Do a quick Google search and you’ll find lots of calculators that will let you estimate the cost of installing or replacing the vinyl siding on your home. The formulas are based on square footage, number of floors and sometimes “house difficulty”, a rather abstract term that a homeowner may not know quite what to do with.
You’ll also find plenty of “average siding costs” that can range wildly. If you’re looking to budget for your home improvement project, not only can the task of pricing out vinyl siding be frustrating, but it can also end up fruitless. The problem isn’t that it’s difficult to calculate a cost – the problem is that it’s difficult to calculate a cost without the right information.
When it comes to the cost of vinyl siding, more than the square footage of your house comes into play. Here are a few things that can affect cost so you’ll know what to ask your contractor and be able to budget more effectively.
What’s On Your House Right Now?
Depending on the type of siding currently on your home, you may need additional labor and even materials. If your home can be “sided over” then you can save on removal costs. Wood siding can be sided over with foam insulation and then vinyl, which can reduce cost.
If you’re replacing vinyl with vinyl, however, the old vinyl will need to be re moved before the new can be installed.
But even removal costs can vary. It requires less labor, and consequently will cost you less, to remove existing vinyl siding than, for example, stucco, which can be difficult and time consuming to remove. Plus, going from siding to siding is an easier task than going from stucco to siding, which will require the surface to be evened out substantially before vinyl can be laid over it.
Knowing the labor and time involved in removing existing siding, if necessary, and the prep work required to get your home’s exterior surface ready for its new vinyl look will help you get a better handle on your budget.
What’s Under The Siding?
Perhaps the most difficult cost to factor in is the condition of what’s under your siding. It’s probably been a long time since you noticed, but that doesn’t mean water hasn’t snuck under there and caused rot or damage. It’s not always obvious from leaks in the house, either, so you probably won’t know whether you need remediation until after the existing siding is removed.
Water damage can require carpentry work, which leads to more materials and labor. Plus, if the substrate material is damaged, that may need to be replaced, too. Since it’s impossible to know what’s under the siding until you look, you may want to budget a little extra just in case you find one of life’s myriad vexing surprises.
What Upgrades Do You Want?
The siding itself is only part of the cost. If you really want to add a touch of style and class, you’ll likely choose any number of complementary pieces, from specialty molding around windows and doors to fascia, soffits, specialty corners and even upgrades to the vinyl itself.
The same way crown molding adds character and dimension to the inside of your home, it can also be used on the outside, too. All these bells and whistles can make your home look beautiful and unique, so if you want to express your individual style in the exterior look of your home, be sure to include them in your budget for a more realistic estimate.
There are different grades of vinyl, too. Standard overlapping vinyl can be upgraded to interlocking vinyl shake for the more natural cedar shake likeness that many homeowners desire.
Once you start to look at your project from these angles, you can begin to understand how calculator and quick estimates can only ballpark it at best. But now that you have a better idea of what affects the cost of vinyl siding you’ll be better prepared to budget and to know what to look for in your contractor’s estimate.
If you’re thinking of replacing your current siding with vinyl or vinyl shake, let us know. We’ll visit your home, talk with you about what you want and give you a free estimate so you can budget for the home improvement project you’ve been dreaming of.