What is the Best House Siding Material for a Great Return on Investment?

If you’ve ever bought a house the chances are you liked it from the very first moment you saw it from the outside. Of course, the fact that it worked on the inside too was what convinced you for sure, but it remains true that if you want to add value to your home then exterior appearances and curb appeal do matter.

When it comes to exteriors, different types of house siding – the material that is used to clad the structure of the building – can really define the character of the home. Certain house siding options will enhance a more traditional look, whilst others can help a fairly standard contemporary home look positively cutting edge. Get the look just right and you’ll have a home that is undeniably desirable.

So, given how important house siding is to creating the look of your home, it’s no wonder that homeowners, remodelers and contractors looking to maximize their investment want to ensure that the house siding option they choose is going to offer them the best value for their money.

siding investment intro

Now that there are so many different house siding types, with different styles and siding materials, including many different kinds of wood, vinyl, fiber cement, stone veneer and more, it is a bit of a minefield trying to decide which one is the best to choose especially if you are considering replacing old siding in preparation for resale. So, let’s have a look at some of the top options and figure out how to add value to your home with house siding .


According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value report, there are 4 types of house siding that will give the best return on your investment (ROI) – let’s look at each of these home siding options in more detail.


Queen Anne – Vinyl Siding
Queen Anne – Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is a made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) mixed with several different chemicals to add color, durability, flexibility and resistance. Modern technology means that you can now get numerous vinyl siding colors in various shape profiles, including both natural toned colors as well as brighter, bolder hues. Better technology also means that modern vinyl siding doesn’t fade quickly and its wood grain products are more authentic; further advances mean that vinyl is less likely to crack, chip or need touch-up painting. Hardly surprising then that vinyl siding has been the most popular choice in the US for many years.

Compared to other sidings, the $12,013 national average project cost for vinyl siding replacement is relatively affordable and it provides an 80.7% ROI, slightly behind that of fiber cement. A good rule of thumb would be to choose the best vinyl siding, in terms of quality and style, you can afford. Make sure that it is at least 0.40 inches thick, that it has a good layer of UV sunlight filter agent in it (titanium oxide is the most common one you’ll see), and that your vinyl siding has a good warranty that will be attractive to future buyers and therefore add value to your home.


Another option highlighted by the Cost vs. Value report is Foam-backed Vinyl (also known as insulated vinyl siding). This type of vinyl siding has an added layer of insulation integrated into each panel. The major advantage, of course, is better insulation to your home – so you’re likely to gain in savings to your energy bill; and a secondary advantage is that foam backed vinyl siding will also help with the soundproofing in your home – especially useful if you live in a busy street, or have noisy neighbors!

However, if you are considering replacing your insulated vinyl siding specifically for resale then the investment does not compute it terms of return value. The insulated vinyl siding replacement cost is a fair bit more expensive than standard vinyl – the national average project cost is $15,184 – and the ROI is 77.6%. So, a lower overall return for a higher price than with regular vinyl siding. If you’re set on vinyl, it may, therefore be worth researching the different insulation options for standard vinyl that might come at a lower cost than the foam-backed vinyl.


Zaguan House – Fiber cement
Zaguan House – Fiber cement

Fiber cement siding is a compound consisting of water, wood pulp, fly ash or silica sand, and Portland cement. It has had a recent surge in popularity in the construction market, being marketed as a great house siding option for every home, offering everything a homeowner, developer or architect is looking for: an attractive product that is durable, has low maintenance and relatively affordable prices.

Because of the nature of cement fiber siding it can be easily adapted to both traditional and contemporary housing, mimicking painted wood clapboard, shingles, brick or even natural stone panels. You can paint fiber cement, but most manufacturers offer large ranges of pre-finished fiber cement siding. Here the color and UV protection is added during the manufacturing process which means it runs right through the entire siding panel, which means it is very fade resistant.

At $14,014 for the average siding remodel, fiber cement siding is a little more expensive than standard vinyl, but because of its perceived inherent advantages it has a slightly better replacement ROI of 83.4%.


Surprisingly, for us anyway, it would appear that manufactured stone veneer is the best house siding material to invest in if you’re looking for both the lowest siding cost and the best ROI! With a huge ROI of 92.2% and a national average cost of just $7,150, if you love the stone look, then just go for it!

Generally speaking stone veneer siding is made from a combination of Portland cement, stone aggregate and mineral oxide colors that go through the whole veneer. On the whole manufactured stone veneers don’t fade that quickly, and whilst they are not as strong as actual stone walls, well constructed stone veneer sidings are pretty durable.

And clearly, perhaps because of the solid, permanent feel that stone gives, even as a stone veneer, this is a siding material that is very desirable and truly holds its value. The advantage of a manufactured stone veneer, over the real thing, is of course that it is less costly, easier to apply and available in lots of different looks and finishes.


Mission – Stucco

Of course the 4 types of house siding mentioned above are not the only kids on the block; there are also brick, stucco and wood home siding options to consider, as well as alternative siding materials like aluminum and newer materials coming to the market such as the pultruded fiberglass material used in the APEX siding system. And what the Remodeling Cost vs. Value report doesn’t do is discuss the fact that different regions in America will have particular house siding options that are more popular than in other regions.

For example, according to the Census Bureau report of October 2014, 42% of new homes in the South were clad in brick; whilst in the same report, 58% of new houses in the West were finished in stucco; and of course in certain areas, wood siding is the preference, such is the case for the Heritage Sands area of Cape Cod where architectural heritage is of great importance to the local community.

So, in terms of predicting what will be the best siding for your home in terms of investment, it as always worth first looking into the local architectural vernacular: it’s likely to be rather counterproductive to cover your Sante Fe pueblo revival with vinyl clapboard!

Architectural vernacular also applies to an even smaller geographical area: your actual street. Have a good look around your block to see what other homeowners have used for their siding. If every other home on your street has stone veneer siding and you opt for cement fiber shingles, your home might look very out of place – in an unattractively, bad way that may affect its sale-ability and jeopardize your investment!


Oakton – Manufactured Stone Veneer
Oakton – Manufactured Stone Veneer

Of course, there is a fair bit more that goes into choosing the best siding for houses than just the aesthetic and the ROI.

You will also need to consider which house siding will best suit your local climate and environment. If your area is prone to termites, then perhaps wood isn’t the best choice for siding; if you live somewhere where rain and flooring are major occurrences then be sure that your siding material has good water resistance and is installed with the right kind of rainscreen; if you live on the coast, sea wind and spray can damage your home over time – so look into a house siding option that is the most durable.

Finally, if you are a very experienced DIYer you may feel that you could tackle a DIY siding project yourself. But, for most people, replacing siding is a major renovation job that is best left to professionals. As with all such projects our final advice would be to get several quotes and then choose the contractor that has a ton of experience and good references!

Further reading:

Aluminium Vs Vinyl Siding

House Siding Ideas and Photos

Fiber Cement Vs Vinyl Siding

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