Little decisions regarding fixing up your house can add up. For instance, no one would ever guess that the type of siding you choose can make or break the bank. However, going with a cheap option isn’t always the answer either. This line of thinking makes us wonder what the best siding option is for both price and quality.
There are five factors to consider when trying to answer this. Cost, environmental impact, versatility, durability, and maintenance. The most classic siding options should be weighed under these circumstances. Consider materials such as vinyl, wood, engineered wood, fiber cement, brick, stucco, synthetic stone, etc. All have pros and cons to each.
That’s why it makes sense to break down each type of siding and assess whether the pros outweigh the cons and vice versa. It’s also useful to know the installation cost on average for each. By the end of this piece, you will be ready to call a professional to make a choice!
Which Type of House Siding Is Best? 5 Factors to Consider
It is easy to get overwhelmed by the different options on the market. Consider these factors.
- Does the cost match the quality?
- What type of environmental impact does it have to make/exist?
- Does it have one function, or is it versatile?
- How well will it hold up?
- How much maintenance is it?
Let’s break them down.
Just because premium material costs a lot doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be the best quality. Sometimes fake wood can be more durable or versatile than real wood. There is usually a middle ground here where you can invest in a good product without banking the break if you are on a budget.
When looking at different materials, it’s important to know the average cost of that product. Even within a particular material, there will be a range of costs for different sub-products. Certain metals come at a different price than other metals.
Most of us don’t consider that the material we build in our homes can’t last forever. It may seem counterintuitive, but the more biodegradable products we use to build homes, the more earth-friendly it is.
If your housing has PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), then you are using non-biodegradable materials that contribute more plastic to the world.
From an economic standpoint, you also don’t want to waste money on heating a house that struggles to keep the heat in. Quality siding can be a factor in this. This factor is more important to some than others but, nonetheless, is something to consider.
The material you choose to work with should be able to go with other parts of your house. They also may come in different cuts, colors, patterns, and more.
PVC and vinyl are said to be among the most versatile, whereas brick falls a little lower on that scale. Versatility is more important to some than others but still an important factor to consider.
Durability relates directly to the quality of the product. Durability is something that also changes based on your climate and where you live. Some wood materials in more humid areas with salty air will break down as opposed to brick. Areas like Cape Cod are a perfect example of this.
Durability is not always a direct result of the cost of a product. This is the most important factor to consider. Getting quality materials is more important than cutting costs or spending money on premium materials. Getting the siding right is a part of the equation.
Maintenance is a personal choice. Ideally, you want to find a product that survives well on its own. You will have to hire someone or do it yourself if it has a lot of maintenance. Maintenance usually revolves around how often you have to clean, repaint, and so on.
The maintenance level will also affect the durability of the product and the environment you put it in. That’s why it also becomes an important part of the equation as well.
Type of Siding and Average Cost per Square Foot
|Type of Siding||Cost Total||Cost per Square Foot|
|Vinyl||Between $4,999 and $16,836||Between $2.50 and $10.75|
|Wood||Between $9,000 and $18,750||Between $6 to $12|
|Fiber Cement||Between $3,675 and $19,275||Between $2.45 to $12.85|
|Engineered Wood||Between $5,370 and $12,869||Between $3.58 to $8.58.|
|Synthetic Stone||Between $9,000 and $28,500.||Between $6 to $19|
|Stone Veneer||Between $7,500 and $13,500||Between $5 to $9|
|Brick||Between $5,000 and $22,500.||Between $5 and $15.|
|Stucco||Between $7,500 and $14,370||Between $5 to $9.58|
|Aluminum||Between $2,625 to $10,500||Between $1 and $7|
|Metal||Between $4,171 and $18,279||Between $3 and $30|
Vinyl siding is commonly confused with wood. But the appeal is that vinyl siding is made of plastic and is a common choice for apartment complexes, townhomes, and houses.
Vinyl siding runs as one of the most affordable options and gives more bang for your buck in terms of durability.
Vinyl requires minimal maintenance by just rinsing down the home’s exterior from time to time. Harder to-remove stains can be done with a soft brush. Be careful not to scrub and cause erosion of the home.
Easy to Install
The costs are low because the material goes on easily. A typical housing project takes 7-14 days.
Seams are a must for vinyl siding because it allows for expansion and contraction during the change of seasons.
While vinyl siding has become more durable, it can crack due to excessive blows, improper installation, and various other reasons.
Cost and installation
The average cost for installing vinyl siding is $9,324, ranging between $4,999 and $16,836. It’s also $2.50 and $10.75 per square foot. On the lowest end, expect $3,060, with the most expensive projects averaging around $22,133.
Wood offers a classy look and is a durable option. It’s most commonly seen in cottage-style or bungalow homes. While it is an environmentally friendly and premium material, it can be vulnerable to breakdown in the future.
Since wood is a natural renewable resource, it is the most environmentally friendly option for building a home. It doesn’t have to be produced or manufactured.
Improves Resale Value
Wood is a premium material and can increase the whole resale value as long as it is in good shape.
Wood is great because it comes in many makes and models. It’s also easy to design and mold, making it versatile.
Wood breaks down over time. It has to be refinished and resurfaced and sometimes completely redone. Certain woods are more susceptible to certain conditions, such as salty air or humid climates.
Cost and Installation
The average cost range for wood siding ranges between $9,000 and $18,750. The price varies depending on the wood type and size of the home For instance, natural wood installation ranges from $6 to $12 per foot. Cedar is one of the most expensive types going in the $12 range.
Fiber cement is most commonly seen on commercial buildings but, in some cases, is used for domestic instances as well. It is one of the easiest to maintain but the most difficult to install. Cement, of course, is incredibly durable.
Fiber cement has the best guarantee because it lasts over 50 years! It’s also weather-resistant and great for all types of environments.
At the most, you will just need to rinse down the siding occasionally and repaint every 10-15 years. Some jobs come pre-painted and are included in the cost.
Difficult to Install
The downside to fiber cement is that the installation process is brutal. The process takes 10-17 days, depending on whether the project needs to be painted or not. What makes it difficult is that you have to predrill holes, so you don’t crack it.
Cost and installation
You can expect to pay $2.45 to $12.85 per square foot to install fiber cement. To start a project completely from scratch on the average 1,500 sq. foot home, the cost will be $3,675 minimally and $19,275 at the highest.
Engineered wood is made of many different wood products and adhesives. Despite being engineered, it is an environmentally friendly product. The best part is that it holds up better than wood but costs less.
Premium Wood Look
The best part of engineered wood is that it gives off a premium wood look without some of the downfalls that come with wood, such as cost. It also can come in as many, if not more, designs than actual wood.
All the beauty without the expense. Engineered wood is inexpensive, which is why it is nearly as popular as vinyl siding.
Volatile organic compounds or VOC are chemicals that can be emitted from materials and liquids. Engineered wood offers a more earth-friendly and healthy living option than other materials.
- Rot and continual maintenance
Engineered wood, unfortunately, does require a lot of maintenance. Since scratches and divots can’t be buffed out, it’s important not to let debris and dirt scratch the floor.
Cost and Installation
You can expect to pay between $5,370 – $12,869 for installation and product on an average house size. To make the price more specific to your home, you can use per square foot, which will cost between $3.58 to $8.58.
Synthetic stone and faux stone are interchangeable. This is because the stone is man-made and manufactured. We commonly see this as an added design to condos and apartment complexes but it can also make for beautiful domestic siding.
Stone is heavy to transport and install, but faux stone is lightweight and easy to put together. In general, it weighs 10-15 pounds per square foot.
Easy to install
Because of how lightweight it is, it’s super easy to install. Sometimes they are sold in panels and go on in a similar fashion to vinyl siding.
Despite being manufactured, it is still expensive. While not nearly as expensive as real stone, It still becomes a pricier option compared to most of the materials on this list besides wood.
Cost and installation
The average cost per square foot has a large range. You can expect anywhere from $6 to $19. With the average house coming in at 1,500 square feet, you can expect to pay anywhere between $9,000 on lower-end jobs to $28,500.
Manufactured Stone Veneer
Manufactured stone veneer is both slightly different from natural stone and synthetic stone. It is a little closer to stone because it has the properties of real stone. It’s man-made and is a much more affordable option.
Stone veneer is a lot cheaper than the former option. You won’t find yourself breaking the bank with this.
The only thing you need to remove dirt and debris is a light spray and maybe some cleaning product. It comes right off.
Looks and Feels like Real Stone
Chances are you won’t be able to tell whether it is real stone or veneer.
The drawback is that it can be slightly porous and retain more moisture than wanted. This can lead to the eventual breakdown of the material.
A lot of Steps for Installation
While it has definitely gotten easier to install, stone veneer still requires a lot of steps when laying the material. It’s best to use a professional for this kind of work.
Cost and installation
Stone veneer siding comes in at $5 to $9 per square foot. This is nearly half the cost of the most natural stone siding. For the average 1,500-square-foot home, we are looking at $7,500 and $13,500.
Brick siding is a popular choice for homes in North America because it’s a natural product that is durable and relatively low maintenance. Its versatility may be lower, but it’s a reliable product.
Brick will not break down under extreme weather conditions, which is why it’s common with housing in the Northeast that endures snowstorms.
- Pest and Animal Resistant
Unlike wood and other materials, you won’t find pests and animals breaking through its strong interior.
- Resale Value of Brick is Low
Brick may look charming, but it is a low-cost material which means it does not add value to your home like a wood finish wood.
- Possible Moisture Problem
Brick walls are not waterproof. When we see moisture moss tends to grow when moisture is prevalent. This requires a little bit of maintenance.
Cost and installation
The average cost per square foot is between $5 and $15. The cost for an average 1,500-foot square home will cost between $5,000 on the low end and $22,500 on the higher end. The type of brick is the deciding factor for the final price per square foot.
Stucco is a beautiful siding option that is commonly seen in the South and gives European vibes. It’s made of cement, sand, lime, and water and acts as a finish coat. Besides offering a great design, it is one of the most durable materials you can use.
Stucco may not look durable because of its shape and design, but to many’s surprise, warranties usually last 15-20 years. Well-maintained stucco has been said to last 100 years.
- Enhances Curb Appeal
Stucco designs give off a vacation feel because they mimic beautiful European homes from places like Spain and Italy.
Stucco cracks are serious. While a hairline may not cause much damage, deep cracks allow water to travel into easy pathways and ruin the home.
Cost and installation
Stucco can be relatively affordable compared to some alternatives. The average cost range falls between $7,500 and $14,370. Breaking it down to square feet, the average is $5 to $9.58. The average falls around $7 per square foot and $10,935 for a standard 1,500-square-foot home.
Aluminum siding is definitely a less popular option in today’s world. However, it still exists, so it’s worth knowing about its pros and cons. It’s not the prettiest option on the market but it may work well in some commercial situations.
If you do end up with aluminum siding, it’s good to know that it holds up well. It lasts for decades when it is properly installed. It also is not prone to cracking or breaking.
- Pest Resistant
With aluminum being so strong, there isn’t any room for pests to eat their way through the material. And when installed correctly, there aren’t gaps to crawl through.
- Hard to Clean
Stains and debris tend to stick to aluminum siding. You may find regular cleanings don’t work. Using a bristle brush is your best bet.
- Tough Curb Appeal
Aluminum siding isn’t as pretty or as versatile as some of the other options. This is a function over beauty material
- May Need More Repair Than Other Metal Siding
When an aluminum siding does break to start falling apart, the project can be more complicated to replace the siding than some other options.
Cost and installation
Aluminum siding is one of the cheapest options on the market. The price per square foot comes in at $1.75 to $7 on average. This brings the total for an average size home of 1,500 square feet to about $2,625 to $10,500.
Metal siding is pretty similar to aluminum siding. Aluminum tends to be a little thinner. In fact, it is about as half as thick as vinyl. Metal siding, which is commonly steel, is even more durable than aluminum siding.
Because of its thickness, metal siding tends to be the most durable option you can get. It is particularly good for areas that face extreme weather often.
Just like aluminum, you won’t find any pests or bugs being able to make their way inside this type of siding.
Can Retain a Dull Look
It may be shiny to start, but similar to other metals, metal becomes dull. And since it’s rather large, it can be tough to try and get rid of the tarnish.
Cost and Installation
There are many different kinds of metals on the market. Tin, for instance, comes in at around $1 to $3 per square foot. This is why the range is usually between $3 and $30 per square foot for a home or commercial building. Typically, a house will cost between $4,171 and $18,279.
Where To Buy Siding?
If you plan on doing the project yourself, then any home improvement store will have tons of siding available both to order and on the floor. These are stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and so on. You can also directly order only from a siding company that will be able to help you crunch numbers.
When you hire professionals to do the job, they can order the materials and will charge you for them. The problem with this sometimes is that you may be paying an upcharge to do this. If you buy the materials directly, you can save quite a bit of money in some cases.
Call a Professional
Siding is not an everyday kind of job. While some materials are easier to install, it is always best to call an experienced professional to do the job. They can help make recommendations based on your budget and environment.
Discussing what type of siding your home needs is not an everyday conversation. Having said that, when the time comes to replace or take care of your siding, knowing the facts can help you make the best decision.
Looking for attractive, cost-friendly materials, safe for the environment and good quality doesn’t come around often. It requires a little give and takes and an understanding of your surroundings.
Ultimately that’s why working with a professional can be your best option. They can help make some of these decisions or at least point you in the right direction. Then they can install it properly so that whatever warranty you have holds up.
Ruben has a diverse background in the home services industry, with experience running a construction company, a kitchen and bath showroom, and a moving and relocation company. This breadth of experience has provided him with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in various areas of home improvement in general and specifically in the heating and plumbing niche.