Your home siding serves a two-fold purpose: it protects your home from damage, while giving it an exterior sense of style. Your exterior siding should say something about your home, but also guard against the weather or occasional hockey puck or baseball. When it comes time to repair or replace it, you should take time to figure out exactly what you want from it.
Siding is available in eight categories: brick or stone; wood or cedar shakes; vinyl or aluminum; Masonite or concrete; stucco; artificial brick or stone; clap board; Egypt or steel or vinyl coatings. The cost, benefits and disadvantages of each vary. Are you planning to live in the home for a long time? Or is your living situation only temporary? Answer this question to determine your budget before you spend too much on something you will not use for long.
If you're having trouble deciding what kind with which to go, take a look at what the rest of the neighborhood has. This will give you an idea as to what kind of siding could lower the value of your home. Maybe the rest of the block uses higher end siding, like stone or brick, and if you choose a vinyl exterior, you could inadvertently decrease your home's worth.
You probably do not want to spend much time doing upkeep on your exterior. If so, brick and stone are your best choices, as they require the least amount of cleaning. Concrete does not require that much cleaning, and it does not rot or need painted, unless you're looking to give it a cosmetic overhaul.
Cedar shakes do not rot, but need constant pressure washing and stained every so often. If you do not feel like painting, vinyl and aluminum may be good choices, but both are late to bends and cracks. If you love to paint, Masonite and clap board require it every eight to 10 years and more frequently if not done professionally.
Another benefit you'll want to find for each is wherever the look is favored by the climate. Stucco, for example, is a great choice for warmer areas and insulating, but its unique style does not mesh well with homes in cooler climates.
Siding is not cheap, and you'll want to ensure that whatever choice you make will last you for a long time. Ask your siding contractor whether they offer any warranties or protection plans should your siding need repaired or replaced. Also ask what kind of things need to be done to protect it against bad weather and uncaught baseball.