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Find out vinyl siding cost, the colors to choose, the best quality materials to get and access up to 4 free contractor quotes.
House sidings are a convenient and attractive way of covering the sides of our homes to make them more watertight and better looking than before.
Before we go any further and for the benefit of those who do not live in North America, sidings are also known as cladding and are usually an outer skin or a weatherproof material added to the exterior walls after the house has been built. They are not structural and are there specifically to provide protection from the weather and to make the house more attractive.
There are many attractive and hardwearing materials we can fix to the sides of our homes especially if the buildings are old and tired and prone to a few little leaks. In fact many period homes were originally built with wooden clapboard as a siding and these over the years have become rotten and so need replacing. Just because the original siding happened to be made from wood does not necessarily mean that you have to replace like for like. Sometimes however if you live in a conservation area or your home has some historic or architectural merit you may be limited to the types and styles you are able to install. Ask at your local planning and building control offices to see if there are any restrictions in place on your property with which you must comply.
There are many reasons why we might wish to install sidings on our houses:
The house originally had sidings. Often if a house originally had sidings installed and there is a local planning stipulation that the house must have the same type of siding, then unfortunately you will have to comply. It is worth asking however if the material can be changed for a more hardwearing product as long as the appearance doesn’t change. A particularly historic house might have been originally fitted with white painted wooden clapboard. The wood has started to fall apart and has rotted so much that normal repair just is not feasible. It may be possible to replace the original wood boards with white PVC clapboard to ensure that no more rot occurs.
Although the material has changed, and you could tell it was different from a close inspection, it would still look like wood from the street. It is worth asking the authorities if this is possible.
The house is subject to strong winds and heavy rain. Let’s face it in days gone by the house builders and architects were not that clued up on draught proofing and insulation, meaning many beautiful homes were freezing cold in the winter, hot in the summer and subject to damp. With modern building materials it is now possible to clad the side of your home with rot proof and waterproof coverings and place a layer of efficient thermal insulation between the new siding and the original walls.
Your house has been neglected for many years. Let us say that your home was built many years ago but is not necessarily in a conservation or historic area. Over the years the previous owners have allowed the house to deteriorate to such an extent that to repair the existing walls to make them look attractive and keep weathertight would be financially crippling. It would be much easier and much less expensive to just cover over the damaged walls with brand new siding (don’t forget the damp proof membrane and the insulation while you are getting the work done).
You cannot do much maintenance. You have retired after a lifetime at work and now want to spend your days pottering in the garden and playing with the grandchildren, not providing regular maintenance to your home. This is now easily done and at a reasonable price too. You can cover the exterior walls with PVC siding and wave goodbye to regular maintenance and painting. All it needs is a spray with the garden hose now and again to remove any dirt and grime.
This article is specifically about vinyl sidings (also known as poly vinyl chloride or PVC or uPVC if we are talking about the ultraviolet resistant type), but first we should just mention in passing the many other different types of material you can use to cover your house. There are many different types to suit your personal taste and your budget. You should also take into account the ease of maintaining and repairing the new siding.
Vinyl. Most types of vinyl siding is designed to withstand ultraviolet light from the sun but how many of you knew that it isn’t always present? Most manufacturers add the sunscreen directly to the mix but you can buy the sunscreen separately and apply it yourself. Vinyl siding will tend to break down and lose its colour under the influence of the light if it is not protected so make sure you use a manufacturer who can give a comprehensive warranty against damage done by UV light.
Advantages of vinyl are that it is impervious to rot and insect attack and does not require painting. It can be damaged by physical knocks and strong winds. It can also shrink and expand with changes in temperature so that moisture will get behind it and be prevented from drying out properly.
Wood. This is a traditional siding material, and the common types of wood used are spruce, cypress, Douglas fir and pine. More expensive woods such as cedar and redwood as well as hardwoods are much more resistant to attack and damage but are more expensive as well. Wood sidings always look good if regularly painted and any damage is easily repaired.
Composite board. This type is made from man-made boards laminated together with waterproof glue. They are treated with pesticide to prevent pest attack and often the surface is pressed to a specific pattern or profile. They are easier to install and repair than real wood, are durable and easy to customise. One disadvantage is that in humid conditions the board can trap moisture unless ventilation is provided.
Fiber cement board. This material is a combination of Portland cement and cellulose fibres. It is very durable and resistant to all kinds of rot and pests. It is weather resistant, fire resistant, easy to paint and is relatively low cost. It is heavy however and can be difficult to install. It is easily damaged by physical knocks and dents but can be repaired with cement grout.
Aluminum. This material is used in areas subject to cold temperatures. It is completely weatherproof and is light to carry. It is completely pest proof, rustproof, fire proof and needs very little maintenance. It is easily scratched and expands and shrinks in extremes of weather causing irritating noises. It is difficult to repair and requires regular painting.
Having talked generally about all the other types of material we can now concentrate on vinyl. There are many different styles available and the one you choose will depend a lot on the existing architecture, your budget, your priorities and the ease of repair.
Style and period. Unfortunately, you cannot have a custom made profile such as would be possible if the siding was made from wood. But as there are many different profiles available it should be possible to choose a board profile suitable for the architecture and period of your property.
Age of property. Try and find out when your house was built. Over the years, the building practices change and you will find that one style of siding will suit your particular house better than others.
Historic interest? In many countries you will find that style in the architecture of historic properties or of houses that are in an area of historic interest will be severely restricted to those styles that were prevalent when the house was built. You may even be restricted to the material as well, but let’s hope not. It is true that a house situated in a historic area will look far more appealing if the architectural details are consistent with the other buildings in the area. If you are in doubt always ask the advice of the local building control offices to find out the restrictions with which you will have to comply.
Does your house stand alone or is it joined to others? If your house is part of a group of houses or is joined to others then you will probably be constrained to the style you wish to use. Once again, get advice from the local building control offices or ask the local residents’ association.
Energy efficiency. Depending on when your home was built or last renovated will be the deciding factor whether you have insulation behind your existing siding. If the house is new then probably you already have some installed (although you could probably install some more to make the insulation thicker), whereas if the building is older then you probably haven’t any insulation fitted at all. Take this opportunity to update the insulation to the optimum.
What else needs replacing? If the siding needs replacing then there is a good chance that the doors, windows, fascia and soffits also need replacing. Why not go ahead and get them all changed at the same time with the same style.
Safety. It is only fairly recently that safety factors have been considered and built into newly built properties. While you are having the outside of your house renovated why not think about safety extras such as fire escapes and modern thicknesses of glass in windows.
We have touched briefly on the different styles available in vinyl siding but they are all variations on four basic styles:
Beaded seam. You remember the movies about the old West of the 1800s? Well this resembles that classic look. It can look great in any kind of home; old or modern.
Board and batten. This is similar to a rustic barn type of cladding and believe it or not it is also known as ‘barn style’. The vinyl boards have a rough texture like wood and the pattern is one of alternating narrow and wide boards, either vertical or horizontal.
Shingle. Also known as ‘shake’, this has a rough and staggered waney edge that gives a warm, rustic appeal.
Smooth. Exactly what it sounds like. This style is smooth with no texture or pattern at all. It is always popular as a clean and sleek addition to any home.
There are many more variations on these styles, too many to mention here. All you need to do is ask for a catalog from your local supplier to see the full range.
If you are like the rest of us and do not have thousands of dollars available to improve your home, it is wise to ask for advice from an independent financial advisor who can give you information and help with securing a loan to improve your home. Your home, if you own it is probably the largest investment you are going to make in your lifetime so it makes sense to maintain it in the best possible condition. Sometimes you may need help with paying for all this maintenance work but it will be worthwhile in the long term.
Prepare a written proposal to your bank or mortgage lender listing the reasons why you want to improve your home. Stress that the improvements will increase the property’s value and include approximate costings of how much the improvement will cost as well as the expected rise in house value.
As well as the cost of buying the vinyl sidings, you will also need to buy vinyl trim to finish off edges, corners and around openings. You will need the correct fastenings for the vinyl siding and this usually is stainless steel nails or screws. You will also need wooden battens fitted to the building shell on which to fix the siding and if you intend adding insulation then you will need to buy some of this too.
Ok, you have your new vinyl siding installed. What do you do to keep it in good condition and prevent any deterioration? Well if you have chosen the vinyl type, and I hope you have, your maintenance routine is limited to keeping the surface clean by washing with a hosepipe regularly and checking to see if there has been any physical damage done to the surface. If you have any damage, this material cannot be seamlessly repaired so the only option apart from filling the hole with silicon or epoxy filler is to replace the damaged section with new.
If you need repairs on your vinyl you can be talking of prices in the region of $200 to $900 depending on the extent of the repairs.
If your vinyl siding has been neglected for a few years it may have built up an accumulation of heavy grime and mold. If this is the case then use a soft bristled brush with gentle dish washing detergent in warm water to make the surface sparkle.
If you decide to use a pressure washer, make sure it is on the lowest settling to avoid pushing the water and dirt up underneath the lap and into the cavity behind the vinyl.
When you are in the cleaning phase, start from the bottom and work your way up to the top. This will prevent any of the wet dirt from running down and drying on surface. When you are in rinse phase, start at the top and move down to the bottom. This ensures the clean boards do not have dirty smudges on them from the rinse water.
You can finish off by letting the vinyl dry naturally but you may find that you have water stains on the surface. If so then dry and polish using a soft cloth.
The costs of installing vinyl sidings will depend on a number of factors:
Quality of product. If the vinyl sidings you have chosen are of low cost, there is a good chance that the product is of low quality too. In the short term, low-quality vinyl will probably not be much different from the higher quality products. What it will mean is that the product will not last as long as the good quality product before the effects of weather and sunlight start to show. Remember this, low quality and low-cost sidings will mean early repair and replacement and higher costs in the long term. It is always best to purchase the most expensive product you can afford.
Size of property. Properties that are larger than normal will require more materials and more labor to finish the work. Properties with more corners and angles in the design of the architecture will also need more labor to produce a good quality result.
The shape of the property. Properties that are simple rectangular boxes need far less labor and materials than a property with multiple storeys, turrets and corners.
Overlaying old siding. Rather than removing old siding it is sometimes possible to use the original siding as a base for the new. If the original siding is suitable to act as a base, the total job will require less labor as the original siding will not have to be removed.
Remove original siding. Most types of original siding will need to be removed. This extra work may or may not be included in your quotation. Typical costs to remove old sidings can be from $1,000 to $3,000, so you see this can be a significant amount of money.
Season of the year. The time of year when you choose to have the siding renewed will significantly affect the price and quality of the job. Most siding contractors are very busy in the spring and autumn months so their quotation will be priced at premium rates during this period as this is the time when they will be in highest demand. Late autumn and winter are the months that traditionally have the worst weather for outdoor working. Bad weather will always affect the duration and quality of a job so be prepared for this.
Where you live. The area in which you live will affect how much you pay for a sidings project. On average however you will pay a minimum of approximately $30 per hour.
Thickness. The most common thickness of siding boards is 0.04”. Other, thicker siding boards are available of thickness 0.052”. These are far more durable and resistant to wear and fading but obviously will cost more.
Styles. Vinyl siding can come with a molded pattern (such as brick, stone, wood etc) or with a smooth plain surface. The plain surface will be less expensive than the molded types.
Extras. The moldings, trims, nails and screws, vents and corners may not be added into your quotation but will always be billed to you as extras. Some siding contractors will charge you from $3 to $6 per linear foot for extras such as these. Make sure these items are included in your final quotation so you know exactly what you are paying for.
Types of labor. The differing types of contractors available to work on sidings will all charge different rates depending on their experience and workload. Obviously the DIY option will have zero labor charges. The different types of labor could be:
So far we have just talked about having vinyl sidings installed from new. What if we decide to have our existing sidings repaired instead? How will this differ from the factors just mentioned?
Most repairs to properties will take far less time to complete than if you are having new sidings installed. This means that a contractor will be far more amenable to using your project as infill work, he will use it as a filler between other larger jobs or when he is forced to stop work on other jobs for various reasons.
Repairs to sidings will also be within the skills of the average DIY practitioner and the nature of the work will allow it to be done for a few hours here and there in your spare time.
|Average costs to repair vinyl sidings|
|Typical range||$300 to $1,100|
The figures given in this article are approximate and are intended to be indicative of the true cost of siding an average home. Costs will vary depending on where you live, the type of siding chosen as well as the design. The quality and the retail outlet where you purchase the vinyl will also have an effect on the costs. On average the cost to install vinyl siding is approximately $4 per square foot.
|Average costs to install vinyl sidings|
|Typical range||$5,500 to $14,000|
Some designs will often cost more than others depending on the thickness of the material, the work that has gone into the design and the demand for the product.
|Cost to install different types of vinyl sidings|
|Type||Approximate cost per 100 sq.ft.|
|Cellwood Evolutions 4.5 Dutch Lap||$75|
|Georgia Pacific Dutch Lap||$100|
|Hampton Red Woodgrain Dutch Lap||$143|
|Coastal Blue Woodgrain||$195|
|Durablit Blue Ridge Dutch Lap||$275|
The Vinyl Sidings Institute regularly publishes figures to show how the total cost of installing vinyl compares with other siding materials that may or may not require painting.
|Comparison of vinyl vs other types of siding|
|Type||Total installed cost per 100 sq.ft.|
✓ Vinyl is very easy to install for a professional and if you have basic DIY skills then it is very easy to do a good job yourself.
✓ The colors of the vinyl are extremely durable. Even darker colours that at one time were very prone to weathering and fading are now resistant to losing their colour.
✓ The colour runs all the way through the vinyl so if the surface gets any chips or cracks they aren’t as visible as they would be on other types of siding material.
✓ The cost to purchase and install, when added together makes the overall cost the least when compared to other materials.
✓ The cost to buy vinyl siding is by far the cheapest of the materials.
✓ Although the vinyl boards are water resistant, the siding once installed is not water tight. The wind can drive rain behind the siding where mold and rot can grow on the house shell. The solution to this is to provide drainage holes at the bottom and ventilation grills spaced around the sidings.
✓ Even though the color will resist fading, eventually ultraviolet light will cause the color to fade and become dull.
✓ Certain types of dirt and grime can build up and cause the shine to dull too.
✓ Although the vinyl is on the whole very resistant to cracking, extreme weather such as winds and sunlight can cause the vinyl to expand and contract, bend and crack.
The skills involved in cutting and fixing vinyl siding are similar to those needed in the cutting and fixing of wood. It therefore makes sense that the contractor most likely to be hired to install or repair vinyl siding (apart from specialist siding companies) would be the carpenter. If you are expecting to have a complex pattern or arrangement of the boards then a highly experienced finishing carpenter would be my choice.
Although specialist siding installation companies employ skilled technicians, they often can be too specialized to be able to cope with variations from the norm.
The Vinyl Sidings Institute run certification courses for sidings installers who specialize in vinyl. The course provides suitable training to ensure the sidings professionals are trained to the following levels:
✓ To be able to fasten and fix vinyl sidings and to allow for vinyl’s natural expansion and contraction.
✓ To be able to seal and apply waterproofing around doors, windows and other openings in vinyl siding.
To know the methods to secure vinyl sidings to existing surfaces.
The Institute in conjunction with others has also developed Codes of Best Practice for all responsible contractors engaged in installing siding. Your contractor will be able to supply a list of these upon request. You can also get a list from the Building Codes Department in the planning offices of your local government.
If you are intending paying someone to install vinyl sidings onto your house, you will need them to do the installation correctly and follow the Building Codes. To do this you will need a good and reputable skilled, certified and licensed contractor. Your home cost you a lot of money and it is probably the largest investment you will ever make so it makes sense to use someone who will not damage it in any way. You will need to know that the work has been done to the highest possible standard and if any problems do occur that are traceable to the sidings installation, they can be dealt with efficiently and responsibly at no extra cost to you.
The following are things you should look out for and if necessary ask the contractor for evidence.
✓ Choose someone who is a reputable and locally established company.
✓ Make sure the contractor has experience as a vinyl sidings specialist or as an experienced carpenter who knows the appropriate Building Codes.
✓ Ask friends and family for personal recommendations.
✓ Look on the Vinyl Sidings Institute’s website for a list of their members.
✓ Ask the contractor if he is willing to do the work.
✓ Find out the starting date and how long the job should take.
✓ Ask what qualifications the contractor has.
✓ Ask which professional associations the company belongs to.
✓ Find out what guarantees and warranties are offered for both labor and materials.
✓ Find out if there are references for similar jobs done recently and get their contact details. Follow them up.
Once you have used these guidelines to weed your contractor list down to three or four, ask them to give you a quotation for the work. In order to give you a full and accurate quotation, the contractor will need to know exactly what you will want to be done so make sure you have done your homework and know exactly the style and materials you wish to be used.
A good contractor will measure your house, plan the job very carefully and anticipate problems that might occur. He will allow for the problems in the quotation or at least mention them in the documentation and provide a suggestion of how they will be accounted for in the final invoice.
Installing vinyl sidings are ideally a job for a professional who is suitably trained and licensed but also vinyl is so easy to work with that a person with good DIY skills will find no problem doing the work. Bear in mind though that there are published Codes of Best Practice when dealing with vinyl so that you can be sure that the final job is water and weather tight, will last for as long as the manufacturer specifies and so that the product is installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. As stated earlier, you can ask for the information from the Building Codes Department at your local government offices.
If you use a licensed professional you can be sure that if anything goes wrong he will not only be insured for damage and injury but also will have guarantees and warranties to cover the quality of work and of materials.
If you are interested in DIY and have the required tools, but haven’t worked with vinyl before then there are many reference books and websites that will guide you in the basic skills needed to work with vinyl.
Unfortunately there are many unscrupulous people in all walks of life and the construction industry has its fair share of them. These people always spoil things for the majority of contractors who are honest and hardworking and only want to provide a good job for a fair price. But how do we spot a scam? There are many different cons around that become popular and then disappear for a while, and in fact, there are too many to list here individually so the best way is to list the things they have in common and let you decide if you are the subject of a confidence trick.
Up –front payments. Never ever pay for the work up-front. You might be asked for a deposit and this is legitimate practice and quite reasonable if the job is worth a large sum of money.
Extras on top of the quoted price. The trick here is that you are quoted a low price in order to secure the job but then at the end of the job when the invoice is presented there are many extra details that were never mentioned in the quote. Let’s be fair with this, there will always be changes to the job as it evolves and you must expect a few changes to the original quotation but you should be notified at each stage if this is happening and your approval should be sought before the extra work is done.
No license. Sometimes the contractor has no license so he says he can offer the work at a discounted price. Ask yourself why he isn’t licensed, is he any good? Has he been convicted of fraud or some other felony? Basically find out why he isn’t licensed and steer clear of him.
Cash in Hand. Sometimes the contractor will offer a discount if you pay the bill in cash without a proper invoice. Ask yourself why this is. Is he doing it to try to avoid the authorities or to avoid paying tax? The materials may be stolen and you may be guilty of receiving stolen goods.
We were in the neighborhood. This is a classic con. It involves the contractor knocking on your door and saying he has just finished a job nearby and has some vinyl left over. Would you like your sidings done at a discount? We know this is tempting but once again the materials may be stolen and you might end up as an accomplice.
Vinyl sidings are one of the best and most economic ways of protecting your house from extremes of weather and giving it a facelift at the same time.
Vinyl is a very versatile material that can be molded into many different textures and styles and is available in many different colors.
In this article we have discussed what vinyl siding is and why it is the most versatile and durable of the siding options. We have talked about the costs to install and to repair vinyl sidings and looked at the comparison between vinyl and other siding options.
We hope you have found something useful in this article and we thank you for reading it.