What is my best option for external cladding on my new home that balances sustainability, durability and low maintenance?

Asked by J McLaren
Golden, CO

I found EcoClad and RainStone products and love them, but these aren't available for small projects/homeowners. I like the look of wood and do not favor the stucco-look. Is there any wood-look product that is sustainable and low-maintenance? I'd like to also replace my soffits, and would like a product that matches the new cladding, if possible. Thanks!


I have specified EcoCoad on medium size residential renovation project in the past.

  • It is not locally available in most states but can be ordered direct from the manufacturer, Kliptech industries.
  • Currently I have specified Trespa Meteon panels on for an 885 square foot residential application.

If you are interested in a rainscreen application here are additional consideration required for its application

  • You must prepare the existing structure by installing a water barrier “VaproShield” or equal. This is necessary since rainscreen panels allow air circulation behind the panels which carries moisture.
  • Proper flashing above windows, doors must be installed to divert water which may be blown between the panels and building structure.
  • Bug and insect perforated track must be installed at the top and bottom of each run of wall panel.
  • Proper design to maximize panel utilization to minimize waste is critical due to the cost of the material.
  • Verify with your local building department if they will require ICC-ES legacy report for the siding material you wish to implement. I have found that some building departments require this testing report as a stipulation for acceptance and approval per the International Building Code.

From my research and bidding for rainscreen panels, the cost for the panels is approximately $15 - $22 per square foot depending on the manufacturer.

  • Installation costs ranging from $18 - $20 for exposed fastener application.
  • If you do not want to see the fasteners and request a concealed fastening system, you can expect to pay upwards of double the cost (labor and material) for the project.
  • These cost include the vapor barrier installation and material.

A typical wood siding can be installed in a rainscreen application. This allows the wood to breath and will help reduce heat gain in the summer and adds an additional air layer (equals R of 1) increasing your homes building envelope R value reducing heat loss.

  • This type of application is common in Europe and is gaining popularity here in the states over the past three to four years.
  • There are less expensive materials and typical cladding application such as James Hardie siding.

Unfortunately this still requires a degree of maintenance but will not be prone to rot such as natural wood cladding.

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