Put down the paint can—these options look just like natural or painted wood, but require far less maintenance.

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Exterior of house in Santa Barbara, California
Credit: Getty / Lisa Romerein

Considering repainting your house's exterior? It's time to think again: Innovative new building materials can actually spare you from buying a single can. They look just like natural or painted wood, and last for decades without peeling or cracking—something even the very best paint formulas can't promise over time. If your shingles or siding need replacing, or you're starting from scratch, check out these high-tech, low-maintenance options.

Fiber Cement

James Hardie's siding and shingle options come in "milled" textures that look amazingly authentic and come in a rainbow of colors. Consider the company's HardieShingle if you have a coastal Cape Cod—or want the distinct look of cedar shake—or HardiePlank if you're on the hunt for something more traditional. The latter is a best-seller and the most popular brand of siding in North America.

Composite Wood

Composite wood looks totally natural (and that's because it is!), but is actually much sturdier. As for where to source the best possible product for your home? LP Building Solutions siding and trim are moisture-resistant and extra-strong. Their color options are just as impressive; the ExpertFinish siding collection comes in 16 versatile pre-finished shades, the result of a smooth layer of acrylic latex paint.

Engineered Polymer

Here's the thing about painting your home's exterior: Touch ups, especially to the trim, molding, and columns, become a routine component of house maintenance. Break that cycle by turning to Azek, a company with a range of building solutions from engineered polymer railings to molding and beyond. All finishes are offered in a range of styles to best suit your own—and all are as durable as it gets, to boot.

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