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How to Calculate Vinyl Siding Prices

Home > Articles > Siding > How to Calculate Vinyl Siding Prices

Large home with blue vinyl siding

Written by: Stephanie Stevens

Attractive siding contributes to the street appeal of a building, whether residential or commercial. But siding does more than provide aesthetic appeal. Siding prevents moisture from penetrating the frame, attic and eaves, limits infiltration by insects, termites and animals, and keeps dust, sand and other heavy airborne particulates from penetrating the structure.

According to the 2010 Census Bureau, vinyl siding is the most popular type of siding in the United States. Vinyl siding is strong, impact-resistant and expands and contracts with changes in temperature. Properly installed, high-quality vinyl siding withstands heavy winds. Some brands are rated to perform in hurricane-force wind up to 170 miles per hour.

Vinyl, or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), is a durable plastic made from a resin derived from chlorine and ethylene. This resinous material is molded into standardized shapes in a variety of colors for use as building cladding. The color is embedded in the resin, permeating the panels so it will not flake off. Several manufacturers like Alside and CertainTeed use specialized techniques that prevent colors from fading.

Vinyl siding showing accessories outlet cover and soffits

The cost of vinyl siding makes it one of the best home improvement investments. Vinyl siding is priced by the square, in industry terms equivalent to 10 feet by 10 feet or 100 square feet. Costs vary by manufacturer, type of siding and quality of material. Prices for paneling can be as low as $100 per square, or $1 per square foot, and as high as $700 per square not including installation. Specialty pieces like soffits and fascia cost more. Vinyl siding prices increase depending on material thickness, styles and grade. The better the quality, the higher the price may be. Moderate grades range in inches from .035 to .055 in thickness, while better grades fall between .040 and .048. CertainTeed's line of shake and cedar siding panels are .100 inch thick.

Vinyl siding costs for installation by a professional include all materials, tools and labor. Each house has its own individual characteristics, so installation costs will vary accordingly. Houses with many windows, trim or detail require specialty pieces, which increases the cost of installation. Professional installation costs vary from contractor to contractor, but average $1000 per square.

Professionals are trained in installation techniques that minimize waste and provide proper joins around windows, doors, eaves and foundations. Specialty materials for corners, soffits, fascia and outlets must be properly sized and custom-cut to fit the space. Contractors are trained to nail panels loosely enough to prevent buckling during periods of extreme weather, but tightly enough to prevent rattling during winds.

Blue vinyl siding with white trim and white shutters

To be sure you get a fair estimate, get itemized bids from several contractors to compare both material and labor costs. Carefully review vinyl siding estimates provided by contractors and ask for explanation of the work to be performed and clarify anything not clear. Ask for references to make sure that the contractor's work is satisfactory.

Vinyl siding can be installed over existing siding; however, in some instances it is preferable to remove old siding. An experienced contractor will evaluate the condition of the old siding to determine whether it will affect the performance of the new. Removing old siding is an additional cost. Estimates should clearly state whether old siding will be removed and provide the cost for the work. If the sheathing or underlying structure is in poor condition, repairs may be required before the new siding can be installed. Repairs affect the cost.

Most major manufacturers of vinyl siding offer limited lifetime warranties for their products. Several offer transferable warranties, so even if you sell your home, the remaining years of the warranty are valid for the new owner.

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