Choosing what exterior siding to use on your Tiny Home can involve a number of different variables. Generally speaking there are three regions of the country the South the North East and Western/Northern states.
Many early tiny home builders have selected wood because of its natural appealing look and sustainability and there is still a large segment of Tiny Home buyers that like it. Beveled Cedar, Lap Cedar, Western Red Cedar, Knotty Pine are some common ones used. The main issue with wood is the maintenance required and it doesn’t hold up as well in harsh weather conditions such as in the Southeast or Southwest where UV rays from the sun burn off urethane stains protecting it. However a lot of high altitude and warm areas use solid color paints, and semitransparent stains which act like a protector. Natural finishes may provide the most visual appeal but it requires more maintenance in the warmer climates. Wood is also at the mercy of wood born pests, however cedar has resins that are toxic to termites and kill them so there are some advantages.
Professional architects and some builders still prefer to use wood. Architects being purists believe vinyl tries to be something it’s not, it is made to look like wood and is flimsy.
Production and large builders prefer vinyl because it’s the most commonly used, low cost, ease of installation, and low maintenance required for the upkeep make it a popular choice. However, often the look is not as sleek or rustic looking as tiny home buyers like because trim pieces need to be placed at corners, windows and doors vs wood where builder can customize cuts. For many buyers it comes down to cost.
This type of siding has made huge inroads to the home building industry in the last 10 years – it is installed like wood composite comes in different materials including fiber cement, hardy board, metal, corten, aluminum and asphalt. Although manufactured in different shapes it mostly comes in shingles and boards with different trim accessories which allows builders to customize the look. With tiny homes we are seeing this with two, three and four tone exteriors where wood, metal, and shingles are made into an artistic tapestry by new and innovative builders creating new models and adding them to their build line.
At the top tier and most expensive is cedar impressions molded from real wood cedar shingles, having the look of natural wood and can be made into most architectural designs. Designed as maintenance free, vinyl advocates claim it still needs maintenance but for both vinyl or cedar impressions soap and water should do it.
So where to from here? If you like the natural look and don’t mind some preventive maintenance with staining and re-nailing from common wood withdrawal, then visually wood would be the choice based on the value of the look. As an owner of an exterior beveled cedar Tiny home I would never give it up except to mix in with aluminum for an urban or more rustic look.
What is important to remember here is that with a tiny home you only have 200-350 square feet of coverage area vs a single family home that has 1500-2500 square feet, the area is considerably less. If its maintenance free you want, you have three options – vinyl or a two tone look which incorporates both aluminum and lap cedar…Sea to Sea Homes have these in their standard options package in building the models.