Wall cladding and siding is material that is put onto the exterior walls of buildings to help protect them from the weather, offer some insulation and therefore plays a vital role in that building’s structure. While some materials are not covered like masonry veneers or solid brick many do, even log buildings can have siding for example. When installed correctly you can expect quality siding to last for 10 even 15 years. It keeps the water, wind, and other weathers out and saves you money in energy bills as well as looking good. Eventually it will need to be re-done though as with age it wears down, or if it undergoes particularly extreme weather conditions this might hasten its replacement. Here is information on types of siding, when to replace it and how much it might cost.

Types of Siding

Siding can be either vertical or horizontal boards, sheets or shingles made from a variety of materials that we will look closer at shortly. Whichever material or form the main difficulty faced is that the rain, wind and other elements get through the joints. Usually this is overcome by having interlocking joints like rabbet or tongue and groove, have overlapping, or sealing and covering the joints. Having rigid joints separating siding elements is not a good idea because building materials contract and expand due to temperature changes and humidity so they would leak a lot more.

Siding of whatever material is attached to the building’s structure or to a layer of wood called sheathing. With wood construction it is fastened to studs, sheathing layers are usually made of planks, oriented strand board, or plywood. Sheathing is also referred to as sheeting in some areas. For a barrier against the moisture and air modern sheathing material is applied to the sheathing or felt paper or house wrap.


There are four usual materials that siding is made from sold on the market today. Wood, aluminum, vinyl and fiber cement.


wood-sidingWood siding has an attractive appearance and as a nice way to add character to your house while still having a practical purpose. A lot of older homes have beveled or clapboard siding and look more distinctive thanks to this addition. However wood has some cons a large one being how much it costs. Cost for treated wood depends on what types of wood it is, how it is painted or stained and how it is cut. Also it requires more maintenance as it needs re-staining or painting every few years and also needs to be checked at that time for insect or mildew damage.


aluminumIs a much lower price compared to wood which makes it a lot more attractive to those working on a budget. Other pros include its ease of installation, the variety of styles and colors you can get and that it is extremely low maintenance. On the con side colors can fade over time or chalk and installing it is quite noisy!


VinylWas created to give another cheaper choice to wood other than aluminum. It is actually even more cost effective than aluminum and is easy to install. You also do not need to worry about it chalking or fading down the road and it needs little maintenance unlike wood. However it does need to be correctly installed otherwise it will not give adequate coverage and warping can occur. Also it may not be a great choice for people in cold climates as if it is hit by something hard in cold weather it can crack. Vinyl though is still the most popular choice amongst new home owners and builders who are looking to save money and have little maintenance to do.

Fiber cement

fiber-cement-sidingThis is the newest siding on the market. It has the appearance of wood and cuts and installs like wood siding too however it lasts a lot longer than wood. Most manufacturers offer a warranty of 25 to 50 years. The con is the price of this option as it is the most expensive of all of them. However with that long a warranty if you are planning a replacement for the whole home this may be worth investing in.

When does siding need to be replaced?

worn-vinylWhen you inspect your siding or the siding of a house you are interested in buying you are looking for damage at a distance first off. Walk away from the home and look for obvious damage, obvious color fading, missing panels and so on. If those things are there then replacement is advisable. Now move closer to check for details like mildew or mold which would suggest the house has a water problem. If you can bend it, it pulls away easily or it is warped this also needs changing. Other obvious signs to look for include holes, dents or cracks. If after a thorough inspection over half of the siding is damaged in some form you should just replace the whole thing.

If you are planning on selling your home one way to increase the price you can ask for is to replace the siding and this is something real estate agents sometime suggest. Not just because it improves the appearance of your house so makes a much better first impression when buyers come along, but also because siding damage or condition is something buyers will consider in whether they put in an offer and what kind of offer they make.

Average costs of siding

For some homeowners repairing one piece of damaged siding is something they can do themselves. However when it becomes a full replacement for the whole home that may be a time to call in the professionals as they can also check for underlying problems like moisture or dry rot, so that your new siding does not suffer the same fate. Cost of siding really depends on the type you choose. Vinyl costs between $200 to $300 per hundred square feet so for a home sitting at 2,200 square feet that is a cost of $6000 to $8500 but then on top of that is removal of previous siding, ($1000 to $3000), extras costs of moldings, trim, fascia, soffits and labor costs.

Getting a Siding Contractor

When getting in a contractor a good idea is to approach a few to get quotes and compare them. Also ask whether extras are free or come at a cost and check for any other charges. Make sure all quotes are in writing so no surprise costs occur. Siding is not generally cheap to have installed but it is needed and when done correctly will last a good amount of time.

Find a siding contractor near me

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