We are replacing siding on our 1958 home in Norwood, MA. Of CertainTeed, what is best: vinyl, plastic/vinyl cedar shake, or cedarboard?

Asked by Karol Bartlett
Norwood, MA

The siding we are replacing is original, so it's in pretty rough shape. I am a librarian and have been doing research, but am not a siding person, so am over my head. We are also researching the best way to insulate and will be replacing windows. The windows we are considering at this point are Marvin and fiberglass/wood versus all-vinyl. We plan to stay in the house as long as possible. We have had a recent moisture/condensation problem coming from the original aluminum insulation that was put in as a barrier in 1958 -- so that will also be coming out.


Jason Kliwinski

Answered by Jason Kliwinski

Lambertville, NJ

The Green Living and Building Center

March 8, 2011

I would recommend you:

  • replace insulation with open cell or closed cell bio-based insulation;
  • use cedar shake or fiber cement siding; and
  • choose Energy Star rated windows.

Replace insulation. If you have the ability to redo the exterior insulation, install either an open cell or closed cell bio-based insulation such as Dimalek.

  • Closed cell insulation will also provide a moisture barrier but is more expensive than closed cell.
  • If you have moisture issues, make sure you check for mold and remove it before closing the house back up.

Siding.  Cedar shake or fiber cement siding would work well. Fiber cement siding is made locally by CertainTeed.

  • It can come prefinished with a 50-year warranty on the finish if you pick a standard color.
  • It is less expensive than cedar shake but comes in a cedar shake pattern if you want that look.

Windows.  Energy Star rated windows are important. Both the insulation and windows should qualify for the federal tax credit for energy efficiency as well.

  • Marvin, Jeld-Wen, Pozzi, and Pella all offer good quality Energy Star windows.
  • I strongly recommend staying away from vinyl. While it's cheaper upfront, it will not last and is very environmentally questionable in both its production and disposal.
  • Either an aluminum-clad wood window or Marvin's fiberglass window (Integrity) would be what I recommend.

You can see images of the fiber cement siding and aluminum-clad wood windows installed at my website,, on the Holmes-Rulli project example.


For more information:

Check our green siding Q&A to see what homeowners and contractors are saying about the pros and cons of vinyl siding, fiber cement, etc.

Tagged In: energy efficient window, siding

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