Affordable Home Siding Options

Home siding keeps your home safe from the environment and improves insulation. Learn about what materials are commonly used for home siding.

Siding refers to outer material of your home that covers the exterior of your walls. Siding serves an important role in protecting your home against the natural elements. Siding is made out of different materials, shielding your home from weather exposure, most notably strong winds, rain and snow. It also provides another layer of insulation. In addition to practical purposes, home siding also has cosmetic value. While this may seem minimal, the type of material you use can cause the value of your home to increase, which is helpful if you ever plan to sell your house.

With proper siding, you can decrease your energy bill by making your home more energy efficient. The better your siding, the easier it is to retain heat in your house, cutting down on your bills. Choosing what material to use for siding can be difficult because there are more viable materials compared to other parts of your home. While it is possible to install siding on your own, it is recommended to hire a contractor for best results.

Siding Installation

Most siding is sold in horizontal stripes, which must be measured and cut to fit your house. While measuring, you must take into account your windows and door, leaving enough space so the material does not stretch over these parts of your home. You also want to line up the panels so the joints are located near studs, which will act as additional support to keep your siding secure.

Your measurements must be precise, which is one of the reasons it is recommended to hire a siding contractor. Contractors are not only experienced, but they have access to specialized tools specifically for measuring siding. While you can purchase these tools on your own, they’re expensive and will only be relevant for siding projects.

Siding Considerations

When looking at siding materials, there are four factors to keep in mind. The first is how much the siding costs. With so many materials, there is a wide range of prices. You also have to consider the overall size of your home. The larger the house, the more you pay for materials. This leads to the second factor, durability. You may be tempted to buy the cheapest material, but if it ends up breaking a few years after it gets installed, you end up continually spending money on replacement. Where you live is also a consideration. If strong weather is an issue, you want a durable material to keep your house safe.

The next factor is efficiency. This is different from durability, focusing on how your home becomes more efficient based on your choice. If you want to reduce your heating bills, prioritize materials with better insulation. The last factor is appearance. You want to select materials that naturally suit the rest of your home.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl sliding is a popular because it comes in a wide range of colors, making it easy to match to your home. It is fairly inexpensive, but does not provide as much durability as other materials. If you want something more focused on durability and efficiency, there are insulated vinyl sliding panels available. These panels have the insulation built right into the ridge of the panel, which also makes them slightly more durable than traditional vinyl siding. On average, vinyl siding costs between $4 to $6 per square foot, with insulated vinyl costing closer to $8 to $12.

Natural and Manufactured Wood Siding

There’s no denying natural wood siding looks gorgeous. Not only does the wood give your house a rustic charm, but you can easily paint or stain the wood to make your home even more unique. While this provides a great deal of customization, it requires extra maintenance to keep up the appearance of your house. Barring extreme weather conditions, you must re-paint or stain your panels roughly every five years. Rodents and bugs may also be drawn to the siding, with termites being a particular issue.

Wood siding may vary depending on the type of wood you want as well as where you are located. In most parts of the United States, it costs around $10 to $15 per square foot. If you are using a local wood to your area, the cost may drop down to $8 to $14.

A less expensive alternative is manufactured wood siding. These are engineered boards designed to mimic the appearance of natural wood. Manufactured wood is fairly durable, but can sometimes suffer from mold and mildew in heavy rain areas. It is significantly less expensive than natural wood, costing around $3.50 to $8.50 per square foot.

Metal Siding

Metal siding is becoming more popular in the United States. With more roofs using metal materials, it makes sense to match the appearance with metal siding. Metal siding is particularly durable, requiring minimal maintenance compared to other types of siding. It is naturally resistant to bugs, mold and fire. One issue you have to look out for is rust in rainier climates. Many companies produce unique colors or patterns for metal siding, giving it a fair amount of customization, similar to manufactured wood. It is fairly inexpensive, costing between $3 and $7 per square foot.


Brick siding is another classic choice, giving your home a beautiful exterior. There are several color variants of bricks to choose from, but otherwise there are minimal customization options. Brick is a strong, durable material, naturally fire resistant and helping with temperature control. However, it is one of the pricier materials. If you are lucky, you can sometimes find brick siding around $8 to $10 per square foot, but it more commonly goes for $12 to $20.

Finding a Siding Contractor

There are many online resources to help you find siding contractors. One of the top sites to find housing contractors in your area is HomeAdvisor. HomeAdvisor has an extensive database, as well as options to narrow your search by location, budget and specialty. Angi is another site with excellent filters and a wide host of contractors to choose from. You can also use Thumbtack and Houzz to find additional contractors in your area. 

If you aren’t having any luck finding a contractor online, check your local sources. Many hardware stores partner with local contractors and can provide recommendations on who to hire. Always make sure to check the credentials of any prospective contractors. Meet with the contractor first and get a quote for the project before agreeing to hire him or her.