Siding a home can vary in cost greatly depending on the type of siding you choose. Redwood or Cedar siding is going to cost a lot more than fiber cement for example.

Vinyl siding is one of the cheapest siding materials available. Vinyl siding is available in many varieties, and it’s the best siding option for homeowners working with a tight budget. It is fast and inexpensive to install, which makes it a perfect do-it-yourself project.

The best-selling siding is available in an almost endless range of different textures and accents. And no matter the nature of your project, you can be sure of getting the precise siding for your needs. There is definitely no shortage of budget siding options.

What's the cheapest way to side a house

When selecting siding for your house, the cost per square foot is a big factor. Certain house siding options insulate better and others are prone to rust and in the case of wood, rot, and decay. Below is a list of sidings from cheapest to most expensive per square foot.

MaterialQuantityLowHigh
VinylSq. ft.$1.44$2.93
AluminumSq. ft.$2.00$5.00
Fiber CementSq. ft.$5.00$13.50
Hardie BoardSq. ft.$2.50$5.00
Hardiplank LapSq. ft.$1.80$6.00
Hardiepanel VerticalSq. ft.$3.95$5.40
James Hardie SidingSq. ft.$9.00$11.00
List of siding from cheapest to most expensive

VINYL SIDING

Cost for installing vinyl siding for a 1500 square foot home

Siding cost range: $4,500 – $18,000

Per square foot: $3.50 – $7.50

Vinyl siding was introduced into the siding market in the 1950s, and it was considered an inferior quality house siding material due to its flimsy look and low insulating capability. However, vinyl siding is regarded as the most popular and widely optioned sidings on the market due to its wide range of colors and styles and more importantly the cheap price per square foot. It is incredibly cheap to produce and is available in different sizes, colors, and textures, making vinyl siding a prevalent choice among homeowners looking for super affordable and durable siding material.

Pros

  1. Vinyl is the cheapest siding material per square foot, and it is quick and cheap to install, making vinyl siding installation a great do-it-yourself project.
  2. Vinyl siding requires little or no maintenance. Repairing damaged vinyl siding is easy.
  3. Vinyl siding is highly durable. The material is a single piece of plastic, and it won’t bend or break.
  4. Vinyl siding is available in different sizes, colors, and textures. It has a wide range of aesthetic options, including like real wood siding grain look and stone imitations. An expensive insulated version is also available.

Cons

Cost for metal/ aluminum siding for a 1500 square ft home

Siding cost range: $10,000 – $19,000

Per square foot: $5.70 – $9.50

Aluminum siding offers a relatively cheap siding option that’s suited for most modern home styles, and it’s making a gradual comeback after falling out of favor with homeowners.

The aluminum siding used to be a great favorite of builders and homeowners, but manufacturers flooded the market with low-quality aluminum siding, which turned buyers off.

Modern aluminum siding has a better finish and improved quality than the inferior and crappy versions of previous decades. Current aluminum siding panels now feature realistic texturing and modified joints, which is making them a popular option among homeowners once again.

VINYL house siding

ALUMINUM SIDING

Cost for metal/ aluminum siding for a 1500 square foot home

Price range: $10,000 – $19,000
Per square foot: $5.70 – $9.50

Aluminum siding offers a relatively cheap siding option that’s suited for most modern home styles, and it’s making a gradual comeback after falling out of favor with homeowners. The aluminum siding used to be a great favorite of builders and homeowners, but manufacturers flooded the market with low-quality aluminum siding, which turned buyers off. Modern aluminum siding has a better finish and improved quality than the inferior and crappy versions of previous decades. Current aluminum siding panels now feature realistic texturing and modified joints, which is making them a popular option among homeowners once again.

Pros

  1. Aluminum siding is well suited to the moist and salty atmosphere of coastal climates. It is water-resistant, doesn’t absorb moisture, crack, or swell.
  2. Aluminum siding is both pest-resistant and fire-resistant. It is highly durable, and it doesn’t rot or decay.
  3. Aluminum siding is eco-friendly because it is 100% recyclable.
  4. Fire-resistant.

Cons

  1. Although aluminum siding is durable, it is prone to dents, which can be challenging to repair.
  2. Aluminum siding requires special tools to install. Hiring a skilled professional with specific knowledge of installing aluminum siding is recommended.
  3. Prices associated with repainting can be high which you will need to do every 10 years.
  4. Dents easily.
ALUMINUM big grey house

FIBER CEMENT SIDING

Cost for installing fiber cement siding for a 1500 square ft home.

Siding cost range: $6,000 – $19,000

Per square foot: $5.70 – $13

Fiber cement siding is one of the best siding material options available. It offers a combination of durability and style at a slightly higher cost than low-cost siding alternatives. Manufacturers can produce versions of cement board siding which accurately mimic the look and texture of more expensive sidings.

Pros

  1. The biggest pro is it’s highly durable and water-resistant, fiber cement is also pest resistant and does not rot or decay like other types of siding materials.
  2. Some manufacturers produce wood-like fiber cement siding, which is cheaper than timber siding and requires less maintenance. Another pro is it can also withstand extreme temperatures like scorching sunlight and sub-zero temperatures without curling, cracking, or bending.
  3. Due to its reputation as a high-quality siding, fiber cement siding adds to a house’s real estate value by a considerable margin.
  4. Labor cost is minimal as it’s easy to install and each sheet covers quite a few square feet.

Cons

  1. A major con is it’s expensive to purchase and install per square foot.
  2. Fiber cement is heavy per square foot as compared to other types of sidings, and its weight is also responsible for its high installation costs.
  3. Another con is you are not done once installed, fiber cement siding needs repainting often which means it’s costly to maintain.
  4. Fiber cement can be problematic to install. It requires a highly experienced professional, and we don’t recommend it for D.I.Y enthusiasts.
FIBER CEMENT model of roof

ENGINEERED WOOD SIDING

Cost for installing engineered wood siding for a 1500 square ft. home

Siding cost range: $5,300 – $16,000

Per square foot: $4 – $10

Professionals regard wood siding (also known as composite wood) as the perfect siding material substitute. It is an excellent choice for homeowners who want the look and feel of real wood without the high maintenance costs and other peculiar issues connected to timber siding. The cost will vary depending on which brand you go for as there is a myriad of engineered siding options available.

Below are some pros and cons of engineered wood for a siding material choice.

Pros

  1. Is available in a wide range of color versions, designs, and texture finishes.
  2. The price to install for a 1,500 square feet house is high compared to vinyl, but much cheaper than real wood siding, but with a comparable look.
  3. Has fireproof properties, and it is also water and pest resistant such as LP Smartside, which makes it impervious to termite attacks on your house.
  4. Is exceptionally durable and has a long lifespan.
  5. Is partly made from recycled wood siding materials. It is an eco-friendly siding for environmentally conscious homeowners.
  6. Looks like real wood and is low maintenance in comparison to your house.
  7. Can be installed over existing siding with also saves on costs.

Cons

  1. Engineered wood is at the higher end of the cost spectrum to purchase and install, and it shouldn’t be recommended for homeowners who desire a low-budget per square foot siding.
  2. Engineered wood absorbs air moisture, and it is not recommended for use in coastal climates because it is susceptible to mold and moisture damage.
  3. Dubious claims of exceptional product quality from shady manufacturers could result in quality control issues. To avoid problems with the quality of your siding, you should buy from a reputable brand.
  4. Some versions of engineered wood or hardiplank can be expensive such as LP Smartside a James Hardie product.
  5. The cost of labor on installation can be a little bit more as compared to other siding materials like metal, brick, stucco.
  6. Some of the cheaper ones just look like plywood which means you will need to paint it if you want a nice clean look.
ENGINEERED WOOD wood house in the forest

NATURAL WOOD SIDING

Cost for installing wood siding for a 1500 square ft. home.

Wood siding cost range: $7,300 – $23,000

Per square foot: $3 – $10

Wood siding is a popular choice among people who want to give their home exterior a classic elegance yet retaining a timeless modern feel. Although a very old siding style it has not lost its appeal and is available in various colors, finishes, like Cedar, pine, and redwood.

Pros

  1. Produced in different textures and finishes to match any home design theme.
  2. Is cheap and easy to install. Wood can easily be cut and trimmed, making perfect do-it-yourself installation projects.
  3. Is made from naturally occurring materials. It is biodegradable and considered one of a few environmentally friendly types of siding.
  4. Gives your home an aesthetically pleasing solid traditional wood cabin look, highly popular with home buyers.
  5. Board and batten siding is a classic look that adds value to a home. When coupled with cedarwood, the prices of homes naturally increase.
  6. Does not trap heat like steel or brick siding so it is very efficient.

Cons

  1. One of the cons is it’s not cheap. Prices per square foot vary depending on the type of wood used.
  2. Requires continuous treatment to maintain a glossy and attractive finish throughout its lifespan.
  3. Wooden siding is susceptible to water and moisture penetration resulting in rot.
  4. Poorly maintained wooden siding is highly prone to termite infestation.
  5. Another one of wood sidings cons is it is not fire-resistant. If a fire starts, there is plenty of fuel to keep it going.
  6. One of the biggest cons is wood materials have a high maintenance cost when installed on the exterior of a home.
NATURAL WOOD SIDING

STUCCO SIDING

Cost for installing a stucco siding for a 1500 square ft. home.

Stucco siding cost range: $4,500 – $9,000

Cost per square feet: $3 – $10

Stucco siding is known for its unique origins in traditional Mediterranean architecture. Stucco is normally made from sand, cement, epoxy, water, and lime. While it can look a lot like brick homes that have been covered in cement, it’s far cheaper than a brick to install, but can be a little more expensive to maintain. It’s an attractive choice for those desiring fairly low maintenance and contemporary look at a handsome price. This type of siding is ideal for your home exterior with low labor costs and is a house siding that can be put over old siding without the need to remove it. This saves on labor costs.

Pros

  1. Is highly durable, and it requires minimal maintenance.
  2. Has its own foundation color tone, which saturates the entire siding irrespective of the texture or finish. As such, this siding doesn’t need repainting.
  3. Is pest and fire-resistant.
  4. Is an energy-efficient siding and possesses excellent insulation qualities.
  5. Stucco is very energy efficient and beats other materials like steel, metal, and vinyl hands down.

Cons

  1. Installing it is a highly specialized process, and few professionals have the expertise to perform the job correctly. This makes installing more expensive and time-consuming than other siding types.
  2. This siding tends to absorb water moisture excessively, and it is not recommended for coastal climates and locations with humid or damp weather conditions.
  3. It is brittle and tends to crack with the slightest structural shift. Therefore, it is not recommended for earthquake-prone areas, poorly built, and unstable houses.
  4. It’s made from highly porous materials, and it quickly absorbs any stain color. Ink, dye, paint, and even food stains can become a permanent feature.
  5. Installation is difficult compared to other exterior siding materials.
STUCCO house

STONE VENEER

Cost of installing stone veneer for a 1500 square feet home.

Stone siding cost range: $4,000 – $22,000

Cost per square feet: $6 – $9

Being a low-cost alternative to real stone or brick doesn’t mean stone veneer siding looks cheap. It actually does look like the real thing. It can be installed over old siding like metal, brick or wood, and doesn’t need a fresh coat of paint every other year to keep it looking fresh. Stone veneer can be produced in limestone, river rock, and granite varieties and installed in a relatively cheap way compared to some other sidings such as stucco.

Pro

  1. Stone veneer comes with the fireproof and insect-resistant attributes of these siding types.
  2. The Stone veneer is lighter than the natural stone sidings, but it yet retains aesthetically pleasing qualities.
  3. Although stone veneer is an expensive siding, it has a higher Return on Investment (ROI), which has the desired effect of significantly boosting your home property values.
  4. Minimal costs for maintenance as no painting or sealing needed.

Cons

  1. Although it is highly desirable, the price of stone veneer siding can be out of reach of homeowners looking for a stylish siding option on a limited budget.
  2. Lower quality versions can be very costly and still fail to imitate the look and feel.
  3. Stone veneer is a big project to undertake. Although the material is not too expensive, installation can be.
  4. Not a siding that normally covers the whole home rather is used as a feature at the font of the home.
  5. It’s a large project and the cost of materials is more than some of the other budget alternatives.

Is there a way to get free siding?

For most homeowners, getting free siding does certainly reduce the financial expense of hiring a siding pro. Free siding installs can be overly technical, and the contractor labor costs and associated expenses become burdensome.

Homeowners can get free siding installation through a few unusual but effective methods.

Offering your house as a promotional reference point for siding companies and large wholesalers in exchange for free or discounted siding is a good idea. For example, a company launching a new type or version of exterior siding would be willing to offer large discounts on an exterior siding purchase or cover the installation costs in exchange for having pictures of your home used in promotion materials, ads, and other types of publicity. Large wholesale companies who sell and provide installation services can use your house for project reference purposes during discussions with potential customers.

New companies need customers to give references and share word of mouth to expand their market share. Depending on the size or type of building you’re installing the siding, it’s good to negotiate discounts on purchase or installation in exchange for providing references and free marketing. This works better if you own a large commercial building and you’re buying a large amount of siding. It does not work so well if you are trying to get this from local siding pros trying to earn a living for that family.

Are there other cheap siding alternatives?

There are lots of non-traditional sidings that can be installed that costs far less than purpose-built siding, but in most cases, the maintenance cost of these options make it not worthwhile.

Chipboard

Take for example chipboard. Yes you can use it in place of siding, but one of the cons is, what you save on the price of purchase, you will spend on the cost of maintenance costs and price to repaint every 3 – 5 years.

Recycled steel

This is another one I hear about often. Recycled is an option, but your home will end up looking a little more like a junkyard than a house. The cost per square foot might be cheap enough as compared to a natural wood such as cedar for example, but the labor cost to weld it all together and maintenance cost will go through the roof with time.

Funso Ogunnowo
Author: Funso Ogunnowo - Funso is a freelance writer with over ten years of experience working as an accountant. His love for writing prompted his foray into the world of freelance writing, and he is active on freelance websites like Upwork, where he has completed several writing projects for different clients.