Need to Replace Your Home's siding? Here Are Some Options to Consider

Siding is the outer covering for your house. It's a protective barrier against the elements, and comes in many materials. If you are looking for new siding for your home, this article will give you information on the various types available, approximate costs, and where you can buy siding or have it installed for you. We'll present the pro's and con's for each siding type so that you can choose what might best fit your home, area, budget, and other considerations.

The main siding materials include wood, vinyl or plastic, and other types of siding such as concrete or cement, brick, or stone. The most common types, and most economical, are vinyl and wood. If your budget can afford it and your architecture will support it, you may be interested in one of the other types, like brick or stone. Read about each siding type and decide whether it's right for you.

Siding Types Explained

Here's a brief description of the siding types available and the pro's and con's of each type. We including price ranges and availability, durability, and other information to help you decide which one works for you.

  • Wood Siding
    Wood siding is more expensive than vinyl and does require more upkeep to maintain its life expectancy. With regular maitenance--including painting--wood siding can last you 30 years or more. The types of wood generally used in siding include cedar, spruce and pine. Pine is not rot-resistant so it requires even more work to make it last. Prices vary according to type of wood used and style. T-111 siding is a plywood verion which has different face treatments and groove patters to emulate the traditional board siding, and is the least expensive of all wood types. Stained finishes usually require less work to keep them in shape than does paint.
  • Vinyl Siding
    Vinyl siding is popular because it costs less than wood or other siding types, and because it can last a long time. While vinyl siding does not rot or flake, no will it ever need painting, there are still some drawbacks. While it won't rot like wood can, vinyl can crack with time or when hit by debris thrown by winds or your lawnmower. Strong winds can get underneath the sheets of vinyl and lift off one or more panels. And vinyl isn't maintenance-free, either. While wood will need periodic painting or staining, vinyl siding should be washed yearly. There'll be no need to paint with vinyl, and if you think you are locked in to the colors that vinyl comes in, be aware that there are many more colors available now, and you are very likely to find the color you want for your house exterior. Vinyl quality is higher than ever before, so if your budget can't afford wood, you should still get good value with vinyl siding.
  • Brick and Brick Veneer
    Brick is made of fired clay, and comes in a variety of earth-toned colors. It's expensive, but extremely durable. Brick should last for centuries, and you shouldn't have any patching or other upkeep for at least 25 years. You can also consider brick veneer. While not as durable as the real thing, it's still attractive and long-lived.
  • Stone and Cultured Stone
    Another extremely durable siding material, also extremely expensive. Stone types include limestone, granite and slate. They are weather-resistant. Stone veneers look and feel like stone but are more affordable.
  • Cement Fiber
    Can have the appearance of wood, stucco, or other masonry. Can have a warranty of up to 50 years. Needs less maintenance than wood.
  • Aluminum and Seamless Steel
    You may not consider these as siding types for your home, but they are a viable siding material. Seamless steel siding is very strong and durable, and doesn't look like aluminum or steel at all. You can get it in a wood-grain texture. Aluminum is an alternative to vinyl, won't crack as vinyl can, but is subject to dents and facing.

Price Ranges

When you talk to a siding sales person, he may talk about buying in "squares." Usually siding isn't measured in square feet like carpeting or other flooring materials. When you hear the term "square," it refers to a measurement of 100 square feet, or 10 feet by 10 feet. So if you get a quote of xx dollars per "square" and it seems high, think in terms of these measurements.

That said, we did find an online price guide which gives quotes in square feet, and includes labor. Keep in mind that this is a general guide, prices may vary where you are. If you're a do-it-yourselfer, your prices may be lower.

Vinyl siding: about $2-3 per square foot
Wood siding: for clear cedar the quote was $3.50 to $6.50 per square foot. Paint grade wood siding is about $1-2 less.
Fiber Cement: $3-4 per square foot
Brick: $6-12 per square foot.
Stone: $12-30 per square foot
Aluminum: $3-5 per square foot.

Since these prices are quoted to include installation labor, keep in mind that the cost could be higher depending on other factors, such as water damage, if previous layer needs to be removed, etc.

Siding Manufacturers and Dealers

There are many makers of Vinyl Siding. Well-known manufacturers include CertainTeed, Sears. and Owen-Corning. When you pull up their web sites, there is usually a search field where you can input your location and other data relative to the siding you want done, and get an estimate. Wood siding manufacturers include Georgia Pacific and Simpson Lumber. Concrete Fiber manufacturers include CertainTeed, JamesHardie, and Cemplank. A good source for stone siding is Owen-Corning.

Most manufacturer's web sites will have a search feature so that you can locate a dealer near you. Or if you have already located the dealer, access their site to see if they feature a form to get an estimate. When you have completed the form, submit it and you will be contacted within a reasonable length of time by someone who will come to your home, look at what they'll be working with, and give you an estimate. Feel free to get several estimates and go with the one that feels right to you. Remember, when it comes to your home, cheapest isn't always the way to go!

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