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Léa Noémie Plourde-Archer
Léa Noémie
Plourde-Archer

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Exterior Siding : information, installation and material prices

Last modified: 2018/05/10 | 9 mins

Do you need to install new exterior siding on your house? The curb appeal of your home is more important than you might realize. Not only can the façade greatly affect the resale value but it’s appearance has a definite impact on how confident and comfortable you’ll feel about your home overall.

When it comes to your exterior walls siding options, you might be looking for that decorative finish but it’s important to consider weatherproofing purposes. If you’re considering repairing or completely updating your exterior walls, then we’re here to offer everything you need to know.

Many different products are available on the market, with prices and lifespans varying from one extreme to another. In order to help you find the option that best suits your needs, we have prepared important information as well as a price guide for exterior siding. One of the first things people notice when looking at a house is the exterior siding that covers the outer walls.

To make a parallel with the human body, exterior siding would be equivalent to the skin that covers the muscle and bones of a building. In addition to improving the house’s general appearance, this material also holds the important function of protecting the building from bad weather conditions.

Exterior cladding house

Photo: Gentek

Prices, pros and cons of various types of exterior sidings:

To consider before an exterior wall renovation

It’s important to consider a few key aspects before we dive into the realm of exterior wall renovation. First of all, it’s crucial to mention that most exterior renovations will require you to apply for a permit. The rules that cover outdoor renovations will greatly vary from city to city and from municipality to municipality. So, before beginning any project make sure to do ample research into the laws surrounding outdoor renovations including all permits you may need to apply for.

Another major consideration is the climate of your region. When it comes to choosing the correct exterior wall material, weather plays a huge role. Not only does the material itself matter, but choosing the correct fasteners to stand up against the weather. For most exterior work, rust resistant nails or screws will be required.

Finally, the last aspect to contemplate before beginning this project is your budget. It`s normal for certain materials to be more expensive than others, and therefore important that you do your research to remain within the realm of what you’re able to afford. Once all of the preliminary research is done, you’ll be in a much better position to choose a material that works for you.

Vinyl exterior cladding

Year ago, vinyl siding was one of the most widely used products. Take a look around your neighbourhood and you’ll be likely to come across a home using this material. However, the technology for creating this product has greatly advanced, and thus vinyl siding has come a long way since it’s burst of popularity.

Vinyl siding has many benefits, especially for the homeowners on a budget. Vinyl siding is a low cost material while also being versatile and low maintenance. For all of these reasons, it has been a popular choice for exterior siding. It’s worth mentioning that depending on your personal taste, vinyl siding mat have an appearance that feels too “plastic.” However, if you’re able to look beyond this, there are plenty of different colour and style options available in vinyl siding and this can definitely aid in the materials overall appeal.

Not only is there plenty of versatility when working with vinyl siding, the installation process for this material is fairly simple, since you’ll only need a few tools to install the siding. Further, you’ll likely be able to find vinyl siding at you’re a home improvement store, so this is definitely a DIY project for homeowners who would consider themselves to be novices. Even though the job itself is easy, be careful to follow step by step instructions or consult a professional. Bear in mind that any mishaps when installing exterior materials could be costly.

If well maintained, it can last up to forty years. However, vinyl does not support heat and over time, the surface will tend to fade if exposed to direct sunlight.  Its main advantage stems from the fact that it is very affordable: Prices vary from $2 to $7 per square foot (including installation)

Aluminum exterior cladding

Aluminum cladding offers good weather resistance, mostly in terms of wind and temperature variations. Contrary to vinyl, aluminum does not tend to contract itself. However, it reacts very badly during fires and offers little resistance against flames. Under optimal conditions, this type of cladding can last more than 40 years.Prices vary from $4 to $10 per square foot (including installation). To learn more about this subject, check out: The pros and cons of aluminum siding.

Wood exterior siding

Photo: World House Design

Wood

Wood siding is common in remote or rustic areas, but can be found scattered around towns and cities as well. Wood siding offers a rich and beautiful look for your homes exterior. Not only does wood siding look lush, it is exceptionally durable if it’s taken care of correctly. If you’re considering installing wood siding, the number one thing to bear in mind is that this material requires periodic maintenance. Depending on the region where you live, the maintenance requirements for your wood siding will be different.

In areas that are particularly wet or damp, you’ll need to take extra care by applying a water resistant varnish as well as chalking. Another note is that wood siding is susceptible to pests and rodent infestations, so you’ll need to take a few precautions if you intend on working with it. If correctly looked after and maintained, wood siding can last between 10 and 100 years. It comes in clapboard, cladding, shingles as well as planks of wood.

Wood exterior cladding

Fairly affordable, wooden exterior cladding requires a lot of maintenance. In order to keep its flawless appearance, it has to be treated with flax oil every five years. If you apply stain to modify the colour of the wood, you will have to do touch-ups every year or every two years to keep it looking good. Wood cladding costs between $5 and $14 per square foot (including installation) and its lifespan lasts between 25 and 55 years.

Wood-fiber panels

Also known as Cannexel, wood fiber panels have been gaining more and more popularity in the past few years. Cheaper than wood, Cannexel offers a good imitation of that same look. Compared to pure wood, wood-fiber products hold the advantage of being more resistant to humidity and UV rays. With a lifespan of more than 25 years, this material offers the best value for money and is accessible to most budgets.However, if the Cannexel siding is not well installed, this can lead to numerous repairs and heavy maintenance, and the material's durability can be affected. Wood-fiber panels cost between $3.5 and $11.5 per square foot (including installation).

Fibrocement exterior panels

Photo: Gerecto

Fibrocement panels

Fibrocement panels give a modern style to houses and buildings. They work well to block parasites and extreme weather conditions. However, the Order of Architects of Quebec has quite a few reservations about this type of material, as they have been made aware of many cases where problems have appeared shortly after installation: cracks, discolouration, surfaces that tend to chip, etc…

Companies that produce this type of exterior siding claim that they have fixed these problems and that the products that are currently available on the market are much better. In general, this product should last approximately 40 years. However, before you choose this material, seek advice from the contractor with whom you are doing business. Fibrocement panels cost between $3.5 and $8.5 per square foot (including installation)

Brick exterior cladding

One of the classics that never goes out of style. Genuine brick is a beautiful material that is made from fired clay. It`s durable, versatile and comes in a variety of styles, textures and sizes. Brick is generally found on older homes, proving to be able to stand the test of time easily.  However, when constructing a newer home with brick, it’s often a veneer that is constructed on top of a home’s wood frame. It’s easy for water to find its way between the bricks, and therefore it’s necessary for a membrane to be installed between the brick veneer and the hours. This will prevent any form of degradation from occurring. When installed correctly, brick siding can last a lifetime, or the lifetime of your home at least.

Bricks can seem expensive at first glance but they last nearly a lifetime (more or less 75 years). In general, they don’t need a lot of maintenance. However, you’ll have to check to make sure that there aren’t any cracks that could affect its level of resistance against parasites and bad weather. In general, brick costs between $10.5 and $43 per square foot (including installation). 

If your exterior cladding is made of bricks and you believe that something is wrong, be sure that you don't have a case of bulging walls. To determine whether or not this is the case, check out Bulging walls- How to identify and solve the issue

Acrylic exterior cladding

Photo: reventementenduitacrylique.ca

Exterior Insulation Finishing System

According to Dave Barriault of Adex Systems, when it comes to exterior insulation finishing systems, you should opt for the second generation of Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems or "EIFS". Contrary to the first generation, the most recent version of EIFS that was launched towards of the end of the 90s includes components that provide continous insulation and water-tightness to the building's envelope. 

This type of siding material also ensures adequate drainage if water infiltrations occur behind the cladding. However, its installation process is not very easy as it includes several important elements and steps that must be taken into consideration. Be sure to choose a contractor that is both qualified and experienced with this type of material. Second generation EIFS cladding costs approximately 10$/square foot (including the materials and installation). 

Suretouch

Suretouch exterior cladding is in the same categories as brick and stone, but at a much lower price. A mold made of polystyrene is installed on the house, and argile bricks or concrete stones are set on top. This is a pressure-based installation. The mold is fixed to the house with stainless steel sheets and screws.

Having been available for approximately 10 years, this product is currently gaining in popularity. Easy to install, it is also known for its insulating properties (R13.5). Moreover, it offers good ventilation and is weatherproof (providing that the joints are well done). Since it is a relatively new material, information about its durability is hard to come about. However, so far, the feedback is very positive. The average price for materials only is 9 to 10$ per square foot. 

Choosing exterior siding that is durable and well-priced

In some cases, it’s better to invest a larger sum on the spot to get a product that will have a longer lifespan. In the long term, if the material requires little maintenance and offers good durability, this investment will become cost-effective.

Type of exterior siding Average price

Wood exterior siding: 

approx. $5 to $14/square foot

Cannexel exterior siding (including installation) :

approx. $3 to $11.50/square foot

Exterior insulation finishing system (including installation) :

approx. $10/ square foot

Vinyl exterior siding :

approx. $2 to $7/square foot

Aluminum siding :

approx. $4 to $10/square foot

Fibrocement panels :

approx. $3.50 to $8.50/square foot

Brick exterior siding :

approx. $10.50 to $45/square foot

Suretouch exterior cladding (materials only): 

approx. $9 to $10/square foot

To find out about the average prices of different home renovation projects, check out our Home renovation price guide. 

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