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siding on a house

House Siding Options -- Plus Costs, Climate Recommendations, and Homeowner Trends


Mar 06, 2020 by Aly J. Yale

We all know how important curb appeal is, so whether you're planning a fix-and-flip or just renovating an older rental property, you're probably putting a lot of focus on the home's exterior and roofing.

Is updating the siding on your agenda? If it is, you'll want to think long and hard about your options.

House siding options run the gamut, and each one has its own pros and cons. Some are more on-trend with buyers, while some offer the biggest return on investment (ROI). Others are just better in certain climates or are more budget-friendly.

Here's a quick look at some of the most common house siding options:

  • Vinyl.
  • Aluminum.
  • Wood clapboard, or engineered wood.
  • Fiber cement or Hardie siding.
  • Stone veneer.
  • Stucco.

Want to make sure you choose the right siding products for your home's exterior? This guide can help.

The highest-ROI home siding options

If you're planning to sell the property and want the highest return on your investment, then the best house siding options are stone veneer or fiber cement.

According to Remodeling's 2020 Cost vs. Value Report, manufactured stone veneer siding offers a 95.6% ROI and is the top remodeling project you can take on if returns are what you're going for. The project clocks in at an average cost of $9,357 and adds nearly $9,000 in resale value to a property.

Fiber-cement siding is a little further down the list, but it still offers a 77.6% ROI. Its price tag is much higher, though, coming in around $17,000. Vinyl siding offers a 74.7% ROI and comes in at over $14,000.

Trendiest exterior siding options

Obviously, if you want your home to be marketable and sell at a premium, then taking buyer preferences into account is super important. Though these trends tend to vary regionally, overall, vinyl and wood siding are generally the most preferred home siding options on the market.

Fiber-cement and Hardie siding are also popular, largely because they're easy to maintain and come in a whole host of colors and looks.

If you're not sure what siding materials are most popular in your area, talk with a local real estate agent. They'll be most tuned in to what's trending, as well as what current, on-the-market buyers are looking for exterior-wise. They may even be able to point you to other potential renovations that can really make your property shine.

House siding materials by cost

Your total siding cost will vary based on how much of the home you're covering, but if you're just looking at price by square foot, then fiber-cement siding is your most economical choice. Fiber cement averages anywhere between $0.70 and $5.25 per square foot. Vinyl is next in line, coming in around $2 to $7 per square foot.

Overall, your most affordable home siding options include:

  • Fiber cement ($0.70 to $5.25/square foot).
  • Vinyl ($2 to $7/square foot).
  • Wood or clapboard siding ($3.25 to $15.75/square foot).
  • Aluminum ($3.50 to $4.75/square foot).

Stone siding is your most expensive option, averaging between $35 and $50 per square foot. Stucco siding is also pretty pricey, with a full project potentially clocking in at upwards of $120,000, according to home improvement platform HomeAdvisor (NASDAQ: ANGI). Engineered wood is also on the more expensive end at up to $28 for each square foot of material.

Best siding materials by climate and weather conditions

Choosing the right exterior siding materials can help protect your investment from damage or deterioration due to weather. Fiber-cement siding is one of the few siding options that hold up to virtually all weather conditions, so it's usually a safe bet no matter where your home is located.

If you don't like the look or price point fiber cement comes with, you'll want to assess your local climate before choosing which siding option to go with. If the property is located somewhere wet or humid, for example, wood siding would be a poor choice, as it can rot and mildew easily.

In these conditions, vinyl siding is a smart move. Vinyl wicks away water and also stands up to heat well. You can also choose insulated vinyl if you want better temperature control in the house. The one downside? Vinyl siding does fade in the sun, so keep this in mind if your home's in a sunny climate.

Here's a quick look at the conditions each exterior siding option can withstand:

Siding Type Ideal Conditions Less-Than-Ideal Conditions
Fiber-cement siding All climates None
Vinyl siding Wet or humid climates Windy regions or extremely cold or hot places, as it can crack and bend
Wood siding Dry climates Wet or cold climates or places with lots of temperature fluctuations
Stone siding Windy and cold climates, as it acts as insulation Very wet climates
Steel or aluminum siding Wind-prone climates and cold regions Areas with regular hail.
Stucco siding Dry and warm climates Climates with lots of moisture or snow

If you're not sure whether vinyl, wood, steel, stucco or stone siding is best for your property, consider talking to a local home inspector. They'll be able to tell you which siding material they've seen hold up to area weather conditions best -- and which ones you'll want to avoid. A general contractor or construction pro may also be able to point you in the right direction.

The bottom line

When remodeling your property's exterior, there's a whole host of siding materials to choose from. Do your research, choose yours carefully, and be sure to enlist a siding contractor for help with installation. The project will likely have a significant impact on your home's curb appeal -- as well as the price buyers are willing to pay for the property.

Want more renovation ideas that can add value to your home upon resale? Consult your real estate agent, and check out our list of the highest-ROI remodeling projects. Short on time? Try these renovations -- which are easy enough to do in just one single weekend.

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Aly Yale has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.