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Wood or Vinyl Siding: Using Costs, Durability & More to Decide

Last Updated: October 06, 2023

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.

Wood vs Vinyl Siding Costs #

Wood Siding

  • Material costs: $3-8 per square foot

  • Installation costs: $3-7 per square foot

  • Total installed cost: $6-15 per square foot

  • Hardwoods like cedar cost $7-15 per sq ft installed

  • Engineered wood siding costs $5-12 per sq ft installed

  • Prefinished siding costs a premium $8-18 per sq ft

  • For a 2,000 sq ft home, wood siding costs $12,000-30,000 total

Vinyl Siding

  • Material costs: $1-3 per square foot

  • Installation costs: $1-5 per square foot

  • Total installed cost: $2-8 per square foot

  • Basic vinyl siding costs $2-5 per sq ft installed

  • Premium vinyl costs $4-8 per sq ft installed

  • Insulated vinyl costs $6-10 per sq ft installed

  • For a 2,000 sq ft home, vinyl siding costs $4,000-16,000 total

Key Cost Factors:

  • Material grade and quality
  • Pre-finished vs raw siding
  • Simple vs complex installation
  • Accessibility of home's exterior
  • Labor costs in your area
  • Amount of preparation work needed

In summary, wood siding costs range from $6-15 per sq ft installed compared to $2-8 per sq ft for vinyl. Vinyl is cheaper upfront, but wood can last much longer. Hardwoods and prefinished materials command premium pricing.

Wood vs Vinyl Siding Comparison #

CriteriaWood SidingVinyl Siding
Cost Per Sq. Ft. Installed$6-12$2-7
Durability50+ years20-30 years
MaintenanceMedium-HighVery Low
Insulation AbilityExcellentModerate
AppearanceNatural wood texturesArtificial woodgrain

In summary, wood siding is more expensive upfront but provides better insulation, natural curb appeal, and long-term durability if maintained properly. Vinyl is cheaper initially, requires little upkeep, and offers design flexibility, but lacks the appearance and efficiency of wood over the long run.

Homeowners Explain Wood vs. Vinyl Siding Decisions #

"We went with wood siding to maintain the original 1920s craftsman style of our home's exterior. The cost was higher but preserving the home's charm was worth it." – Mark S., Ohio

"Vinyl siding was the obvious choice for us because of the low maintenance. I don't have time to repaint or restain constantly. As long as it looks decent, I'm happy." – Jennifer T., Florida

"We agonized over wood or vinyl but ultimately chose cedar wood for the character and quality. It was a expensive but really pays off when people admire our home's curb appeal." – Karen D., Michigan

"We tried to save money by using basic vinyl siding on our old house. It started looking worn and faded after 8 years. This time we upgraded to hardie board fiber cement siding for a more durable and attractive finish." – Tom R., Virginia

"I liked the wood-grain look of vinyl siding compared to plain aluminum or other options. It gives our home a bit more warmth and personality without the higher cost of real wood." – Greg S., Texas

Siding Contractors Compare Wood vs. Vinyl #

"We prefer working with wood siding like cedar and redwood. It just has way more character and curb appeal than vinyl. Our customers are willing to pay a premium for the natural beauty of real wood." - John, Classic Siding Company

"I'd say at least 70% of the siding jobs we do involve some amount of vinyl. It's affordable and durable, with lots of customization options. People like the low maintenance. But for high-end homes, wood still rules." - James, Coastal Siding Services

"Wood siding takes more expertise to install properly. But it's a better insulator and really increases home value. I recommend wood for customers wanting long-term quality and appearance." - Mike, Best Bay Siding

"Vinyl siding is easier and faster for our crews to install. It stands up well to moisture and dents too. But wood gives a more custom, seamless look. We offer both but lean toward wood siding for most homes." - David, Prestige Siding

"I don't think vinyl can match the curb appeal of real wood siding. But not everyone can afford cedar or want the maintenance. We offer different looks and pricing to meet each customer's needs." - Chris, Summit Siding Contractors

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.


Use Our Free Service and Find Siding Companies Near You #

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