Home siding does not get the recognition it deserves. House siding protects your home from rain or snow, but also gives your home the welcomed curb appeal we all desire. Fortunately, there is not a one-size fits all, as there are plenty of functional and design-friendly home siding options on the market.
Below are the most popular types of siding, as well as a few different possibilities within each choice one should consider before any siding project.
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One the most prominent and cost-effective siding options is vinyl. Additionally, compared to wood siding, vinyl siding is very easy to maintain and available in many different colors. In fact, it can even imitate wood or stone. Vinyl is also very durable and one of the easiest siding options to install without a pro.
According to our vinyl siding cost estimator, the average price of vinyl siding ranges between $3.50/sf and $7.50/sf. Given the low cost and benefits, there’s no wonder why it’s the No. 1 siding option in the U.S.
Like all the options below, there are a few different types of vinyl siding all homeowners should know.
Liquid Vinyl Siding
Liquid vinyl is exactly what it sounds like. This spray-on siding was originally intended to replace exterior paint, but homeowners and contractors quickly realized that it was a reliable PVC siding option.
Liquid vinyl siding can be used on nearly any surface and is very easy to clean. However, installation is no easy task. We highly recommend hiring a siding professional.
Given the many steps a pro needs to complete and install liquid vinyl, the overall installation price is usually higher than the $3-$6/sf average.
Insulated Vinyl Siding
One of the many functions of your home’s siding is insulation. You pay all that many for heat, but oftentimes, your siding lets all that expensive heat leave the home. One of the most efficient home siding options is insulated vinyl siding.
Insulated vinyl siding has an insulating piece placed behind the clapboard layer. It is permanently adhered. With traditional vinyl siding, a thermal backing is applied prior to installation and insulation is either blown into the walls or placed within the framing of the home.
Despite the higher cost, there are plenty of advantages to installing insulated vinyl siding.
Those who prefer a more natural look will almost certainly choose wood siding. Its beautiful appearance gives any home an extra bump in resale value and will easily stand out next to homes with other siding options.
Nonetheless, while it is durable, wood siding is susceptible to water and fire damage. As a result, special sealants are typically required for all wood siding options. To no surprise, both these drawbacks and perks bring about a higher installation cost.
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One way to decrease your overall project cost is by shopping around. Below are some of the major wood siding options on the market.
A desirable type of wood is cedar, so it is no surprise that cedar comes up for many siding conversations. Cedar is generally less expensive than vinyl siding and it is a better insulator than most other siding options (not insulated vinyl). However, cedar typically has to be re-stained and requires a lot of maintenance if you want to maintain its original color. Manufacturers can produce cedar siding from red, yellow or white cedar.
See more at our cedar shake siding price guide.
Redwood, as the name suggests, is one of the most appealing and elegant wood siding options on the market. Redwood is a hard type of wood that can last with the best of them, largely due to its resistance to pests and weather. Redwood is comparable in price to other woods and also brings about the same maintenance concerns previously discussed.
According to our redwood siding cost guide, the average cost of just the redwood itself (no installation) is between $8/sf and $20/sf.
Cypress siding is one of the most durable types of hardwoods. Even 200-year-old homes can reuse their cypress siding after demolition. Like redwood, cypress is unaffected by insects and lightweight, making it easier to install. Nonetheless, cypress does not lend itself to contemporary or modern settings. It is somewhat rare and the average cypress siding price, ranging from $3/sf to $21/sf, reflects that.
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, one of the most popular types of wood siding was hardboard (or pressboard). It’s mainly composed of wood fibers and chips held together by glue. However, years back, a class action lawsuit found that many hardboard sidings installed in the 1980s and 1990s had severe deficiencies. As a result, many manufacturers stopped production due to numerous lawsuits.
Another older type of wood siding is plywood. While it is cost effective, typically hovering around $4/sf and gives any home a natural feel, plywood siding largely hit its peak in the 1970s and 1980s and has since then taken a back seat to other options discussed in this article.
Plywood is the stronger grade of the T1-11 siding options due to its durability and variety of choices. Nonetheless, it still brings about its fair share of maintenance issues.
For more insight, please see the guide to plywood siding.
Engineered Wood Siding
While it doesn’t often portray a natural look and sense many homeowners envision with their wood siding, engineered hardwood has been gaining steam as it can be cheaper than alternative wood siding options and requires less maintenance.
Engineered wood is typically made from recycled wood or waste wood. Many homeowners can’t tell the difference between engineered and real wood (same with flooring) and fortunately, engineered is resistant to warping or cracking. Just know that engineered wood siding has been known to grow fungi in humid areas and to trap humidity within the fibrous interior.
Wood Siding Styles
While it can be confusing at times, in addition to the type of wood siding one must choose, style counts as well. There are plenty of different siding styles to choose from, all of which offer their own design pros and cons.
Board and Batten Siding
While wood and engineered wood are options for board and batten siding, homeowners can also use vinyl for this clean line form of siding. Board and batten siding usually consists of thick vertical boards divided by small gaps, otherwise known as battens. Some choose to go with horizontal board and battens, but either way, the pros and cons are largely similar to other wood, engineered or vinyl siding options.
Many of the wood styles involve one board on top of the other. They differ in the amount of overlap (if any) and angle in which they are installed. Shiplap siding is most commonly made of wood and the overlap is formed from a 3/8” to ½” rabbet cut on opposite sides, running the length of the board. It is very common in colder climates and on barns/sheds.
Shake or Shingle Siding
Largely used interchangeably due to its looks, shake and shingle siding are two other popular forms of home siding. Shakes are typically sawn at one end and machine-grooved for a thicker, more rustic appearance. Shakes do not lay flat when installed, so wind and precipitation can make their way through the gaps. Shingles are more precisely milled, laying flat when installed, and the overlay between shingles leaves little gap exposed to the elements.
For more distinction, please see cedar shake siding.
Clapboard, or beveled, siding offers a unique design where the overlap is clear to anyone passing by. The boards are thick on one end and thin on the other. This popular siding option has been used for decades, but still brings a unique flair to any home exterior.
To no surprise, one of the most classic and durable siding options is brick. Costing close to that of wood siding, brick siding presents few maintenance items and can offer terrific insulation for any climate.
The three types of brick siding are brick veneer, real brick and panelized brick. Brick siding is typically insulated with 1” foam insulation between the brick and the actual house.
On the downside, brick veneer can allow moisture to enter the exterior wall and typically, ventilation ports are usually added to reduce moisture from building up.
See all the advantages and disadvantages of brick siding here.
Perhaps the most exquisite siding is stone, which comes in three options: natural stone siding, cultured stone siding and faux stone siding. While the price is steep compared to other options discussed (minimum $10/sf), homeowners who love the look of stone should know that it is the most durable option on the market. You won’t have to worry about siding repair costs when you go with stone.
Other than the cost, stone siding is very heavy, so the average installation time is much longer than that of wood or vinyl. Nonetheless, if you have the budget and the time, there’s no better value on the market than stone siding.
One’s siding should largely be determined by that of your neighbors and community. When it comes Southwest décor, stucco siding is hard to beat. Despite numerous color options, stucco is not immune to repairs and can get costly if large cracks form. Also, unlike many woods or vinyl, stucco should not be painted since it can seal the pores that allow for the movement of air between the home and outside. Therefore, repairing or changing your stucco siding can get expensive to say the least.
The minimum cost for stucco siding is $3/sf.
While few residential homes choose metal siding, it's quite popular for factories and industrial buildings. It’s quite expensive (usually $20 more than vinyl siding per every hundred square foot), but metal siding is the “set it and forget” type of siding. It's impervious to water, fire and insects, something the very prominent wood siding can’t say.
Homeowners who prefer metal siding will have the option of aluminum or copper, both of which are not immune to discoloration. Nonetheless, many homeowners stay away from metal siding due to its industrious feel and high installation cost.
Fiber Cement Siding
Finally, we come to fiber cement siding, which can typically be purchased with a 50-year warranty. Also known as hardie board siding, fiber-cement siding is low-maintenance, non-flammable and termite-resistant. While it can be cheaper than wood or metal, fiber cement siding homes built before 1990 may have asbestos.
Needless to say, when it comes to home siding, you have plenty of options to choose from. If you are looking to install or replace your siding, be sure to contact a local siding pro before you make your final decision.