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How Much Does Wood vs. Vinyl Siding Installation Cost?

Wood Siding Versus Vinyl Siding Prices

The debate over whether to install wood or vinyl siding is one of the most hotly contested in the realm of home improvement. Will you jump on the vinyl bandwagon or go with the classic look of wood? This buying guide helps to make the decision easier by comparing the pros and cons of each material and providing basic pricing information.

The Benefits of Wood Siding and Vinyl Siding

The advantages, as well as disadvantages, of wood and vinyl as siding materials are described in the paragraphs below.

Wood Siding

The main advantage of wood siding is its appearance. Wood provides a touch of class and beauty that synthetic materials just can't match. With so many wood siding types and designs to choose from, including board and batten, tongue and groove, clapboards, wood shingle siding, and channel siding, just to name a few, you're sure to get the look you want at a reasonable price.

The main knock on wood siding-that it doesn't hold up as well as vinyl-is a bit of a misconception. It is true that wood requires more maintenance, but with proper upkeep and regular painting to defend against rot, insects, and other damage, wood should last indefinitely.

Vinyl Siding

While no homeowner is going to claim that vinyl looks better than real wood, the truth is that advances in technology makes today's vinyl siding more realistic looking than ever before and passersby will hardly be able to tell the difference. But you have to go beyond appearances to understand why vinyl is now used in approximately 1/3 of the new homes built in America.

Generally speaking, well-made, premium (.044 to 048 inch) is extremely low-maintenance. Its color may fade after 10-20 years and vinyl can contract and expand according to the weather, but for most homeowners, all that's required to keep vinyl looking like new is an occasional washing with soap and water. And although vinyl is more limited to wood when it comes to options, there are still many vinyl siding styles to choose from.

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Wood Siding vs. Vinyl Siding Cost

The following vinyl and wood siding prices are subject to vary based on the local cost of labor and materials, the complexity of the installation, and other factors.

  • Low to mid-grade vinyl costs slightly less than cedar or redwood siding, but the two materials are generally comparable in terms of cost. Check out Cost Owl's articles on wood siding cost and vinyl siding cost for a more complete pricing breakdown.
  • Wood siding costs $5 to $10 per square foot installed.
  • Vinyl siding costs $2 to $12 per square foot installed.
  • For a home with 1,500 exterior square feet, that works out to a total wood siding price of $7,500 to $15,000 and a vinyl siding installation cost of $3,000 to $18,000.
  • A more complete pricing picture comes into view when you consider long-term maintenance costs.
    • Over 20 years, the cost of wood siding increases by around $15,000 when you consider that wood needs to be repainted approximately once every 10 years, at a cost of around $7,500.
    • The cost of vinyl siding maintenance over 20 years should be roughly $5,000 if you spend $500 every other year for professional cleaning and minor repairs.
  • Removing and disposing of existing siding could cost an additional $1 to $3 per square foot.