How much does vinyl siding cost and is it worth it?

Jack Wisniewski

By Jack Wisniewski

March 3, 2021

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Vinyl siding costs anywhere from $1 to $12 per sq. ft. installed. For a home with 2,000 square feet of siding, full vinyl material and installation costs will fall somewhere between $2,000 and $24,000.

Vinyl siding cost

To help you hone in on your price, we laid out the key vinyl siding cost factors. We then highlight the pros and cons of vinyl siding to determine whether or not it's worth it for your home.

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Vinyl siding cost factors

Whether it’s vinyl, stucco, engineered wood, you should understand the following cost factors before embarking on a new house siding project:

  • Which product you choose
  • The size of your house
  • The design of your house
  • The time of year
  • Potential repairs
  • DIY or Professional

Find a local reputable contractor.

Product choice

Vinyl siding profile

Alongside keeping costs within your budget, you likely seek a style to match your home's personality. Choosing the perfect type can get exhausting as vinyl comes in more profiles, textures, and colors than any other siding material.

Vinyl siding profiles

Horizontal, clapboard-style panels – the most common profile – likely spring to mind when considering vinyl siding. However, you can also opt for a vertical board-and-batten style, wood-grain textured scalloped shakes, or even vinyl siding options that emulate traditional cedar, stone, or brick.

In terms of costs, the simpler board-style siding will set you back less than those replicating premium materials.

Insulated vs. non-insulated vinyl siding

Insulated vs. non-insulated vinyl siding

Image source: McKinnis

Insulated vinyl siding, which comes with EPS foam insulation bonded to the back, will cost you more upfront.

The higher pricing not only stems from the more robust material but also the more challenging installation process.

For instance, installers can quickly cut regular vinyl siding with a pair of hand snips for custom fits, whereas insulated vinyl demands a saw.

On top of heavy-duty tools, insulated vinyl siding also requires specialized accessories to accommodate its greater thickness.

In return for the higher costs, insulated vinyl siding can foster energy savings and superior durability.

The size of your house

Like any home improvement project, scale plays an essential role in pricing.

Fortunately, you can roughly estimate total costs with a few measurements and math. To start, calculate the square footage of your walls receiving new siding.

How do you find the square footage of your exterior walls?

Graphic illustrating how to find the square footage of your exterior walls

  • Make a diagram of each wall, breaking it down into squares and triangles.
  • Label each shape's width and height in feet.
  • Calculate the area of each individual shape.
    • For rectangles: Area = width x height
    • For triangles: Area = (width x height) ➗ 2
  • Add all of the areas together. The final number is the square footage of your exterior walls.

Now that you know how much siding you need, you can approximate project costs.

Multiply the total square footage you just calculated by the projected unit price of your vinyl siding.

Let's say your home has 2,000 square feet of exterior walls, and your local siding contractor said you could get vinyl siding installed at $5 per square foot.

2000 x 5 = 10,000

Your vinyl siding installation will cost $10,000!

Keep in mind, there are other cost factors to consider beyond square footage. This method merely provides a rough estimate.

Home shape and design

Suburban home with multiple roof peaks

Image source: Allura

The design of your home plays a significant role in the time it takes to install siding.

For example, a basic, box-shaped home with a hip roof will primarily need straight, uniform siding lengths. With few fittings to measure and cut, installers have a straightforward process.

A home with gables, dormers, turrets, and many corners, on the other hand, complicates installation. Additionally, complex shapes lead to more material waste due to the need for customized cuts, which may cost you more.

Wall fixtures such as doors, windows, and vents also add to costs. Before the siding can go up, installers need to apply flashing on each of these units, which means more materials and prolonged installation.

Time of year

Siding installation calls for a stretch of temperate weather, which is why many homeowners shoot for spring or summer. During these seasons, installers and manufacturers see higher demand, which drives siding prices up.

Most contractors suggest choosing to install in the fall – when fewer homeowners need siding replacements. An off-season installation could net you savings on both material and labor costs.

Do you need other repairs?

After pulling off your old siding, you could find costly damage in the form of mildew or rot among your insulation, house wrap, and beams.

Plan on paying for repairs. The time to fix any damage is now – before you put up new vinyl siding.

Replacing siding also presents an ideal opportunity to replace interconnected components, namely soffits, fascia, and gutters. These additions will hike up your bill.

DIY vs. professional

DIY repairs being done to siding on a residential home

Image source: Siding Authority

Vinyl is among the more DIY-friendly types of siding.

Nevertheless, we would not necessarily say anyone can do it.

We concede you could save a pretty penny by forgoing professional installation. However, the consequences of a shoddy DIY siding job may void your product warranty and cost you more in the long run.

In our opinion, the peace of mind in teaming up with an insured, reputable contractor is worth more than potential DIY savings.

Pros and cons of vinyl siding

Pros of vinyl siding

Return on investment

Although installation and material costs can get lofty, vinyl siding boasts outstanding long-term value. Remodeling magazine's 2020 Cost vs. Value data suggests that homeowners get a 74.7 percent return on their investment in vinyl siding on average.

That means if you spent their national average cost of $14,359 upfront on a vinyl siding installation, you would recover $10,731 at resale. In essence, you only lose $3,628 on new vinyl siding.

Only fiber-cement siding (often called James Hardie siding) bests this figure with homeowners recouping a marginally higher 77.6 percent of project costs.

Low maintenance

Vinyl does not need repainting and is impervious to pest and termite infestations.

Apart from the occasional cleaning to remove dirt and stains, vinyl is virtually maintenance-free compared to real wood siding.

If you do not want minimal siding upkeep, choose vinyl.

Versatility

Versatile siding on a suburban home

Image source: Abby Windows & Exteriors

From sleek boards to textured shingles to stone veneers, you have plenty of options when it comes to vinyl siding.

No matter your home's style, budget, and personal tastes, there's likely a vinyl siding product that will check off all of your boxes.

Cons of vinyl siding

Warping

Vinyl has a high coefficient of thermal expansion, which means it lengthens and contracts to a greater degree than most other siding materials as temperatures change.

In turn, both extreme heat and cold can warp, buckle, and crack vinyl siding.

Though correct installation should allow for enough thermal movement, you may want to avoid vinyl if you live in a region that undergoes rapid and substantial temperature fluctuations.

Other materials, like fiber cement and aluminum siding, will hold up better to temperature extremes.

Fading

Like most other materials exposed to intense sunlight, vinyl siding tends to fade after a few years. This can lead to issues should you ever need to replace siding, as finding an exact match is often impossible.

While you could paint your vinyl siding, some manufacturers automatically consider it grounds to void your product warranty.

To minimize the chance of fading, look for products that meet ASTM color retention standards for color retention.

Incompatibility with historic homes

Vinyl might look like traditional siding materials such as wood and brick, yet most historic preservationists frown upon its use because it usually destroys the existing siding and diminishes the historic character, which could reduce its value in the event you sell.

The National Park Service sets out a few criteria that a historic building should meet to warrant new vinyl siding as an acceptable alternative to preserving the original siding.

Environmental debate

PVC, the plastic used to manufacture vinyl siding, gets a bad rap from many environmental and health advocates because it emits toxic chemicals during its lifecycle.

At the same time, vinyl champions push that PVC outperforms competitors in fundamental environmental metrics and can earn both LEED and National Green Building Standards credits.

Eco-conscious homeowners may want to conduct diligent research on the environmental impact of PVC before siding with vinyl.

Is vinyl siding worth it?

Siding on a residential home

Image source: Marshall Building and Remodeling

At $1 to $12 per square foot, vinyl siding ranges between a low-cost option and a rather expensive one.

Despite its potentially high price, the typical ROI, extensive selection, and low maintenance needs of vinyl siding are worthwhile.

Warping and color fade are legitimate concerns, though you could avoid both of these issues by correctly installing products that meet ASTM color retention standards.

Unless you own a historic home or believe the environmental impact of PVC significantly outweighs the benefits, we say vinyl is a good siding choice.

At the end of the day, vinyl siding is popular. U.S. Census Bureau data shows that 25 percent of all new houses completed in 2019 used vinyl as a primary siding material.

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