Stucco, Vinyl, Hardie Board & Wood siding compared next to one another

Vinyl Siding vs. Wood Siding vs. Hardie Board Siding vs. Stucco

Derek Perzylo

February 17, 2020


  • Vinyl, wood, Hardie board, and stucco are common siding choices for homes in Calgary—but not all of these materials perform equally well in Calgary’s unique climate.
  • Homeowners should consider factors such as cost-effectiveness, energy efficiency, and aesthetics when choosing siding.
  • Vinyl siding is good for increasing curb appeal but not for long-term energy efficiency.
  • Wood siding is attractive but fragile and costly.
  • Hardie board siding is tough and has good value for long-term homeowners in Calgary.
  • Big 5 Exteriors can install high-quality siding for Calgary homes. Contact us for a recommendation.

Calgary homes come in many shapes and sizes, and the siding used for different houses varies greatly too. Vinyl, wood, Hardie board, and stucco are all common choices, but deciding which material is best for your home can be a challenge.

Big 5 Exteriors has performed siding installations in Calgary for over 30 years, so we know all about how different options perform in this city’s climate. Below, we break down what you need to consider about each of these choices so you can use the one that will serve your home best.

Calgary homes with different siding options on them

Factors to Consider When Choosing Siding in Calgary

Anyone planning to purchase new siding should think carefully about the following criteria:


How much are you willing to spend on your new siding? Here are the basic costs you’ll need to consider:

  • Initial Price: Usually measured in $ per square foot.
  • Installation: The costs of labour associated with putting the new siding on your home
  • Maintenance and upkeep: Some materials cost more to maintain or repair than others.

Energy Efficiency

Some types of siding offer better insulation than others, making it easier for your home to retain heat. Consider the following:

  • R-Value: This is a measure of the material’s resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the material is at insulating a home.
  • Thermal Mass: Some materials have high thermal mass, meaning they can absorb and store heat energy, which can be beneficial in certain climates. Materials like wood have higher thermal mass than lightweight materials like vinyl.
  • Reflectivity: In hot climates, materials that reflect more sunlight (high albedo) can help keep a building cooler. This might seem less important during Calgary’s cold winter when retaining heat is a priority for homeowners, but it’ll keep cooling costs down during the city’s increasingly warm summers.

Learn More: Is Your Home’s Exterior “Calgary Cold-Front” Ready?


Calgary homeowners need to choose siding materials that can handle the city’s cold winters and occasional extreme weather events. Prioritize the following:

  • Climate Suitability: How well does the material withstand Calgary’s cold winters and occasional extreme weather conditions?
  • Longevity: What is the expected lifespan of the material under normal conditions?
  • Maintenance Requirements: Does the material require frequent maintenance, such as painting, staining, or repairs, to maintain its durability?
  • Resistance to Elements: How resistant is the material to potential issues like rot, moisture, and fire?

Curb Appeal

Finally, your choice of materials should also be based on how it looks. Here are some things to think about during your siding search:

  • Architectural Harmony: Does the siding match the architectural style of your home and the surrounding neighborhood?
  • Colour and Texture Options: Are there a variety of colours and textures available that meet your preferences?
  • Timelessness vs. Trendiness: Are you looking for a classic look that will age well, or a trendy style that reflects current tastes?
  • Impact on Resale Value: How could your siding choice affect the way potential buyers perceive your home?

Comparing Common Calgary Siding Options

Now for the good part! Here’s a chart showing how each popular siding option compares based on the criteria above:

VinylWoodHardie BoardStucco
Cost-EffectivenessLow initial priceLow installation costLow maintenanceModerate to high initial priceModerate installation costHigh maintenanceModerate initial priceHigh installation costLow maintenanceHigh initial priceHigh installation costModerate maintenance
Energy EfficiencyModerate R-valueLow thermal massVaries in reflectivityHigh R-valueHigh thermal massLow reflectivityHigh R-valueModerate thermal massLow reflectivityLow R-valueHigh thermal massHigh reflectivity
DurabilityGood climate suitabilityModerate longevityLow maintenance requirementsModerate resistance to elementsModerate climate suitabilityHigh longevity with maintenanceHigh maintenance requirementsModerate resistance to elementsExcellent climate suitabilityHigh longevityLow maintenance requirementsHigh resistance to elementsGood climate suitabilityHigh longevityModerate maintenance requirementsHigh resistance to elements
Curb AppealWide range of colours and stylesVaries in architectural harmonyCan be timeless or trendyModerate impact on resale valueNatural lookHigh architectural harmonyTimelessHigh impact on resale valueMimics woodHigh architectural harmonyTimelessHigh impact on resale valueSmooth, seamless lookHigh architectural harmonyCan be timeless or trendyHigh impact on resale value

When to Use Each Type of Siding for Your Calgary Home

Vinyl siding for Calgary home

Vinyl: Inexpensive & Appealing for Short-Term Owners

Vinyl is a popular choice for siding because it usually comes in a variety of different colours and tends to rank highly in curb appeal. It also has a lower up-front cost than other materials — but with siding, you tend to get what you pay for.

While vinyl siding looks fine at first, you shouldn’t expect anything special in the way of insulation or protection from the elements. Remember: Vinyl is basically just made from layered strips of plastic, which makes it prone to cracking damage from extreme weather over extended periods of time.


  • Lowest upfront cost
  • Can be an affordable way to increase curb appeal before selling


  • Low R-value (about 0.61)
  • Not as durable as other materials

You can buy special insulated vinyl siding from us that offers an additional R-value of 2.0-2.7, but bear in mind that this usually comes with a 20-50% cost increase. Learn more about our vinyl siding options.

Wood siding on Calgary home

Wood: When You’re Willing to Do More Maintenance for Timeless Elegance

Wood siding, with its natural beauty, adds a classic charm to homes. However, it demands high maintenance and is vulnerable to Calgary’s climate, reacting to temperature changes and moisture, potentially leading to rot or mold.


  • Beautiful, natural aesthetic
  • Timeless appeal


  • High maintenance requirements
  • Susceptible to weather damage and rot
  • Higher initial cost
Hardie board fiber cement siding on Calgary home

Hardie Board: The Go-To for Long-Term Resilience & Minimal Upkeep

Hardie board is known for its resilience and low maintenance. Ideal for Calgary’s harsh weather, it withstands rot and damage well. Although it mimics wood’s appearance, it incurs higher installation costs and has lower energy efficiency, which can be offset with additional insulation.


  • Highly durable and weather-resistant
  • Low maintenance
  • Versatile appearance


  • Higher installation costs
  • Lower energy efficiency without added insulation
Stucco siding on Calgary home

Stucco: For Distinctive Style with Moderate Maintenance Needs

Stucco is affordable but requires professional, labor-intensive installation. It offers reasonable weather resistance but is susceptible to shrinking and cracking. While basic stucco isn’t highly energy efficient, it’s aesthetically quite versatile, and allows for customization in colour and texture.


  • Customizable in colour and texture
  • Moderately priced material
  • Decent weather resistance


  • Can shrink and crack over time
  • Higher installation costs
  • Low energy efficiency without additional insulation

Get Professional Support for Your Siding Installation

Ultimately, the siding you choose for your Calgary home is up to you—but the more you know going in, the easier it will be to select something you’ll love long-term. Hardie board is our recommendation for homeowners who want low-maintenance longevity, while vinyl can be a good fit for owners who want a budget-friendly upgrade. Wood and stucco are typically for homeowners who want a distinctive look and are willing to do the required maintenance.

For an expert recommendation on the right siding for your home, contact the Big 5 team. Not only will we provide you with a transparent quote on any of the materials listed here, but we can also perform a professional installation backed by one of the best warranties in the business. Our experienced team will be happy to assist you!

FAQ about Big 5 Siding

What siding materials does Big 5 install?

We specialize in Hardie board siding, but also carry high-quality vinyl siding for homeowners looking for a less expensive solution.

What is the Big 5 warranty on siding?

Our siding installations are backed by a 5-year installation warranty and a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty on the actual siding materials.

How long does installing new siding take?

For Hardie board and vinyl siding, the average home normally takes 5-6 business days. If there are factors complicating your installation (either due to your architecture or environmental conditions), we’ll tell you as soon as possible so you can plan ahead.

Where does the siding Big 5 installs come from?

Our siding materials are all supplied by Canadian or US manufacturers, so you can count on a rigorous quality assurance process.

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