Vinyl siding: sometimes it just makes dollars and cents

Vinyl siding: sometimes it just makes dollars and cents

Is your family continuing to feel the effects of the "Great Recession?" If so, don't think you're alone - a recent study done by Rutgers University shows that the recent economic downturn affected about 73 percent of all Americans.

Unfortunately, your house doesn't care that your budget may have gotten a little tighter -- many of its components continue to require maintenance or replacement regardless of your economic status. So if you've put off replacing your home's exterior siding for as long as you possibly can, what cladding might be the best choice when dollars and cents are the most important factor?

Vinyl siding: your remodeling budget's best friend

Selecting a new siding for your home can be a confusing process. First you have to pick a material and then choose a style before exploring all the various manufacturers to find whose product will work best on your home. But if cost is the most important consideration, that might be a good place to start. Narrowing down the materials to those that fit your remodeling budget can be a great way to simplify the selection process.

Fortunately, there's an excellent resource for researching the approximate prices of the most common claddings used on homes: the R.S. Means construction cost guidebooks. R.S. Means gathers cost data on building materials and construction labor from around the country each year and publishes guidebooks that cover just about every facet of the industry. Here are a few of the costs for various residential siding materials reported in the 2013 editions of their guidebooks:

  • Cedar wood siding - beveled ½" x 6" is projected to be about $10.23 per square foot including installation and two coats of paint or stain.
  • Fiber cement siding - 8" wide smooth finish boards that have a 6 ¾" exposure are estimated to cost about $6.87 per square foot including installation labor and trim components.
  • Brick veneer - Standard red faced common brick veneer including wall prep and masonry labor is projected to cost about $13.98 per square foot.
  • Stone veneer - A field stone veneer including wall prep and masonry is estimated to cost about $19.20 per square foot.
  • Vinyl siding - A .042" thick medium grade clapboard style in a single 8" profile is projected to cost about $5.73 per square foot including installation labor and accessories.
  • Insulated vinyl siding - A medium grade vinyl with an insulating backer board is estimated to cost about $6.37 per square foot including installation labor and accessories.

All of these prices are national averages and could vary by location and manufacturer. However, the 2013 data from R.S. Means shows that, once again, vinyl siding might be the best choice as an exterior veneer when cost is the most important factor in your decision. Just think of the cladding's attractive appearance, durability, and low-maintenance characteristics as icing on the cake.

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