2020 Vinyl Siding Cost, Pros & Cons, and ROI

PVC is widely understood as a heavy duty plastic-based material. The “V” in the middle of the acronym stands for Vinyl, which in the home siding market, represents the #1 selling material for most of the US. The PVC used for siding benefits from additives that resist color fading, and increase flexibility while not sacrificing durability.

For residential siding, vinyl is quite versatile. The horizontal plank (bevel) style is the most common cladding option for vinyl, but there are many more ways it is utilized as a cladding material for homes and buildings. On the east coast, its primary competition comes from wood and fiber cement, while stucco dominates the western part of the US.


Because R-Value is a key factor when considering any siding material, it is important to note that vinyl siding takes this into consideration and that this skews its pricing data.

Generally, costs for vinyl are based on material thickness, with most residential products ranging from .040 to .046 inches thick, or about 1/16th of an inch. At that level of thickness, the R-value is unsurprisingly low.

However, vinyl comes in one of two primary variations: hollow-back and insulated, or foam-back. The foam-back provides at least 3 times (or more) the R-value, while increasing the cost by at most 3 times, or usually doubling it.

In terms of costs, vinyl siding averages between $5.50 and $12.50 per sq. ft. installed. This breaks down to $5.50 to $8.50 on average per sq. ft. for hollow-back and $7.50 to $12.50 per sq. ft. for foam-back and/or deluxe vinyl siding.

On average, hollow-back vinyl siding installation results in a $11,000 to $17,000 overall cost for a typical two bedroom sized home in America. Foam back averages between $15,000 to $25,000 for a similar property.

While “average” is a bit vague, we’ll break the costs down further (next section) and explain the factors that impact costs (2 sections below).

Pricing Info – Part 2

As noted above, usually when you select vinyl siding for your home, you are selecting thickness and whether it is insulated material or not. These aren’t your only options, but they contribute to the costs more than other options.

The style type is another key factor – whether panels are vertical or horizontal and whether making use of shingle or split-log style. Often the nuances within a particular style type, along with contractor experience and product quality are the additional primary factors that impact costs.

To hopefully simplify things, let’s go with 2 examples of horizontal panels and what a job may entail to help understand the costing information more in depth:

Hollow-back Vinyl Siding: 2,000 sq. ft. x $5.50 = $11,000 (includes primary materials, house-wrap, j-channels, supplies, and warrantied labor)
Color Matching Existing Exterior Features: (i.e. outlet covers, wall vents, etc.) = $250
Updated Window Trim: $2,000
(Optional) Detached Garage Update: (with all the above material considerations) x 700 sq.ft. = additional $3,000
Building Permit: $250

Total Project 1 Cost = $13,500 / $16,500

Foam-back Vinyl Siding: 2,000 sq. ft. x $7.50 = $15,000 (Including all the materials and installation)
Removal of previous siding: $1,400
Garbage Rental / Disposal Charge: $600
Updated Window Trim: $2,000
(Optional) Detached Garage Update: (with all the above material considerations) x 700 sq. ft = additional $4,000
Building Permit: $250

Total Project 2 Cost = $19,250 / $23,250

Factors Impacting Overall Costs

In our examples above, you’ll see the same size house (and detached garage) with similar charges and variation or options for additional charges. Let’s review those and other factors that impact costs.

The primary factor would be size and/or layout of where the material will be installed. This will result in the highest cost, and is what a contractor will be basing the majority of their labor costs on.

Usually residential homes have surface areas that are easily accessible, rectangular and match the experience of previous jobs. But often enough, each house has its own unique nooks and crannies that may pose slight issues to a contractor that do impact labor charges. — Usually not dramatically, because the size is small in such places, but it is less accessible and means the pacing of the overall job has to be adjusted for those unique layouts.

The exact type of vinyl siding is the next significant factor impact cost. On average foam-back doubles the cost of vinyl siding. Yet, not always. Higher quality siding with thicker insulation backing will go over the high end average of $9.50 per sq. ft. and probably come in around $11.50 per sq. ft. installed.

The profile or how panels, or planks, are laid out exactly is one factor, thickness of the vinyl siding is another factor, the texture of the surface yet another factor. The thickness can go up to .052, which is uncommon but is sold on the market, and is of course the most expensive.

Labor costs are usually fairly standard to a region, but can vary by experience, amount of crew members on the site, and whether they are installing a specific brand that carries warranties and such.

Installing vinyl siding isn’t complex and is a job a handy person type could accomplish, though likely much less efficiently or with less care due to lack of experience.

Waste of materials is generally accounted for by professional contractors and kept at a minimum, whereas the inexperienced installer is probably not accounting for this in their estimate and may way underestimate how much that will actually be.

Replacing or updating certain house features such as soffits and window trim is usually a strong consideration when doing a siding job. Often when getting estimates, the price for these updates will be itemized separately.

As a homeowner, make sure you ask if that is not included and ask any questions you may have about what such updates will mean for you and your home.

In general, if your home’s old exterior is showing wear and tear, chances are the window trims do as well. So keeping that on a newly sided home will have the trim stick out like a sore thumb.

Likewise, in our example is the detached garage optional cost. If your house has no buildings apart from the home and/or your garage is attached, then this doesn’t apply as the siding cost at top of the list would account for all square footage of installation. But keep in mind, if there is such a structure, it too may be getting all the materials (minus house wrap perhaps) that go into overall project cost.

Removal of existing siding is sometimes options but usually a cost factor that needs to be considered. The removal charges plus disposal can add up, but is likely far better done by professional contractor who has the ability to do this quickly and with care that a non-contractor does not. Clean-up alone from such a task is worth it.


Incidentally, color adds zero to the cost and contractors will be able to offer really any color you can imagine but typically have 7 to 35 color options to select from. If you go outside of those there may be additional charge for custom ordering.

The rest of the items are necessary parts of the job, but low on cost. It’s hard to have a contractor put siding on your house without a building permit, or nails and the additional construction materials. — All of these added together amount to under 50 cents per sq. ft., but an item such as building permit isn’t based on square feet as much as it is your local municipality.

The Good, The Bad and The Oh So Pretty

The Good: Vinyl Siding is a budget friendly way to achieve durable, long lasting color on your home. Colors fade evenly and the material holds up well in weather and against insects. The ROI factor is good (at about 77% of value you put in).

The Bad: Because of the association with plastic, vinyl siding may not be to your liking, though it’s really challenging to tell the difference between vinyl siding and say fiber cement or wood from the curbside. There’s also a concern that vinyl melts or warps when exposed to extreme heat, i.e. too much sun. This can and does happen, but is very rare.

The Oh So Pretty: Going with foam-backed vinyl siding provides top notch R-Value in terms of residential home cladding. Only natural stone, which is the most expensive siding option rivals it.

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