What do you actually pay for siding

Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | October 22, 2015

Choosing the best siding for your home is no easy matter: it is a choice you will have to live with for at least several decades in order to get your money's worth. So choose wisely by comparing every aspect of different types of siding. Sure, that kind of research takes time, but an investment like this is worth a few weekends of study and decision-making.

Choosing the best siding for your home

In choosing the best siding, it pays to know what the long-term costs and maintenance requirements will be -- so don't pay attention just to that initial bottom line. Here's how the most common forms of siding stack up. (Note: All costs are based on a home of 1,250 square feet.)

Vinyl siding

Extremely versatile and often quite affordable, today's vinyl siding allows you to choose from just about any color you can imagine. Vinyl requires a careful washing from time to time, usually once a year or so. Any broken or cracked pieces can be easily replaced with the appropriate tools and patience.

Vinyl siding can cost between $2 and $7 per square foot for professional installation, which equates to between $2,500 and $8,750. Depending upon the thickness of the siding, it can last between 20 and 40 years.

Aluminum siding

This fireproof, easy to install, and low maintenance siding can last for 35-40 years, but beware of the weather: Some climates can lead to corrosion, and storms can wreck havoc with dozens of dents and dings. Even the hot sun is an enemy, as it can bleach out the color of some lower-quality aluminum siding.

Given all of that, maintenance is pretty easy -- just wash the siding from time to time. The price is nice: At $2.50 to $3.50 per square foot, or $3,100 to $4,000 for the job, it is by far one of the most affordable options.

Fiber cement siding

This heavy-duty siding can easily last for 50 years or more, and it requires surprisingly little maintenance. Fiber cement siding is known for being resistant to insects, water damage, and fire. But it is also known for being very tough to install, requiring special tools and know-how, even for replacing a single panel. Give it a good cleaning once a year and inspect it often.

Fiber cement siding can cost between $4.50 and $11 per square foot installed. Expect to pay between $5,600 and $13,750 to transform your home's look.

Board and batten siding

For those who love the look of true wood, this is the only way to go. It does require serious upkeep, however -- regular painting or staining, for starters, as well as monthly visual inspections to ensure you catch the start of rot or insect infestations fast, before it becomes a financial sinkhole. Depending upon how serious your maintenance efforts are, wood might last anywhere from 15 to 100 years.

If you want to go with real solid wood siding, expect to pay between $6,500 and $10,000. Looking to go a bit cheaper? You can get engineered wood for $3,000 to $5,000.

Other options for a gorgeous home

Want to go with something more traditional than most of these siding options?

  • Stone. This unique look might cost a bit more than other options, but the finished product can be breathtaking. Well-maintained stone can last for centuries, as evidenced by the numerous old stone homes and barns in the Northeast. That kind of longevity requires good installation from a highly-skilled contractor, and that's not cheap: Expect to pay $36,000 or more to transform your place.
  • Stucco. Elegant and versatile, stucco can help create your dream look, but it also comes with some hefty maintenance responsibilities. Regular cleaning and even more regular inspections are a must -- water damage must be mitigated immediately to preserve the siding. Stucco often costs around six to nine dollars per square foot, which equates to $7,500 to $11,250. Expect well-maintained stucco to last for up to 50 years.
  • Brick. This classic look has been around for centuries and shows no signs of going out of style. With regular inspection and an occasional cleaning, brick can easily give you a hundred good years. The costs for brick siding vary widely depending upon the type; for standard red brick, expect to pay between $14,000 and $18,000.

In the question of which siding is best, there is no clear winner. Take your time in looking over the various options, find one that suits your budget, and then decide whether the yearly maintenance and average lifespan suits your needs. With a little homework, soon you will have a siding you'll love for years to come.

Photo credit to Audrey Kerchner

About the Author

Shannon Lee is a freelance writer and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.