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Lap Siding Installation & Cost Guide

Lap siding specifically refers to a technique of placement and installation. Consequently, lap siding includes a broad swathe of potential siding materials, so there exists many different options at several price points. The most inexpensive forms of siding are usually vinyl or wood with synthetic stone and other luxury materials taking up the higher end of the price scale. Size and quality matter greatly in this regard. Thicker siding tends to be more expensive as well as more durable. Cheaper siding tends not to last as long, while the more expensive options will come with the potential for 25-year warranties and similar.

The Costs

  • Average highest cost of lap siding: $40 per square foot

  • Average lowest cost of lap siding: $5 per square foot

Installation of lap siding also varies greatly in cost with the materials used and the amount covered. Larger houses will entail larger labor costs due to the increased time required to side them as well as the increased risk to laborers who will need to utilize ladders or scaffolds to perform installations. More complicated housing designs will usually have quotes with higher installation costs.

Installation costs also vary greatly with materials. Wooden siding is perhaps the easiest to install as it requires the most basic tool. Vinyl and metal siding run a close second. Synthetic stone siding is usually the most expensive to install as it is much more specialized and harder to install without damaging it in the process.


Because lap siding is such a broad category, there are a great number of potential materials available on the market. All have advantages and disadvantages, but the primary point of interest is in the aesthetics, which vary greatly between different kinds of siding.

The most basic kind of siding is simple wood plank siding. Lap siding created by wood planks can be made out of cedar, birch, and many other wood materials. Cedar is often considered the highest quality for its innate capabilities with repelling water and keeping things insulated as well as its look. Pine is usually the easiest to find as pine wood is domestically available in large quantities, but it is also the least durable.

Vinyl siding is much lighter than wooden siding and can be easier to install on taller homes as a result. Vinyl is inherently weather-resistant and may not need to be painted, making it a great choice for many homes.

Composite siding is comprised of multiple materials joined together to form a more-solid whole, much in the same way shingles are made. It tends to be heavier than vinyl but carries the same weatherproof qualities. It can better withstand high winds but is much more difficult to install.

Synthetic stone siding is very stylish. Many homes that appear to be made of stone in part are in fact made of traditional building materials with synthetic stone siding over it. Synthetic stone siding is made to be as weatherproof as other alternatives. It is, however, the heaviest type of siding as well as the hardest to install, and not all contractors are willing to work with it.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Lap Siding

The primary purpose of siding is to reinforce a home's weather protection. The materials of walls can be appropriately lacquered to resist the intrusion of water, but this will rarely be complete. Siding can take it a step further and allow water to simply slough off. Lap siding is installed in such a way as to further water-lock and assist this by overlapping each other.

Siding works as an additional layer on the walls of a home. As such, it provides additional insulation. The layered, overlapping nature of lap siding further assists this as it allows more air to be trapped between the walls of the home and the siding itself.

Some siding is designed to be painted but not all of it needs to be. In many cases, siding can directly improve the way a home looks from the outside, improving the exterior decor. Higher-quality siding is best for this, and synthetic stone is usually considered the best. Siding can be used to create advanced patterns on walls as well, using multiple colors and materials.

Because there are so many ways to construct lap siding, it can be difficult to make plans. There can be a lot of different materials to get quotes for, and that can be time consuming. Additionally, not all businesses will install all kinds of siding, and that can make it difficult to find a team that can handle what work is required. It may take significant research to decide on the best siding options for a home.

While siding can be used to improve the look of a home, it can also degrade the overall aesthetics if it is of lower quality. For instance, unpainted vinyl siding tends to yellow with dust and sunlight very quickly if it is not painted, and siding that ages poorly must be replaced to avoid making the whole home look run down. Further, mismatched siding can be a problem. If a segment of siding is replaced or doesn't properly match the decor of the rest of the home, it can make the home look worse than a poor paint job would have left it.

Siding can be worn down by harsh weather and other conditions. Storms can be particularly bad for siding, ripping off pieces of siding. When siding is damaged, it has to be replaced promptly. Gaps left in siding by damage can allow moisture to remain and mold to grow and can cause prolonged water exposure and damage. Damaged siding also tends to make a home look quite a bit lower in quality unless it is repaired promptly.

Last updated on Aug 25, 2014

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