Category Archives: Exterior Remodeling Costs

LP SmartSide Siding Cost vs. HardiePlank Fiber Cement Siding in 2020

The top two engineered lap siding brands are the defending champion HardiePlank fiber cement and the up-and-coming contender LP SmartSide engineered wood siding.

LP SmartSide Siding

via Upside to SmartSide

This guide covers both products from all angles that matter to a homeowner – Looks, durability, cost of materials and installation, and pros and cons of each option. Let’s get started!

Cost and Return on Investment

Both LP SmartSide and HardiePlank are comparably priced materials, so unless you’re watching pennies very closely, this probably won’t be the deciding factor.

Return on investment or ROI, refers to the percentage of the total cost recouped at resale. This doesn’t take into account the enjoyment factor or energy savings.

For example, if the expected ROI on siding were 60% for a project that originally cost $10,000, then the installation of new siding would increase the home’s sale price by about $6,000.

  • HardiePlank cost: $2.50 to $4.50 per square foot for siding and all trim accessories
  • HardiePlank installation: $5.50 to $10.50 per square foot
  • HardiePlank total cost installed: $8.00 to $15.00 per square foot
  • HardiePlank / fiber cement siding ROI: 83% to 86%

Cost Comparison:

  • LP SmartSide cost: $2.00 to $4.00 per square foot for siding and all trim accessories
  • LP SmartSide installation: $5.00 to $10.00 per square foot
  • LP SmartSide total cost: $7.00 – 14.00 per square foot
  • LP SmartSide ROI: 82% to 87%

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Tamko vs. Owens Corning Roofing Shingles: Cost, Pros & Cons, ROI

Owens Corning and Tamko are two asphalt shingle manufacturers sharing the adage, “we’re second-best, so we try harder.” CertainTeed is the consensus leader for overall asphalt shingle quality.

GAF is the largest producer of shingles, and its products get high marks. Right behind those giants are Owens Corning, certainly one of the most recognizable names in roofing products, and Tamko (or TAMKO), a brand that has its fans, too.

The Bottom Line from the Beginning

The bottom line, which all the details in this guide lead to, is that the Owens Corning vs. Tamko comparison is about as even as it gets in the roofing products industry.

Owens Corning Roofing Shingles Display

Both get ratings in the “good” to “very good” range from roofing contractors who install them every day and from home inspectors who have seen their share of durable shingles and shingles that have failed before they should.

What it comes down to is the quality of the installation. You’ve got two above-average shingle brands that can deliver superior durability for 20+ years, fail in just a few years or perform somewhere in the middle.

What makes the difference is how well the installers do their job.

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More on the installation below. Along the way we’ll address where each brand has bragging rights. While OC and Tamko are close to equal in total score, each brand has strong and weak points.

OC vs. Tamko: Quality and Reliability

Quality is a product of the materials used and the production process. Here’s an overview of Owens Corning and Tamko shingle construction.

  • Owens Corning: OC makes three tiers of shingles in basic (Oakridge, Supreme), better (Duration, OC’s best-seller) and best (Devonshire, Woodmoor, Woodcrest, Berkshire) categories.
  • Tamko: This brand makes a very similar lineup with basic (Elite Glass-Seal), better (Heritage, Heritage Woodgate) and best (Heritage Premium, Heritage Vintage).

All shingles from Owens Corning and Tamko feature fiberglass mat bases saturated with asphalt and dressed with coated granules to resist the sun’s UV radiation. Each shingle is constructed with fused layers.

When installed, less than half of each shingle is exposed. The result is that 3-tab roofs (OC Supreme and Tamko Elite Glass-Seal 3-tab) have 2-3 layers of coverage at any given point on your roof.

All other shingles from both brands are architectural style shingles with 4-5 layers of coverage. The result are shingles with wind ratings of 60mph for 3-tab products and 110/130mph for all others.

The two brands have the same ratings in most ASTM materials and fire rating tests. Both are on par or superior to most other brands including CertainTeed and GAF.

Bad shingles are often the result of production rather than the materials used. The production processes for these brands are similar. The processes are slightly tweaked, even from run to run (runs of shingle batches).

When errors occur, a bad batch of shingles, such as layers that don’t properly fuse, are produced. What makes a brand worth considering is the consistency of the quality from run to run. Owens Corning and Tamko deliver good consistency.

Advantage—Tie: We’re not afraid to take sides, but there’s no clear winner here. These brands are rated about as equal as you will find in terms of quality and reliability, especially the two most-popular series, the Owens Corning Duration and Tamko Heritage.

Owens Corning vs. Tamko: Cost

Since these brands compete aggressively head to head, their prices are comparable across all products (and are very competitive with GAF, too).

Here is a breakdown of the shingle series and their costs from both brands:

Prices are per square, which is 100 square feet of coverage (and 3 or 4 bundles of shingles, so check product specs for the bundles-per-square).

3-tab shingles:

  • OC Supreme: $70-$85
  • Tamko Elite Glass-Seal: $72-$77

Average architectural/dimensional shingles:

  • OC Duration: $110-$120
  • Tamko Heritage: $84-$100

Best-selling architectural/dimensional shingles:

  • OC Duration Designer, STORM & COOL: $105-$135
  • Tamko Heritage Premium: $90-$105

Premium, architectural/dimensional shingles:

  • OC Devonshire, Woodmoor, Woodcrest, Berkshire: $175-$280
  • Tamko Heritage Woodgate, Heritage Vintage: $180-$205

Advantage – Tamko: As you can see, Tamko offers better value in each tier of products. It always makes sense to get written estimates on the specific roofing materials you’re considering, to get a direct comparison of cost.

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Marvin vs. Milgard Windows Cost 2020: Styles, Pros & Cons

Marvin operates in the premium end of the window market, making each product to order, one at a time, customizing windows to the exact specifications of the customer.

Marvin Casement Windows

Milgard primarily focuses on the mid-range window marketplace with its vinyl windows available in four different series.

Milgard Ultra Series single hung windows with colonial grids

The company has spent much less time competing in the high-end slice of the new construction and window replacement markets. Milgard currently offers two high-end lines, the fiberglass Ultra Series and the wood-clad fiberglass Essence Series.

Milgard Windows Cost

Milgard’s bottom-of-the line Style Line series standard 48-inch x 60-inch double pane, double hung vinyl windows run between $300 and $400, depending on the window-specific options.

Milgard single hung aluminum window will cost between $200 and $250 per unit.

Moving up in class, additional series of Milgard vinyl windows are offered in the $550 to $650 price range.

The Essence Series is Milgard’s entry into the premium window market. It is constructed with Douglas fir, pine or primed pine on the interior and fiberglass, with 15 colors, on the exterior. Quotes typically run between $40 and $50 per square foot, or between $800 and $1000 for the standard double hung window.


Marvin Windows Cost

Marvin’s go-to double hung window is its Ultimate Windows series. Prices range from $350 to $700 per window.

For Marvin’s top-of-the-line Infinity Series classic double hung window in Standard, Cottage or Oriel style, you can expect to pay between $1,200 and $1,500, depending on your location.

Marvin Infinity Ultrex fiberglass windows feature color matched and neutral dark components with bronze and ebony interior finishes. An easy tilt finish makes cleaning a breeze.

Note that window pricing can vary considerably as manufacturers often run discounts and incentives on their lines.

Did you know? Final cost can also vary depending on the design options like premium materials, locks and hardware, opening control devices, and the like.

Installation costs depend on whether replacement windows can be installed directly into the existing frames or whether new carpentry is required.

It is not unusual for a new window with options and installation to add many hundreds of dollars to the unit price.


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