The Best Types of Shed Siding

The most durable and attractive sheds need a strong foundation and a solidly built frame. While these elements serve as the shed's skeleton, its siding acts as its skin. Siding not only gives your shed a distinct appearance, it helps the structure withstand the elements. Ultimately, your choice of siding boils down to your own personal needs, preferences and budget. But a thorough knowledge of the characteristics of common siding styles helps you make a sensible and informed decision when choosing the best siding for your shed.

Natural Wood Siding

Natural wood siding is a classic, rustic look, often exceeding other options in aesthetic appeal.

Natural wood siding, a perennial choice for builders, lends your shed a classic, rustic look, often exceeding other options in aesthetic appeal. Wood siding also offers plenty of installation selections, as it comes in beveled planks, tongue-and-groove boards, channel-style and board-and-batten varieties. In terms of durability, wood is more likely to warp than smart siding. And, when wood siding is installed too close to the ground, it may rot. As with other types of siding, wood accommodates priming and painting or you can stain it to match your home's look.

The Plywood Question

Plywood siding, such as the common T1-11 choice, presents a ship-lap look on its exterior surface, and may not offer the aesthetic value present in other styles, but it is affordable and installs quickly and relatively easily. Plywood nails directly to your shed's wall framing, making it arguably the quickest and most painless type of siding to install. As plywood panels overlap via interlocking milled edges, they also provide a relatively water-resistant option, particularly when reinforced with a bit of construction adhesive.

Get Smart

Smart siding is a product made from engineered wood. Although smart siding doesn't offer the richly textured look of natural wood, it is typically more durable -- a boon for sheds in harsh climates. It comes with a coat of primer on it already, making paint application easier and more effective. Compared with T1-11 plywood, smart siding is more expensive, but it offers increased resistance to rot and insects, less need for maintenance and an outer coating of oil, resin and pulp that helps it repel moisture.

More to Consider

As far as materials to avoid, Joseph Truini from the "Popular Mechanics" magazine and author of the book “Building a Shed: Expert Advice from Start to Finish” warns against using aluminum siding, noting that the material isn't “rugged enough to survive the inevitable beating outbuildings take.” Whether your siding comes raw or already covered with primer, back-priming the material -- applying a coat of primer to the back of each plank or panel -- helps prevent moisture absorption, which in turn wards off blistering.

About the Author

Dan Ketchum has been a professional writer since 2003, with work appearing online and offline in Word Riot, Bazooka Magazine, Anemone Sidecar, Trails and more. Dan's diverse professional background spans from costume design and screenwriting to mixology, manual labor and video game industry publicity.