New siding is a great way to jazz up a tired looking exterior. But which one is the best investment?

If you are on a budget, vinyl siding is the cheapest siding option at $1,44 to $2,93 per square foot. The next best option would be Hardiplank or Aluminum siding which costs $2,00 to $6,00 per square foot.

Here are the prices of siding by type from cheapest to most expensive.

MaterialQuantityLowHigh
VinylSq. ft.$1.44$2.93
Hardiplank LapSq. ft.$1.80$6.00
WoodSq. ft.$2.00$5.00
AluminumSq. ft.$2.00$5.00
Hardie BoardSq. ft.$2.50$5.00
Hardiepanel VerticalSq. ft.$3.95$5.40
Fiber CementSq. ft.$5.00$13.50
AluminumSq. ft.$6.00$9.00
James Hardie SidingSq. ft.$9.00$11.00

Although Vinyl is the cheapest material to produce, so it costs less, which one is going to give you the best ROI? If you are looking to sell your home right away, then you might want to look at which color and material type will give you the best curb appeal boost and home evaluation.

Cheapest Type of Siding

Vinyl siding is, by far, the cheapest to install followed closely by metallic siding. Vinyl comes ready to install and does not need to be painted or prepared in any way. In most cases, the different sheets will be cut to size according to the customer’s specifications and ready to be installed out of the box.

Vinyl siding costs around $2 to $3 installed and therefore the cheapest material to side a house with as compared to other siding types. At the same time, vinyl does not require much maintenance once installed as it is ready-made and made to last its warranty period without repainting or repairs. However, vinyl siding falls behind when it comes to durability and will therefore need to be replaced sooner than the other types of siding.

Cheapest Installed Siding master install siding

Cheapest Style of Siding

There are three main styles when it comes to siding for houses, they are:

  • Shiplap siding
  • Shake or Shingle siding
  • Clapboard siding

Shiplap siding is the cheapest style to side a house when using wood because of its simplicity and how the materials are used. The siding material is usually attached as pre-cut and follows a simple horizontal pattern using large and fewer pieces per side.

Shiplap Siding

In shiplap siding, the pre-cut siding materials are attached to the exterior of your house or shed horizontally or vertically therefore not requiring any special cuts or shapes. Shiplap siding is mostly used on sheds and outhouses although it can still be used on main houses and buildings.

Shake or Shingle Siding

Most associated with cedar siding, shake or shingle siding consists of several overlapping pieces of siding applied on the exterior of your house. The pieces or shingles are cut to size and installed piece by piece ensuring that the entire wall is covered and that there are no gaping seams between individual spaces. Shake siding gives your home a unique and stylistic look because of the amount of detail that goes into attaching the individual pieces.

Clapboard Siding

Clapboard siding is one of the oldest styles of applying siding used for centuries to provide insulation using “clapboards” hence the name clapboard siding. Similar to shiplap siding, clapboard siding involves hanging large – usually pre-cut- siding pieces to the exterior of your wall. However, clapboard siding differs from shiplap siding in that the pieces are hanged to overlap each other thus forming a unique bevel shape. Clapboard siding is, therefore, also commonly referred to as bevel siding.

Cost of Siding by Type

Below is a table comparing the different types of siding in terms of costs to help you decide. The prices are simple estimations as captured from different suppliers across North America and elsewhere. Prices might vary slightly depending on your location, choice of supplier, and the time you make your purchase.

Wood Siding

Wood siding has always been the most popular in North America because of its availability and durability. That is until vinyl siding came into the market as a cheaper and perhaps more available alternative. A lot of people still prefer to use wood siding for a number of reasons despite its slightly higher initial and maintenance costs. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using wood siding over other materials:

MaterialQuantityLowHigh
WoodSq. ft.$2.00$5.00
Average 2,500 sq.ft home1,696 sq. ft
Exterior surface aera
$3,392$8,480

Wood Siding is Easy to paint

Wood siding is by far the easiest material to paint even without the use of professional tools or expensive paints. Anyone with the time and some painting tools in their toolshed can repaint their entire house’s exterior in a matter of hours or a day depending on the size of the house.

The paint also sticks well on the wood and dries faster than other materials. For this reason, homeowners whose houses have wood siding can repaint their houses as often as they wish without needing to scrape the previous layers off.

Wood Siding is eco friendly

Being a natural material, wood is considered the most eco-friendly building material as compared to artificial siding such as vinyl. Wood is harvested from trees that can be replaced through replanting therefore considered sustainable. At the same time, any wood siding that is removed after renovations or wasted during construction is reusable.

However, there are counter-arguments to this mainly focusing on the number of trees that are being cut to produce wood for construction projects when there are more modern, cheaper, and more efficient alternatives like vinyl.

Easier to install and repair

Wood is considered easy to install and repair as it can be cut to size with ease, holes can be repaired with simple tools and it requires simple tools to install. Most homeowners would find it easy to repair or install wood siding as a DIY project because of how easy it is to work with. It comes in long rectangular sheets that can be nailed in place in minutes.

Wood siding is a stable material meaning it will not swell, expand or contract and leave large spaces with changing temperatures as compared to metallic siding. This means you don’t have to create provisions for temperature variance while installing the wood siding.

Wood siding requires less maintenance as compared to alternatives. Save for repainting and occasional repairs, good quality wood siding that is protected can stay put for many years until it needs replacement.

Wood Siding however has a few disadvantages that could make homeowners want to consider alternatives such as vinyl. Here are some of them:

Wood Siding Costs more

Despite its availability, wood siding is a more expensive siding material as compared to modern alternatives such as vinyl. As an example, a square foot of wood siding costs between $7 to $10 depending on the type of good as compared to vinyl which costs between $2 to $3 per square foot installed. However, machined wood siding prices have been falling in recent years making it a viable siding material for most developers.

Wood Siding is not considered premium or modern

Younger homebuyers see wood siding as old-school and prefer modern siding materials such as vinyl or stucco. Almost every house from the past in North America used wood siding before new materials such as vinyl came to market. For this reason, most young and modern homebuyers would prefer these newer materials as they give a house a modern look.

Wood siding house

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding has become the most popular type of siding in recent years mainly because of its affordability and versatility. Vinyl siding can be made to look and feel like any other material and can be painted and installed on any house. It is the cheapest type of siding with prices ranging between $2 to $3 per square foot using current market rates. Chances are that over half of modern residential houses you see in North America have vinyl siding.

MaterialQuantityLowHigh
VinylSq. ft.$1.44$2.93
Average 2,500 sq.ft home1,696 sq. ft
Exterior surface aera
$2,442$4,969

Vinyl siding has the following advantages:

Most Affordable

Vinyl siding beats all the other materials when it comes to pricing and installation costs. Vinyl is cheap to produce as it is made using oil and other abundantly available raw materials like salt and chlorine. Vinyl has become so popular in recent years that it is used to create all manner of affordable products such as flowing, counter-tops, wallpaper, etc. For this reason alone, viny is the most popular siding material in North America.

Vinyl Siding is Versatile

Being a man-made siding material, vinyl can be made to fit any style and can even imitate other siding materials such as wood or stucco. Homeowners have a wide variety of styles, colors, and qualities to choose from as compared to other siding materials.

However, vinyl has some disadvantages key among them being its durability. Over time, vinyl siding may crack and lose its color and will need more frequent maintenance as compared to other materials.

Being a petrochemical product, viny is also more flammable and less eco-friendly than other materials. That said, most homeowners would prefer vinyl over other materials as the short-term benefits are more appealing than its long-term shortcomings.

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber Cement also commonly known by a popular brand James Hardie siding- is a relatively rare type of siding material that is made using a mixture of cement, sand, clay, wood pulp, and other materials. The resulting compound is tough but also versatile as it can be molded in a variety of ways to suit every style.

Fiber Cement is not very common in most residential projects in North America although it’s growing in popularity for high-end property exterior finishes in some locations. As compared to other siding types, Fiber Cement siding is relatively expensive at an estimated $4 to $6 per square meter installed.

Some of the advantages of cement-fiber siding include its weather resistance, durability, and versatility. Cement siding can be made to look like wood siding but is not flammable or as weak as wood due to its composition.

The biggest shortcoming when it comes to cement siding is its high cost as compared to alternatives. Cement siding is also relatively harder to install and repair thus requiring a professional. It is also harder to remove when it’s time to renovate.

MaterialQuantityLowHigh
Fiber CementSq. ft.$5.00$13.50
Average 2,500 sq.ft home1,696 sq. ft
Exterior surface aera
$8,480$22,896

Aluminum Siding

Aluminum siding has been used for many decades and offers the best insulation and durability as compared to the other types of siding. It’s also used quite extensively in coastal homes where there is a lot of humidity and salt as it does not absorb any moisture. Aluminum costs range between $2.00 to $5 per square foot installed depending on the quality and brand.

MaterialQuantityLowHigh
Fiber CementSq. ft.$6.00$9.00
Average 2,500 sq.ft home1,696 sq. ft
Exterior surface aera
$10,176$15,264

Some of the advantages of using aluminum siding for your projects include its durability, weather resistance, insulation capabilities, insect-proof, fire resistance, and recyclability. However, aluminum siding can be noisy and tends to lose its color over time. Aluminum also tends to damage much easily as compared to the other types of siding.

Aluminum siding house

Stucco Siding

Stucco gives your house that distinctive Mediterranean or Spanish look and is also as durable as stone finishing. Stucco is mainly used on mid to high-end projects and costs between $7 to $10 per square foot installed. Stucco has many advantages key among them being its visual appeal and durability. It’s also maintenance-free once installed and provides good insulation.

Stucco is relatively expensive to install and requires a skilled professional to handle and properly install. Stucco is also not the best when it comes to moisture or rainy climates as it may appear washed out after a few years.

FAQ's

The cheapest siding per square foot is vinyl siding. Expect to pay between $2 to $3 per square foot to install vinyl siding of any color, type, or quality using current rates.

Vinyl siding is lightweight and durable and is usually preferred for most garages. You can even get it for cheaper rates if your garage is hidden from view by going for a less vibrant design and installing it yourself. Vinyl siding is therefore the cheapest siding for a garage.

Machined wood siding made from pine or spruce is the cheapest. You can pay as little as $2.5 per square foot for machined wood siding from these highly available types of woods in North America.

Vinyl and metallic siding are the easiest to install because they come pre-cut and ready to be installed. You don’t need to paint or cut them to size or use special tools to install them.

Plywood is by far the cheapest indoor siding material as it is widely available and easy to install. However, interior siding requires a bit more in terms of styling, and going for the cheapest is usually not the best idea unless you are working on a shed or garage.

Timothy Munene
Author: Timothy Munene - Timothy is a freelance writer and an online entrepreneur.