Cladding is any material used to cover the outside of your house. There are multiple types of cladding that are installed separately or in correlation with another type of cladding. This stuff is not just used for appearance, but also to protect the house from weather elements, and to help provide a sound barrier from outside noises. It can also be installed as a means to resist fire and damage from pests.
Common types of wood cladding include the traditional clapboards, shake shingles and cedar panels. Clapboards are long, wide or narrow boards that are thinner on one edge and thicker on the other edge. The thick edge is the one that you see. The thin edge is the one that is nailed to the house and hidden from view. This type of cladding must be painted or stained to prevent rotting. Shake shingles are thin pieces of wood cut in the shape of a square or rectangle. The shingles are then nailed to the house in an overlapping manner much like the shingles on a roof. They are usually not painted or stained. Cedar siding is a wood cladding that is often installed in 1.2 by 2.4 m (4 foot by 8 foot) sheets. The design resembles clapboards, and it can be installed vertically or horizontally. Cedar siding must be painted or stained to protect it from rotting.
Masonry is one of the most solid types of cladding, and the most fireproof. Different types are brick, stucco, stone, concrete block and fibre cement board. The majority does not require sealants such as paint or stain, with the exception of fibre. Fibre cement board will over time absorb water, allowing for the growth of mould and mildew. You can add protection to masonry by applying a clear coat.
Vinyl is the least expensive, and it is also maintenance free. It looks like natural cladding, which gives you many styles to choose from. Vinyl cladding can take on the appearance of brick, shake shingles, clapboard, cedar siding and even logs. It can be painted, but does not have to be.