate the siding. Changing existing colors may pose problems. Fiber cement siding can be painted at the factory or on-site. Better quality aluminum siding has a colored vinyl layer baked onto the surface. Aluminum siding without the vinyl coating can be somewhat easy to scratch and needs annual washing to remove chalking.
  • Damage resistance: Wood is very flammable, can rot, and is subject to termites and other pests. It is the best insulator of all siding choices. Today's best vinyl siding is thicker and resistant to warping, rot, and insects, but is flammable and can become somewhat brittle in very cold weather. Fire can give off toxic fumes. Aluminum is subject to denting and scratching, though it is pest-resistant and fireproof. Fiber cement siding is also pest-resistant and fireproof but is very heavy and can be brittle.
  • Installation ease: Vinyl is lightweight and easy to install, even by do-it-yourselfers working on special Queen Anne features. Aluminum siding can be easily scratched during installation and is more difficult to cut. Hire a professional. Its bendability can be an asset. Fiber cement siding is very heavy and brittle during installation, requiring experienced installers. Wood is easy to work with except for the difficulty in finding good, straight wood nowadays.
  • Cost: Initial price is only one cost factor. Life expectancy, warranties, quality level, maintenance, repainting, and resistance to fire, weather and pests are long-term considerations. There is overlap in the cost per square foot--high-end vinyl siding may be pricier than low-end fiber cement siding. But roughly speaking, wood shingles are the most expensive, fiber cement and aluminum siding are less so, and vinyl and wood clapboard siding the least expensive.

There's a lot to consider, including historic district requirements, in choosing siding for your Queen Anne home. Talk to some siding contractors about their experiences, and ask to see finished homes. Ultimately the choice is yours!



About the Author
Suzanne Clemenz designed her passive solar home and interacted with the contractors every day of the 6-month project. She started drawing floor plans and making models in the early '70s after purchasing several building lots. Recently she expanded and remodelled her newly-purchased home, working with contractors on the floorplan, electrical changes, painting, installation of wood laminate flooring, flood prevention walls and stonework, major drainage issues, an irrigation system and a landscaping. Researching and keeping up on issues and products related to home design and maintenance is an ongoing avocation.

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