Both engineered wood and vinyl are great siding materials. But which one is the best option for your home?

Vinyl siding beats engineered wood on several metrics including price, Longevity, and easy DIY install. But if you don’t mind spending a little more, you will give your home more natural-looking, energy efficient and all round better curb appeal.

The appearance of Engineered wood is usually preferred to that of vinyl since it closely resembles natural wood. Vinyl siding is however a lot better in moist environments where mold is a problem.

 Engineered wood SidingVinyl Siding
Cost per square foot $4 - $9$1 - $8
Longevity 30 years40 years
Appearance and texture More naturalMore artificial
Physical StabilityVery StableNot Stable
DIY Friendly Not DIY FriendlyVery DIY friendly
Eco-FriendlyVery Eco-FriendlyEco-Friendly
Thermal ResistanceVery Thermal ResistantNot Thermal Resistant
Moisture ResistanceNot Moisture ResistantVery Moisture Resistant
Style Flexibility FlexibleVery flexible

Factors that influence cost

Size and Design of the House

The size of a home usually determines the number of planks needed to effectively side a home. It also influences the amount of labor and equipment needed to complete the job within the specified time.

A complex and detailed design is also guaranteed to cost more in time and labor than a simple style since it requires greater siding expertise.

Old Siding Removal

Removing old vinyl or engineered wood siding usually costs an additional $2000 inclusive of labor and dumping. This translates to an average of $0.5 per square foot.

When doing this, experts should ensure they check the condition of the wood underneath. This will enable them to repair any decay or damage therein before installing new siding.

Quality of Siding Installed & Styles

Different companies offer distinct options as far as vinyl and engineered wood are concerned. These options normally vary in quality which means that they have different prices. You can get basic vinyl siding without any elaborate details for as low as $1.25 per square foot.

This price can however go as high as $12 per square foot for high-quality vinyl siding with an intricate design and insulation. Engineered wood is also offered in a variety of brands that cost between $3 and $8 per square foot based on quality.

Engineered Wood Vs Vinyl Siding Appearance

Engineered wood generally provides a more natural appearance than vinyl. This is because it is a mixture of composite wood and a wide range of strands, fibers, and chips from different species of wood.

These chips are usually bound together using a resin binder before being compressed to produce boards. The boards are then layered with a moisture-resistant coating that provides a cedar-grain design which enhances their rustic appearance.

Vinyl siding can be manufactured to resemble real wood in appearance although it often does not feel like natural wood in terms of texture. This is because it usually goes through an extrusion process which makes its patterns look rather artificial.

Vinyl is however quite versatile when it comes to style and color. This means that it is generally available in a wide range of styles, patterns, and colors that do not easily fade.

Engineered Wood Vs Vinyl Siding Appearance

Vinyl Siding Styles

The following are examples of vinyl siding styles:

Horizontal Lap Vinyl Siding

Clapboard or Horizontal lap vinyl siding Usually runs horizontally across the house. It is sometimes referred to as Traditional lap siding since it has been in existence for a very long time.

This siding style can be applied in a variety of techniques such as Beaded, Log, Flat and Dutch. These techniques are available in diverse textures and dimensions which often resemble natural wood.

Dutch Lap Vinyl Siding

This extremely popular siding technique is known to resemble hand-carved wood siding in appearance. This is because of its horizontal rows which normally overlap each other.

Each row is made up of a concave-faced vinyl plank with a bottom notch. This bottom notch usually creates an overlapping effect by shadowing the row beneath it.

Beaded Vinyl Siding

Beaded vinyl siding is known to offer a very attractive shadow line. This is because of the rounded notch that is usually found at the bottom edge of each vinyl plank.

This creates a clean and traditional look that is quite suitable for highly valued classical homes. Modern homes can also get a clean finish from the beautiful accents provided by beaded vinyl planks.

Log Vinyl Siding

Log vinyl siding is a great way to achieve the homely appearance of wooden log siding without having to incur the hefty installation and maintenance costs that accompany it. This is because it offers a variety of wood grain looks that neither splinter nor easily fade.

Flat Lap Vinyl Siding

Flat lap vinyl siding usually offers overlapping, broad, wedge-shaped vinyl planks of about 6 inches wide each. These planks are normally wider at the bottom than the top hence the reason why they are normally installed starting from the bottom part of the wall.

They are known to create an extremely efficient water-shedding system. This is because they normally overlap in a manner such that the thicker bottom edge of each plank covers the thinner top part of the plank below it.

Such a structure sheds water efficiently and protects the inner parts of the wall from harmful exposure. It also creates shadow lines that are more stable than those of traditional horizontal lap siding.

Vertical Vinyl Siding

Otherwise known as either Barn or Board and Batten Vinyl Siding, Vertical Vinyl Siding is known to have extremely wide planks of about 12 inches. These planks usually run vertically around the house in an up and down fashion.

They are normally linked together by smaller planks called battens which also seal any cracks between two vinyl planks. This preserves both the boards and the inner parts of the walls from being damaged by adverse weather conditions thus making vertical vinyl siding rather popular.

Shingles and Shakes Vinyl Siding

Vinyl Shingles and Shakes Siding is a great alternative when looking to achieve a warm, rustic Cedar charm without incurring the expensive cost of actual Cedar installation and maintenance.

It can be applied in various techniques including Cedar Shake, Shingles, and Scallop imitations.

Cedar Shake and Shingle Imitation

Vinyl Cedar shakes and shingles offer a wide variety of colors that will leave your siding looking beautiful and rustic without the extravagant installation and maintenance costs of actual Cedar shakes and shingles.

They also do not fade as fast into a grey hue as Red Cedar shakes. This makes them quite durable.

Scallop/Half-round Imitation

Otherwise known as fish scale, Vinyl Scallops are half-rounded shingles that are mostly used in gables to create an attractive and scenic look by enhancing different aspects of your home.

Engineered Wood Vs Vinyl Siding Installation

Engineered Wood Vs Vinyl Siding Installation

Style Flexibility

Both Vinyl and Engineered wood siding offer a wide variety of alternatives as far as suiting your siding to your preference is concerned.

This is because they are usually available in diverse colors, textures, and design options that resemble more expensive siding alternatives such as Cedar and Fiber Cement. Vinyl is however considered to offer more room for creativity than Engineered wood.

Physical Stability

Engineered wood is certainly more impact-resistant than vinyl. This is because vinyl is known to break, crack or warp when exposed to direct impact from either a physical object or cold weather conditions.

The resin and pressure used to manufacture engineered wood make it rather strong. This is because they bind together diverse wood fibers to come up with a stronger siding alternative than vinyl.

Thermal Resistance

Vinyl is known to melt quite easily when exposed to direct heat from activities such as grilling. This is unlike engineered wood which often resists both radiant and thermal heat for a much longer time.

Moisture Resistance

Moisture has been arguably the biggest problem that has faced engineered wood since its advent. Even though recent studies have shown it to be quite moisture-resistant, it is still not trusted in this regard since it has not been in the market for a long time.

Vinyl on the other hand has proven to be extremely moisture-resistant. Although it is not impermeable to water and moisture, it usually sheds them quickly. This prevents them from getting below the siding and into the interior parts of the wall where they could cause damage.

DIY Friendly

Vinyl is arguably the most DIY-friendly siding material available. This is because its installation materials such as fascia, starter strips, channels, and outer corners easily join together during installation.

On the other hand, engineered wood often requires accurate measurements and cuts to be done on it during installation. In most cases, this can only be done effectively and efficiently by engaging professional siding experts to complete the job. is a great tool that quickly matches you with the best siding specialists in your locality. You can get three estimates from local siding professionals in a matter of two minutes. Kindly follow the steps below to enjoy this great service:

  1. Scroll to the top of the page and enter your zip code
  2. Answer questions about your siding job
  3. Your siding details are forwarded to three local experts who will send you a price estimate for your job with some friendly advice.


Engineered wood is one of the more environmentally friendly siding options. This is because it optimally combines different kinds of wood thereby preventing the excessive clearing of trees that negatively affects the environment.

Vinyl is also quite eco-friendly even though it does not rank as high as engineered wood in this regard. Its eco-friendliness is largely based on the fact that it utilizes lesser energy and releases fewer toxins during manufacturing than most siding alternatives. It is also about 99% recyclable.

Engineered Wood Vs Vinyl Siding Maintenance

Both engineered wood and vinyl are considered to be low-maintenance siding options. Engineered wood only requires some light cleaning which involves dirt removal and rinsing. This should be done at least once a year using a power washer.

Vinyl siding can also be rinsed quite simply using a garden hose. A soft scrub using either a cloth or a bristle brush is however usually recommended for optimum results. For textured vinyl siding, a soft bristle brush is the best option since it can clean the hidden parts of the grooves.

When cleaning vinyl, it is advisable to start from the bottom up with a cleaning solution. Rinsing should then be done from the top down in a thorough way to ensure that no residue remains on the siding. This should be done at least once every two years.

Power washers are usually not recommended for vinyl since they can cause it to crack if applied under excessively high pressure. They can also cause water to reach underneath the siding thereby damaging the interior parts of the wall.


Engineered wood siding is better than vinyl when it comes to insulation value, thermal resistance, environmental friendliness, and offering a natural appearance.

However, Vinyl is known to be cheaper to purchase and easier to install than engineered wood. It is also more DIY-friendly and versatile than engineered wood.

You may have to repaint your engineered wood siding if it has stayed for around 15 years without being repainted.

S hooks made from stainless steel are regarded to be the best type of hooks for vinyl siding. This is because they neither damage nor rust your siding. They can also be easily moved and removed from your siding.

Yes, you can. Vinyl can be installed over old engineered wood siding as long as all necessary precautions have been taken.

Such precautions include ensuring the wood is in good condition, ensuring there is a flat surface to install the vinyl on, ensuring there is a moisture barrier underneath the vinyl, and adjusting all window and door frames.

Can You Side Vinyl over Engineered Wood Siding

Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.