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A Comparison Guide to the Cheapest Siding Options

Written by Irena Martincevic

Published on March 15, 2024


A Comparison Guide to the Cheapest Siding Options

We compare the cheapest siding material options to install so you can make an informed decision for your home.

To provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information, we consult a number of sources when producing each article, including licensed contractors and industry experts.

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In this guide to the cheapest siding options, we take a look at the differences between the materials that cost the least. Among the most affordable siding materials, there are various characteristics that you need to consider, such as durability, energy efficiency, damage resistance, and ease of maintenance. 

Siding installation can be costly and is one of the most important aspects to consider. Siding is also a major factor in the overall aesthetic of your home, having a big impact on curb appeal and home value. Take a look and see which siding material gives you the best bang for your buck so you can make the best-informed decision. 

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The Cheapest Siding Options

Fiber cement

The cheapest siding material option to install is fiber cement. It costs roughly between $3 and $6 per square foot, which works out to be around $11,700 for your average 2,500 sq. ft. of exterior siding. This is based on a 2,000 sq. ft. home. 

Engineered wood

Engineered wood is a cheap siding alternative to natural wood siding while maintaining a similar aesthetic. You can expect to pay an average of between $4 and $7 per square foot, working out to be approximately $14,300 for a typical U.S. home. 


One of the most popular siding options in the U.S. is vinyl siding. Ever so slightly pricier than fiber cement and engineered wood at $5 to $8 per square foot, it remains one of the cheapest siding options available. This averages out to be around $16,900 in total to side a whole home. 


Another cheap siding option is aluminum. The most affordable metal siding option available, aluminum is likely to set you back about $6 to $10 per square foot on average, working out as $20,800 for an average home. While slightly less affordable than some other options, it is less costly when compared to steel siding which averages roughly $28,600. 

Ease of Maintenance

Vinyl siding is known for its low maintenance requirements. It typically only needs occasional cleaning with soap and water to remove dirt and mold.

Aluminum siding is also low maintenance. It can be cleaned with soap and water to remove dirt and grime. It may require routine paint jobs to maintain its good looks.

Fiber cement siding requires relatively low maintenance. It typically needs periodic cleaning to remove dirt and debris but does not require frequent painting or sealing.

Engineered wood siding requires moderate maintenance. It needs to be regularly inspected for signs of damage, such as rot or warping. It may require periodic painting or staining to maintain its appearance and protect against moisture.

Durability and Damage Resistance

Engineered wood is one of the most durable siding materials. With proper maintenance, it can last up to 50 years, offering homeowners a durable and cost-effective alternative to natural wood which has a lifespan between 20 to 30 years. Engineered wood siding is highly resistant to various weather damage, including water and hail damage, as well as warping, pests, mold, mildew, and fungal growth. One drawback of engineered wood siding is that any cracks or damage can allow moisture to penetrate.

Fiber cement is another highly durable siding material. Made from a blend of cement, sand, and plant fibers, fiber cement siding is tough and can handle heat and harsh weather. If taken good care of, it can last up to 50 years also, giving homeowners long-lasting protection and peace of mind. Fiber cement siding offers resistance to fire and pests due to its inorganic composition.

While generally needing replacement after 30 years, aluminum siding can last up to 40 years with proper maintenance. Aluminum siding provides benefits like fire and insect resistance at a lower cost compared to steel. Unlike steel, aluminum is not as strong, making it more prone to dents from impacts, but it has a superior resistance to rust

Vinyl is fairly durable, but it only lasts about 20 years. It also has pretty low impact resistance and can crack, melt, and sometimes buckle. Vinyl siding is pest-resistant and highly fire-resistant, however. It won't ignite unless it's exposed to very high temperatures, around 750 degrees Fahrenheit. While it won't catch fire easily, it can melt if exposed to such intense heat or the reflection of sunlight

Energy Efficiency of the Cheapest Siding Options

Budget-friendly siding options may not offer optimal energy efficiency and often require additional insulation to improve their performance.

Engineered wood siding can be more energy efficient than natural wood because it often incorporates insulation or other materials that improve its thermal performance. 

When properly insulated, both vinyl siding and fiber cement siding can offer excellent energy efficiency. While fiber cement siding lacks significant insulation properties on its own, pairing it with specific insulation designed for fiber cement can improve its energy efficiency. This option typically costs around $2 to $3 per square foot. 

While vinyl siding doesn't provide insulation benefits by itself, opting for insulated vinyl siding with a thicker construction can significantly improve insulation and energy savings for your home, despite being pricier than basic vinyl siding.

When properly installed with insulation, aluminum siding can act as a radiant barrier, reflecting solar heat away from the home. This helps to maintain a more stable indoor temperature, reducing the workload on heating and cooling systems and potentially lowering energy bills.

Similar: Residential Energy Efficiency Report 2023

Consult with a pro when choosing siding material

Versatility of the Cheapest Siding Options

In terms of versatility, vinyl and engineered wood offer the widest range of options. Vinyl siding offers a wide range of colors, textures, and profiles, allowing offering different aesthetic choices from classic to contemporary. Additionally, manufacturers often provide innovative design features like simulated wood grains or stone textures.

Engineered wood siding mimics the natural beauty of wood and comes in various styles such as lap siding, shingles, and panels, providing homeowners with options to achieve their desired look easily.

Aluminum siding comes in various profiles, finishes, and colors. Aluminum siding can be easily painted in a wide range of colors. It is not recommended to paint aluminum in a darker color than it was originally.

Fiber cement siding comes in various styles like lap siding, vertical panels, shingles, and architectural panels. It can replicate the look of wood, stone, or other natural materials while maintaining the advantages of a composite material. The decorative fiber cement board offers easy customization, allowing designers and homeowners to paint, stain, or even engrave it.

Interactive Tool: Best House And Roof Color Combinations

Other Considerations

Environmental impact

Fiber cement is considered environmentally friendly due to its natural composition and long lifespan. There are some concerns about the use of adhesives and chemicals in the manufacturing process of engineered wood. Vinyl siding, made from PVC, has environmental challenges due to its production and disposal, including concerns about toxic emissions and landfill waste. Aluminum siding, while recyclable, requires significant energy for production and may have a higher carbon footprint than other cheap siding material options.


Siding warranties vary among products and brands. While many manufacturers provide a standard fifty-year warranty, specific materials have differing coverage periods. Vinyl siding typically offers a 30-year warranty, while fiber cement warranties range from 30 to 50 years. Aluminum and engineered wood siding commonly come with warranties lasting 40 to 50 years. Some brands offer lifetime coverage.

Written by

Irena Martincevic Industry analyst

Irena is an industry analyst at Fixr.com. She analyzes and looks for visual ways to simplify data. She has been researching and writing about personal finance since 2018. At Fixr.com, she is constantly looking to give homeowners the best advice on how to invest in their homes.