House Siding: An Important Choice to Make

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First impressions are important. That goes for houses as well as people. In addition to the first thing people notice, exterior siding is your home’s first line of defense. If your siding is aging and not protecting your home well it may be time to upgrade. There are a few options to choose from when replacing your house siding.


Vinyl is a popular choice because it is one of the least expensive options of house siding. At around $4-$7 per square foot for vinyl, it is tough yet lightweight which makes it easy to handle and install. Vinyl could save you money on labor costs if you have it professionally installed. In many cases, vinyl siding can be installed directly over the old materials.

In addition to the variety of colors and textures available, vinyl siding does a great job of mimicking real wood grain clapboard, wood shingles, and even stone.  Because the color is throughout the siding, there is no need to repaint and nicks or scratches are practically unnoticeable. There is little to no maintenance required and dirt easily washes off.

The downside to vinyl is the noticeable seams. The panels normally come in about 12 feet lengths and the panels must be overlapped. You can order extra long panels to try to avoid this but that just increases your overall cost.

Insulation behind siding can help increase the R-value of your exterior and there are some versions of vinyl that come with a layer of polystyrene foam attached to the back of the siding. However, these versions are a bit more expensive than non-insulated vinyl siding.


Not much of anything can compare to the natural beauty and charm of real wood. Most people praise it for its warmth and workability.

The higher grades of wood and some species are more expensive than others. Depending on what type of finish you go with will determine which wood you choose. Clear sealer or semi-transparent stain will highlight the grain. Therefore, you might want to choose a better quality wood, free of knots and blemishes. If you are just planning on painting over the wood or using an opaque stain, you can get away with less expensive wood that tends to have more blemishes.

Unfortunately, there is a bit more maintenance involved with wood siding. It will have to be stained every 2-3 years or painted about every 5 years, which will add to your cost. You can expect to pay approximately $6-$8 per square foot for wood clapboard.

Wood is easy to install and shape without special tools. Wood siding can be a good DIY project for someone with a reasonable amount of DIY skills. For retrofit projects, the old siding will need to be removed before installing the new house siding.

Fiber Cement

Fiber cement siding, a mixture of wood pulp, cement, clay, and sand, is known for its stability and low maintenance. It can be molded to resemble wood clapboard, shingles, stucco, and masonry. It resists expanding and contracting, is fire-resistant and termite proof. If you apply caulk and paint properly, it will hold up well over time.

Because it is made up partially of cement, this siding is a bit heavier than other house siding types which makes installation a little tricky. Unfortunately, it does not make a good DIY project. Fiber cement siding breaks and cracks easily if it is not handled properly and special techniques and tools are needed. It’s best to contact an experienced professional installer.

In the middle range, as far as price goes, fiber cement will cost you around $6-$12 per square foot.


Stucco siding does considerably well in warmer climates because of its durability and resistance to fire and insects. It pairs well with other types of siding if different accent designs are desired.

There are stucco mixtures that include epoxy which prevents chipping and cracking and you won’t need to repaint. Stucco is applied in layers and the final pigment coat is a part of the final layer of stucco siding, not just on top of the siding. The toners that are added create a variety of beautiful colors. Well maintained stucco will last for many years.

There are a few drawbacks with stucco house siding. A lot of prep work goes into the installation process so it’s best left to the professionals or a very skilled DIYer.  Stucco siding could run about $6-$9 per square foot.


Well insulated siding will act as a vapor, dirt and insect barrier. It’s important to choose the right insulation as well because there are some types of insulation that trap moisture inside the wall. This can lead to mildew, mold, rot, and in some cases even structural damage. A good insulation material will allow the wall to “breathe”, without losing its insulating qualities.

Both siding and insulation can increase your home’s R-value, but without good insulation, the siding will not have a very big impact on your home’s thermal resistance. If your home has old siding and insulation, this might be the perfect time to reinvest in your home. The siding and insulation materials of today can deliver on all fronts: from thermal insulation to moisture protection and aesthetic appeal. But before you purchase your siding and insulation, check out the recommended R-value for your area.

Is New Siding for Your Home Worth It?

Installing new insulated siding can bring a lot of benefits, especially if your current siding is uninsulated or damaged in any way. With properly insulated siding, your home will have a much more durable and appealing exterior while helping to maintain a comfortable interior. With a variety of options, you’re sure to find one that matches your needs. If you suspect that your home might need new siding contact a professional installer to discuss your situation.


Photo by Jessica Furtney on Unsplash

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