Originally Posted by arced
I figure this is the thread for random architecture questions, so here goes. Why is siding so popular? Is it just a cheap way to weatherproof a house? It seems both decorative and protection, but can't the house's walls just be made weatherproof? I was struck today by the fact that I don't know why it's on so many houses.
Yes, wood, composite, metal, etc. siding/cladding is an inexpensive way to weather-proof framed exterior walls.
Exterior cladding depends on the structure/framing of the building. A wood- or steel-framed building requires some form of exterior cladding (some type of siding or plaster over panels, typically) that a concrete, masonry, etc. wall structure does not (although those wall types may also use exterior cladding for further protection or decorative purposes).