Vinyl shake siding is a popular option among U.S. homeowners due to its durability, versatility, and cost-effectiveness.
However, most homeowners love to install vinyl shakes because they are a very affordable and beautiful replica of real wood shingles and shake siding.
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What Is Vinyl Shake Siding?
Vinyl shake siding is a protective and decorative exterior element, serving as the perfect finishing touch and protecting the house structure from environmental damage.
In the past, wooden siding was the industry standard. However, it isn’t particularly durable – it expands and contracts depending on the temperature, can crack under direct sunlight and can deteriorate quickly.
As a result, the home loses its visual appeal, and water starts to penetrate the walls.
At first, the complex, manual production process made vinyl shake siding expensive. But in the 1970s, the production speed improved due to new technology implementation, and vinyl shake siding quickly gained popularity.
Nowadays, it’s one of the most common types of exterior siding.
How Much Does Vinyl Shake Siding Cost?
Vinyl shake siding costs vary greatly depending on the design, quality, manufacturer, and other factors.
On average, horizontal and vertical vinyl shakes cost $2-$3 per square foot, while cedar shakes can be slightly more expensive, reaching $4 per square foot.
Note that these prices don’t include the labor. The average cost of vinyl shake siding with professional installation ranges from $5 to $9 per square foot. Some homeowners also hire a designer to choose the best suitable vinyl siding style and color.
So, covering a 1,000-square foot home with vinyl shake siding can cost from $3,000 to $16,000, and the price can exceed $28,000 for a 3,000-square foot home.
The total project cost can be even higher if the contractor must remove and dispose of the old siding. Furthermore, the indicated prices don’t include costs of additional materials like furring strips and nails.
Note that labor costs may vary depending on your location. Contractors in major metro areas change more than those from small towns due to the highest cost of living.
Plus, installation of vinyl cedar shakes is typically more labor-intensive than vinyl clapboard, resulting in a slightly higher price.
Types of Vinyl Shake Siding
Vinyl shake comes in a wide range of shapes, textures, and colors, from white and black to green and blue. It consists of interlocking, overlapping panels. Let’s look at the most common vinyl shake siding types.
Horizontal or Clapboard Vinyl Siding
Horizontal or clapboard vinyl siding consists of long panels running across a home’s wall from one end to the other and the planks overlap.
This style can resemble wooden plank siding if the texture is chosen correctly. Clapboard siding additionally comes in different styles, including Dutch-lap, beaded, and smooth lap.
Vertical Vinyl Shake Siding
The vertical vinyl siding style features planks running vertically along the house. This shake siding type is often called barn siding due to its popularity among farmers in the U.S. Some vertical vinyl shakes have a smooth overlap, while others feature a board and batten styling.
Cedar Shake Vinyl Siding
True to its name, cedar shake siding resembles cedar wood shakes. This siding style is the most natural-looking and beautifully fits traditional homes.
Round Vinyl Shake Siding
Round vinyl shake siding, sometimes called scallop shake siding, is typically used as a trim, adding an accent to exterior design. This shake type looks especially stylish with horizontal or cedar vinyl shakes on the top gable ends.
Insulated Vinyl Shake Siding
Any of the above-mentioned vinyl shake siding styles can be insulated for extra energy savings.
Insulation underneath the siding helps to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the house, preventing air from escaping, thus reducing HVAC costs in the long run.
Pro Tip: Mix and match different siding styles for a modern look. For instance, use horizontal shake siding on the main house part, cedar shake siding on the top gable ends, and contrasting white scallop siding for separation.
Benefits of Shaker Style Vinyl Siding
Vinyl shake has become one of most popular siding choices among U.S. homeowners for many reasons. Here are the main benefits of this siding type.
Vinyl shakes is highly versatile due to the wide selection of styles and colors. It fits any home exterior, including rustic, traditional, southern, and modern. It can enhance the visual appeal of any home and make it unique.
Vinyl shake siding is weather-resistant against rain, snow, strong winds, direct sunlight, and extreme temperatures. It doesn’t expand, contract, corrode, fade, or crack.
Therefore, shake vinyl siding requires minimal maintenance. It’s an excellent choice for homeowners residing in coastal regions where wood siding can quickly deteriorate.
For instance, wood siding can rot in 10 years in humid climates. Meanwhile, vinyl shakes never warp or rot and don’t let water in because of the overlapping construction.
Vinyl shake rarely requires replacement. Depending on the environmental conditions, installation quality, and maintenance, it can last between 30 to 60 years.
For comparison, wooden siding only lasts for 20-30 years. Weather is the main factor affecting vinyl shake siding’s lifespan.
Although vinyl is resistant to harsh weather and extreme temperatures, its life expectancy decreases if it’s constantly exposed to heavy rain or intense UV rays.
And while vinyl shake siding doesn’t require regular check-ups and repairs, it isn’t completely maintenance-free and needs cleaning every once in a while. Lastly, vinyl shake siding is susceptible to physical damage.
The installation of vinyl shake siding is easier than wood or fiber cement siding. Although we highly advise homeowners to choose professional installation over DIY, it usually costs less because the process isn’t as labor-intensive as with other siding types.
Vinyl shake isn’t demanding in terms of maintenance. Occasional cleaning is sufficient to preserve the visual appeal of your home’s siding for decades.
It doesn’t require painting because the color runs all the way through the material and can’t be scratched off or stripped.
The vinyl effectively prevents outdoor air from getting indoors and vice versa, maintaining a comfortable temperature inside the house.
Therefore, vinyl shake siding is an energy-effective choice for homeowners concerned about high HVAC bills.
Insulated vinyl shakes can increase your home’s energy value from R-1 to R-2 or even R-4.
Furthermore, the installation of insulated vinyl shake siding can make you eligible for energy tax credits.
Vinyl siding is cheaper than natural wood or cement siding. Furthermore, vinyl shake is easier to install than other siding types, leading to lower installation costs, and doesn’t require repairs or replacement as often.
Drawbacks of Vinyl Shake Siding
Although vinyl shake siding has numerous benefits, it isn’t perfect. Homeowners considering this siding option must familiarize themselves with potential pitfalls.
Low Fire Protection Rating
Vinyl is resistant to extreme temperatures, rain, and snow, but not fire. Vinyl shake sidings are not permitted in some residential areas with strict building codes because of a low fire protection rating. Aluminum and fiber cement shakes offer much better protection from fire.
Fragility typically isn’t an issue with horizontal and vertical vinyl shakes but can be a problem with cedar vinyl shakes. Physical impact can cause shakes to crack or break, and the only solution is replacing the damaged shakes.
Simple But No Fool-Proof Installation
Although installing vinyl shakes is easier than other types, most homeowners rely on a contractor. Vinyl siding’s effectiveness and lifespan largely depend on installation quality, so saving on hiring a contractor can lead to higher expenses in the long run.
Potentially Lower Home Value
High-quality vinyl shake siding, especially insulated siding, can increase a home’s resale value. On the other hand, it can lower the resale value of historic buildings.
Architecturally, vinyl shake siding flattens the home’s exterior, often resulting in a two-dimensional look. If your home originally had wood, fiber cement, or steel siding, that’s a factor to consider.
Vinyl Traps Water Inside
Properly installed vinyl siding is water-resistant and doesn’t let moisture between the shakes. But problems arise when vinyl shake is poorly installed or physically damaged.
Vinyl shake is often installed over a styrene insulation board that traps water within the wall’s cavity.
Water may also get under the shakes if the siding edges aren’t caulked. Excessive moisture build-up can lead to faster building structure decay, termite infestation, and mold.
Vinyl isn’t a natural material, so its production can cause more harm to the environment than cement or aluminum shake manufacturing.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) even has strict workplace exposure limits for vinyl siding factory workers.
Furthermore, most plastic recycling plants don’t accept items containing PVC. However, vinyl shake siding doesn’t need to be replaced for decades, so this isn’t a major concern for most homeowners.
Pro Tip: Siding trim can enhance your home’s visual appeal and prevent moisture from getting trapped in the wall’s cavity. Consider choosing a contrasting trim for a modern touch – for instance, pair black vinyl siding with white trim.
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Vinyl Shake Siding Brands
The selection of vinyl shake siding brands is vast. Here are some top manufacturers to consider:
CertainTeed Siding – The brand offers all types of vinyl shake siding, including insulated. CertainTeed siding number-one brand among siding professionals with production located in Philadelphia. The prices range from $4.50 to $9 per square foot installed.
Kaycan Siding – Their catalog features vertical, horizontal, cedar, and insulated vinyl siding options in virtually any color or texture. Kaycan products are produced in the U.S. and sold in 35 countries. The prices vary from $3 to $8 per square foot installed.
Alside Siding – An industry-leading vinyl siding manufacturer from Ohio. Alside produces reinforced, insulated, and designer sidings in over 19 colors for any preference. The prices range from $3 to $8 per square foot installed.
How to Extend The Lifespan of Your Vinyl Shake Siding
Every homeowner wants their house siding to last for decades, but the material lifespan largely depends on proper maintenance. Thankfully, caring for vinyl shake siding is simple.
All you need to do is clean it of dust and debris occasionally with water, regularly check panels for damage, and replace them as needed.
Vinyl Shake vs. Wood Siding
Wood siding has been around for much longer than vinyl and remains a popular option. Let’s see how these siding types differ to determine which is right for you.
Natural wood siding costs from $6 to $12 per square foot, including installation, while vinyl siding price usually doesn’t exceed $9 per square foot.
Wood is a raw material that must be harvested and processed properly, thus the higher price. Furthermore, wood siding has a shorter lifespan, so the difference multiplies in the long run.
Vinyl shake siding lasts 30-60 years on average, depending on the climate, quality, and maintenance. Meanwhile, wood siding only lasts for 10-40 years.
Its lifespan is the shortest in coastal regions and continental climates, where temperature fluctuations cause the material to contract and expand.
Wood tends to rot in humid environments and fades under direct sunlight. Furthermore, natural wood always attracts insects and rodents.
And while vinyl is flammable, no material spreads fire faster than wood. On the other hand, wood siding is less susceptible to physical damage from hail or severe wind.
Esthetic appeal is a matter of preference. But while vinyl shake sidings come in dozens of textures and colors, wood siding design options are limited.
Wood sidings look excellent on traditional homes but don’t suit the high-tech style. Vinyl sidings can replicate any material, including cedarwood and metal, so they suit any house.
Any siding requires routine maintenance like cleaning, but wood demands a bit more attention. Wood siding must be regularly caulked, sanded, and sealed to maintain structural integrity and visual appeal. Furthermore, homeowners must keep an eye on signs of rotting and insect infestation.
Pro Tip: If you’re planning to invest in insulated vinyl shake siding, ask the siding company to calculate the energy rating increase. This will help determine your energy savings in the long term.
Vinyl Shake Siding vs. Cement Siding
Another common alternative to vinyl is cement siding. Here’s how these materials differ.
Fiber cement siding, such as James Hardie, costs vary drastically, from $5 to $20 per square foot installed. Generally, it is more expensive than vinyl siding because of installation complexity and material cost.
Vinyl shake and fiber cement siding lifespan are similar – 30-50 years with good maintenance and favorable weather conditions.
Fiber cement siding doesn’t crack from expansion and contraction, doesn’t fade under direct sunlight, and doesn’t rot.
Furthermore, it isn’t as flammable as vinyl, resists impact better and doesn’t attract insects. Although vinyl shake siding is durable, it can’t compete with fiber cement siding.
The latter is especially beneficial for homeowners residing in areas with strict building safety requirements due to fire resistance.
Nowadays, cement siding comes in many styles, including shake, plank, and geometric patterns. The color and finish selection are also unlimited. Overall, both vinyl and cement sidings offer homeowners full design freedom.
As with vinyl shake siding, cement siding requires minimal maintenance. But while the color penetrates vinyl, eliminating the need for repainting, cement requires repainting every 10-15 years.
This isn’t an issue with unpainted cement sidings common in modern-style houses.
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Vinyl Shake vs. Metal Siding
Another top quality vinyl alternative is metal siding. Although it isn’t as common as wood or cement, metal siding has numerous benefits. Let’s see whether it beats vinyl shake siding in competition.
Metal siding costs vary significantly depending on the material. Tin and aluminum siding costs, on average, $2-$7 per square foot installed, while zinc and copper can exceed $25 per square foot. On average, meta siding is slightly more expensive than vinyl siding.
Depending on the material, metal siding can last from 20 to 50 years, similar to vinyl shake siding. Metal siding’s lifespan is significantly lower in coastal regions because increased humidity leads to corrosion.
Metal siding is susceptible to corrosion and fading under direct sunlight, as opposed to vinyl siding.
Metal also expands and contracts in extreme temperatures, so it isn’t the best choice for continental climates.
However, it’s less prone to physical and fire damage. Vinyl siding is typically better for coastal regions and continental climates, while metal is better for areas with hurricanes and hail.
One may think that metal siding design options are limited, but modern technology can give metal any color and texture. Some metal sidings can even resemble natural wood. Overall, both vinyl and metal sidings are highly versatile and suit an array of styles.
Metal siding requires regular repainting and cleaning. Furthermore, homeowners should inspect the siding to detect scratches and prime them as soon as they appear to prevent corrosion.
Is Vinyl Shakes Siding Right For You?
Vinyl shake siding is an aesthetically-pleasing, durable, and cost-effective option. Although some homeowners see vinyl as inferior to aluminum or wood, it’s better suitable for humid and continental climates and is more versatile.
However, homeowners should remember the importance of correct installation and high-quality materials.
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