New siding can dramatically boost the curb appeal of your house and add much needed protection in severe weather. Installing siding on 1600 sq.ft. home costs $6,000 – 15, 000 depending on materials, scope of work and local labor rates. While there are dozens of attractive exterior siding options, you want to select the one that fits your budget and home style.
Lets take a look at the 7 most popular siding materials: vinyl, aluminum, stucco, stone veneer, wood, engineered wood and fiber cement. We will review their installation costs, as well as pros and cons.
Materials are listed in the order of least to most expensive.
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1.Vinyl – most economical and versatile
Vinyl continues to be the Number 1 siding installed on homes across the US and Canada. Its so overwhelmingly popular because this is the most affordable material, which even the most budget-conscious homeowner can install. Vinyl siding options boast a nearly endless number of colors and styles, as well as very low and easy maintenance.
While costs vary, you can expect to pay between $2-5 per square foot installed. From a building supply retailer, you should expect to see vinyl material prices of $1 per square foot or even less.
You total cost will depend upon the thickness and quality of a particular product, with thinner options often coming in at significantly less than thicker, higher-quality panels.
Savings from cheaper panels are often short-term only, though, as these are more likely to crack, tear loose from your home’s exterior or sag, translating to higher replacement and repair costs.
Because vinyl is a man-made, fabricated material, it can mimic a host of more expensive options. For this reason, it is well-suited to a wide variety of architectural styles, that can range from contemporary to ornate Victorian or distinctive Craftsman homes.
Vinyl has a number of notable disadvantages. Its not as long lasting as other more expensive materials. It tends to fade, crack and buckle, especially in regions with persistent inclement weather. Cheaper products have a very unattractive visible seam when installed. Lastly, vinyl is one of the least eco-friendly materials; it cannot be recycled and simply sits in our landfills, polluting the earth.
Bottom line – Vinyl is and will remain the most “popular” out of all home siding options because of its lower cost compared to other materials.
2. Aluminum – time tested & budget-friendly
Less than two decades ago aluminum siding was the most popular type of residential siding While, it has takes a back seat compared to vinyl, it still has not lost its appeal. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance, low-cost option that comes with several benefits, aluminum is worth considering. Contemporary and Shotgun style homes, along with Shed and Ranch architectural styles, are best suited for aluminum siding.
On average, the cost of aluminum siding and installation ranges from $2.50 to $4.50 per square foot. Pricing may vary depending upon how widely available this siding is in your area, and the quality of metal.
Aluminum siding offers a number of important benefits. It is ideally suited to the demands of coastal climates and salty air. It will not crack, absorb moisture or play willing host to mildew like more porous options.
Insect-proof and highly fire-resistant, aluminum does offer some protection from common household concerns. Because it’s recyclable, aluminum can be a strong contender if you’re trying to go green with your home construction or remodeling project.
On the down side, while it won’t crack or rust, even heavy gauge aluminum can be susceptible to denting, which can be difficult to repair.
3. Fiber cement: a rising star
Also known by the brand name of its biggest manufacturer, “James Hardie” fiber cement siding is growing rapidly in popularity among building professionals and homeowners alike. If you’re looking for a durable siding with a considerable amount of aesthetic versatility, this material may be the ideal choice.
Fiber cement is made by combining wood pulp with clay, sand and cement, and the molding process makes it easy for manufacturers to simulate a wide range of textures and finishes.
However, Hardie is not the only fiber cement siding on the market. Other great quality products are manufactured by Allura USA, MaxiTile, and Nichiha.
Fiber cement products are considerably more expensive than vinyl. Total installation cost ranges from $4.50 to $9 per square foot.
Hardie siding – simple installation
One of the greatest advantages of fiber cement is that it can beautifully replicate everything from masonry to clapboard. So whether you’re looking for a stucco-like finish for a Mediterranean-inspired or Italianate home, or the shingled look for a Prairie home, this siding can easily fit the bill.
If you live in an area where temperature and humidity levels are always fluctuating, you won’t have to worry about fiber cement siding expanding or contracting and becoming damaged by these changes. Due to its unique makeup, it’s highly resistant to termites, fire and rotting.
Still, it’s very heavy in comparison to other types of siding, and retrofitting your home with fiber cement will mean completely removing any other products. Another disadvantage is that eventually, after about 15 years or so, you will need to repaint fiber cement siding to maintain its curb appeal.
Lastly, installation costs for this siding type are significantly more expensive than for vinyl or aluminum, and its not really possible to DIY the install.
4.Engineered wood – beauty of real wood for less
Another relatively new type of siding is engineered wood. Although its only been around for about 20 years, this modern material is quickly catching up with fiber cement in terms of popularity among homeowners and builders. The main selling point is that it looks like real wood, but without the associated maintenance problems and high costs.
LP Smartside is the most recognizable manufacturer of composite wood siding. It is Hardie’s fiercest competitor, which in recent years, has put a serious dent in Hardie’s residential market share.
The cost is not for the frugal-minded. Expect to spend about $7-11 per square foot installed. Still, this is significantly cheaper than real cedar wood siding.
Overall, engineered wood offers similar durability, longevity, and maintenance features as fiber cement, but a more authentic wood look. Also, it is a more environmentally friendly product than vinyl or fiber cement since it is made partially from recycled wood materials.
The top disadvantages are variable product quality (depending on the manufacturer), lack of proven history of durability, slight susceptibility to rot, mold and moisture.
5. Natural wood – timeless curb appeal
Are you looking for a classic siding style capable of lending either an air of traditional elegance or modern flair? If so, wood siding may be just the option for you. Available in a substantial array of quality grades and species options, there’s a wood siding type pretty much for any budget.
Siding made from spruce and pine generally cost $2.75 to $3.75 per square foot for materials, while premium wood species like redwood and cedar range between $5 and $7.50.
An average siding project using mid-grade wood costs $4.75 to $6.50 per square foot, increasing with higher-end species.
Because wood can be painted any color or finished almost any way you can think of, it can suit almost any architectural style. With a natural finish, though, wood is ideal for Craftsman, Bungalow and Cape Cod architectural themes.
Moreover, because wood siding can be cut and shaped with relative ease, you won’t have to worry about overlap or ill-fitting areas. Another advantage is that wood is highly sustainable, and breaks down easily in landfills.
One of the biggest disadvantages of real wood is high maintenance. You will need to refinish and carefully care for it in order to preserve its durability and looks. With proper maintenance, wood siding can last as long as the house to which it’s attached, but neglecting clear finish or waterproofing upkeep can have dire consequences.
Overall, untreated or poorly maintained wood siding is susceptible to rot, termite infestation, mold, moisture penetration, and fire.
6. Stucco for Mediterranean-inspired architecture
Do you dream of an Italianate or Mediterranean style home? If so, stucco is the ideal choice. Closely associated with not only Southwestern American and Spanish Colonial architecture, but also Modern and Arts and Crafts styles, stucco can provide a distinctive look to your home.
Total prices for stucco range from $7.50 to $10 per square foot installed. Synthetic stucco is about 15-20% more costly. Your total cost will fluctuate depending on the amount of preparation work required for your project, which can be substantial in some cases.
Because toner for coloring is mixed directly into stucco siding, your chosen hue will permeate the entire mixture. This means you’ll never have to repaint stucco siding. Resistant to both insects and fire, you may also be able to avoid repair expenses associated with these types of damages. Superior insulation qualities can also translate to lower energy bills and decreased usage, a major plus if you’re thinking green for your home project.
The primary drawback to stucco is that installation is highly specialized, and it’s not always easy to find a contractor with the right experience level to complete the job. Another potential problem is that stucco should not be installed in regions with a lot of persistent moisture and dampness, as it will become over-saturated.
Finally, if your home foundation and structure tends to shift, stucco is not be a good siding, because it will crack in the process of these shifts. Thus, stucco should only be used on very stable homes.
7. Stone veneer – high-end elegance
When it comes to timeless luxury, it’s hard to compete with stone as a home exterior option. Unfortunately, real stone may be far out of the remodeling budget of the majority of homeowners. For the look of stone at a dramatically lower price, it’s a wise move to consider stone veneer. This less expensive alternative can give you the look you desire without breaking the bank.
While it’s substantially less costly than real stone, installation and materials for stone veneer siding are among the more expensive options. You can spend as much as $15 to $30 per square foot.
In terms of architectural styles, stone veneer is suited to a variety of houses. Tudor homes are most closely associated with a stone exterior, though it can make appearances on Ranch, Prairie and Dutch Colonial styles.
This siding can be manufactured to mimic limestone or granite, river rock or dry stack stones. A very common application is to use stone veneer as an accent to highlight an entry way or windows, rather than over the entire exterior.
Imparting some qualities of natural stone, including fire and insect resistance in addition to aesthetics, stone veneer comes with a host of benefits. Unlike natural stone, which can be incredibly heavy, opting for stone veneer means you won’t have to invest in shoring up your foundation just to accommodate the weight of your house siding.
Still, it is one of the most expensive materials on the market, and lower-quality stone veneer may not look quite like the real thing.
Which exterior siding is right for you?
When replacing siding on your home, there are many factors to consider in addition to overall cost. There is not one type of siding that would be an ideal fit for every type of home or geographic location.
Here are some essential questions to keep in mind when selecting your new siding:
1. Long vs short term value: how long do you plan to live in your house? If you plan on selling, it may not make sense to install very expensive, high quality siding. On the other hand, if you plan on staying, durable siding is worth paying extra for.
2. Local weather conditions: make sure that your siding is well suited for the climate you live in. Take into consideration such conditions as heavy heat, snow and ice, excessive rain, humidity, severe temperature fluctuations, heavy winds, etc. Every siding material has its own performance strengths and weaknesses that may not work in a particular region.
3. Return on investment: more expensive types of siding, such as stone, brick, wood tend to boost property value. Think about whether its worth it to spend more on this siding upfront and reap the long-term financial benefits of a high-end siding.
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