The primary purpose of any siding material is to add a layer of protection and insulation to your home’s building envelope to shield it from the whether elements.
With the above in mind, other important decisions that go into determining the best approach to a house siding project must be put into proper perspective with respect to the following important factors:
- Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional
- Total upfront cost of the siding job
- Unique house styles and the importance of curb appeal
Let’s get started with the general breakdown of costs you can expect for the somewhat less well-known siding materials we cover in detail below:
|Siding Type:||Mat:||Labor:||Total Cost per sq.ft.|
|Stucco||$5.00 – $6.50||$3.50 – $8.50||$8.50 – $14.50|
|Brick & Brick Veneer||$6.00 – $15.00||$6.50 – $10.00||$12.50 – $25.00|
|Natural Stone||$17.50 – $33.00||$7.50 – $12.00||$25.00 – $45.00|
|Alum, Zinc, Steel, Copper||$4.50 – $16.50||$5.50 – $8.50||$10.00 – $25.00|
House Siding Materials You Probably Never Heard of!
Some think of stucco as popular in certain regions like Southern California, without realizing there are likely stucco homes in their own neighborhood.
Image source: View-Master Home Inspections
Our view is that stucco is a viable, long-lasting and architecturally-attractive material that complements other house siding options.
Made from sand, cement, lime and water, the material is usually applied to a galvanized steel screen, along with a waterproof underlayment glued to a wood frame.
The stucco material itself isn’t all that versatile and instead is rather quite rigid, requiring special care during the installation to avoid cracks. But given that it is a hard material, it will last for the lifetime of a home, or at least 50+ years.
Costs: for stucco siding can range from $8.50 to $14.50 per sq. ft. installed, depending on the quality of materials, who’s doing the work and location of the property.
An average-sized home with 2,000 sq.ft. of siding will cost between $17,000 and $28,000 for the installation of new traditional stucco siding, including the cost of materials, professional installation, and warranty.
Pros: Very durable, low maintenance, great insulator, colors go through mix so repainting not necessary, resistant to fire and insects
Cons: Fairly expensive, takes skill to install, brittle material prone to cracking especially due to settling of a house, a sinking foundation, or even a mild earthquake. Not a good option for wet climates, tends to last less time in climates with lots of rain.
If the stucco material becomes saturated with water due to constant dampness or gutter leaks, then its insulation properties will be compromised and structural damage to the house may ensue.
Brick as a siding material has been used for hundreds of years. It has a masonry appearance with architectural uniformity. Made from fired clay, brick comes in different sizes and textures.
Image source: Pinehall Brick
Because a whole brick isn’t technically needed for siding, the front face or say 1/3rd of a brick is all that is probably needed for good aesthetics, and so the brick veneer becomes an option.
Yet, with this option comes more of a chance for the wind driven rainwater to penetrate the material and the membrane, hence a waterproof material is necessary below the veneer, so the rainwater doesn’t leak beyond the veneer and into the frame of the house structure.
Brick is among the most durable materials and routinely lasts the lifetime of a home, or at least 50+ years.
Cost: Brick itself is an expensive material, costing around $6.00 to $15.00 per sq. ft. for materials alone.
On average, you can expect to pay between $12.50 – $25.00 per sq. ft. of brick siding installed.
If you like the look of brick but wish to lower the cost of your home exterior remodeling project, then brick veneer option can help — reducing the cost down to between $12.50 and $17.50 per sq. ft. installed.
While we are really including 2 products in this one entry, the ranking is based on the actual brick.
The veneer option for brick would have it rank higher on the list, but not be fair to other items on the list.
An average-sized home with 2,000 sq.ft. of siding will cost between $25,000 and $50,000 for the standard brick siding fully installed.
Note: The cost for brick siding can vary quite a bit, depending on the type of project, material choice, and your home’s location.
Pros: stands up very well to the weather elements, fire and insects, lasts a long time
Cons: very expensive, more challenging to install (not a great DIY project unless experienced)
Image source: Stoneyard
All types of stone material can be used in siding a home, but granite and limestone are the most popular. It holds high appeal because of its known durability and visual appearance of a texture unmatched by other materials.
While it is the most expensive material, a stone veneer option allows for costs to be reduced by going with stone veneer.
Stone veneer is lighter in weight due to it being made of composite materials. Plus, stone is rarely covering the entire facade of a house. Instead, it is normally used as a way to accent the features of the house to improve its overall curb appeal.
Natural Stone brings durability that works on several levels. Almost all other materials on the list will fade over time, but stone will not. It’ll easily last for the lifetime of a home and is in the 50+ years category for lifespan.
If our list were based on the best investment over longer time-frame, then stone would be hard not to put at the top of the list.
Cost: When we say expensive, we mean very expensive. Natural Stone Siding will cost between $25.00 and $45.00 per sq.ft. installed, which is a good 3 to 5 times more expensive than stucco, the item at the top of this list.
The price range for the total cost to side a home (provided below) needs to be stipulated and reconciled with the idea that a Stone Veneer vs. 100% Natural Stone option would significantly lower the overall cost installed. it’s unlikely that someone would use all stone as their only siding material.
Most homes that have natural stone siding will have it on a part of the house, usually in the front. It’s rare that home will 100% natural stone siding all around its exterior. That said, if we were to base the total cost of a a natural stone project on arguable very generous amount of 1,000 sq.ft. of stone siding, then the total cost of the project would range from $25,000 to $45,000 for the installation of natural stone siding, including the cost of materials, professional installation, and workmanship warranty.
Pros: Most durable, least flammable, least likely to be infested by insects or animals, low maintenance, being natural makes it inherently Eco-friendly
Cons: Expensive, very heavy, takes expertise to install
At first glance, metal as a siding material conjures up images of modern homes. However, the more traditional aluminum siding can also come in a horizontal lap siding variation that mimics the traditional home siding such as wood clapboard.
Metal is truly one of the most versatile materials on the list, as it can be factory shaped and colored in a great variety of ways. The material is certainly durable, and will last 40+ years.
Cost: will depend on the type of metal siding and how it is being applied. On average, you can expect to pay between $10.00 and $25.00 per sq.ft. for a professional of a metal wall cladding system including the cost of materials, skilled professional labor, and a proper workmanship warranty.
Note that a more typical average cost range for metal siding would normally be between $10.00 and $17.00 per sq.ft. installed. However, if you throw in more expensive metal siding options, such as high-end zinc or copper panels, then the final cost per sq.ft. will increase accordingly and in some cases will exceed the $25.00 per sq.ft.
What a typical project might cost: An average-sized home with 2,000 sq.ft. of siding will cost between $20,000 and $50,000 for metal siding fully installed. The upper end of the price range, reflects a high-end metal such as copper.
Pros: Metal siding offers good value because metal is very durable and long-lasting, Eco-friendly (metal is fully-recyclable) and energy efficient material. Metal siding and wall cladding are also fire-retardant, which can be an important point of consideration for fire-prone areas including California, Oregon, Washington, especially for homes located in the densely wooded areas.
There are many great options to explore when it comes to metal siding and metal wall cladding systems, which makes metal a compelling choice for architects and design-conscious homeowners looking to highlight the uniqueness of their homes.
Metal brings a lot of compelling options for homeowners to choose from including materials, styles, and a wide variety of colors and paint finishes. Top options include painted steel and aluminum wall panels, zinc standing seam and shingles, and rustic-looking steel. Styles include metal shingles, standing seam, metal wall panels and cladding.
Cons: Metal siding often requires specialized skills to install. The look and feel of metal is not for everyone, which for this material is more true than it is for any other siding option. Architectural metal siding is more costly compared to the mainstream siding choices like vinyl.
Conclusion and Other Important Factors for Homeowners to Explore Further:
- Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional – some siding jobs such as vinyl can be done as a DIY project and we know of many homeowners who have successful installed vinyl on their homes. The same would probably not be possible for siding systems such as fiber cement, stucco, or metal wall cladding.
- Total upfront cost of the siding job and whether the upfront cost of the investment is justified based on the total life-cycle cost of the siding option vs. the comparable alternatives.
- Unique house styles and the importance of curb appeal and other important benefits that both, architects and homeowners seek from the high-end or more custom-tailored (less-conventional) home exterior remodeling projects.
There are many important inferences to be drawn from such a list as we presented in this guide above. For example, Vinyl is a durable material that last longer and is easier to maintain than say wood. Metal can last nearly as long as stone, but costs far less.
If we had gone with what is best investment option is, our list of the less-common siding options above would be presented in the almost reverse order, although wood, in some ways is likely the least practical investment, and yet, it is the type of material that most others are trying to appear like.
Other Viable Alternatives: Fiber Cement is a favorite among many with high satisfaction among its owners, but isn’t quite as durable as vinyl and costs more. Cement is a traditional material and well known, yet has about the same impact in terms of costs and protection as stucco.
If live in a climate that does not receive a lot of rain, then LP SmartSide engineered wood siding is another smart option to consider. It’s durable and long lasting, but we wouldn’t recommend installing it in the Pacific Northwest due to the excessive moisture concerns associated with the Cascadia region.
Pricing Research Disclosures: In our research, the costing and pricing information wasn’t necessarily always clear cut nor was it the same according to all sources.
In this guide, we covered the current average costs per square foot installed for the segment of siding materials that are less ubiquitous than vinyl and fiber-cement. We also provided the price range that is fairly broad to account for various material quality variations and regional differences (coastal metros vs. rural areas) that can greatly impact the overall installation costs.
Note: Professional installation costs can very a lot from one company to another. Expect to pay more on per square foot basis for any siding option installed in or near a large coastal city vs. a less-costly region or area like Midwest.
The design and styles of siding is a topic that could use further exploration. In this guide, we chose to focus on the material properties or function and how that impacts costs.