A Cedar Siding Buying Guide
Costs, Maintenance and Resale Value
Many people prefer the look of natural wood siding to synthetic products such as vinyl or composite, and cedar is one of the most popular species of wood for siding. Cedar siding adds beauty, character and charm to your home.
Cedar is a premium siding material, so it tends to be more expensive than synthetic materials. Cedar siding is a good insulator, a good sound barrier and it naturally repels insects, unlike other species of wood. However, cedar siding does require significant upkeep, including regular staining or sealing.
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Cost of Cedar Siding
The price of cedar siding is tough to estimate because it depends on so many factors, including the brand and quality of the siding, the size and layout of your home, the time of year, local labor rates and more. Location has a lot to do with determining price - costs vary tremendously from one region to the next.
That being said, the cedar siding usually costs anywhere from $5 to $10 per square foot installed, or $500 to $1,000 per square, which equals 100 square feet. Most siding is sold by the square, so you may have to purchase more than you need. Plank-style siding with a knotty grade will fall on the lower end of the price range above; premium-grade shingles or shakes will fall on the high end.
Calculating the number of square feet you need to cover the house is a complicated process, but you can use this guide to get a rough idea. If you have 1,500 square feet of surface to be covered, budget anywhere from $7,500 to $15,000. With 2,500 square feet to cover, the cost ranges from $12,500 to $25,000.
Although cedar is more expensive than vinyl or aluminum siding, its insulating qualities will cut your energy bills. Cedar also tends to last longer than vinyl or aluminum, and it often boosts your home’s resale value. So when you’re considering cost, think of the total cost of ownership, not just upfront expenses.
Types of Cedar Siding
There are two grades of cedar siding: clear grade, which has very few imperfections, and knotty grade, which has larger and more frequent knots in the wood. Clear grade results in a more upscale look; knotty is more rustic.
Cedar siding is available is shingles, shakes or planks. Shingles are more upscale in appearance, while shakes are more rustic. Planks are available in styles such as bevel, tongue & groove (both horizontal) or board & batten (vertical). Western Red Cedar is typically used to make cedar siding, but less often you’ll find yellow or white cedar.
The surface of cedar siding can be smooth or rough, and the wood can be pretreated or not. Left untreated, cedar will fade into a grayish color over time. Some people like this rustic look, while others do not.
Maintenance and Resale Value
Cedar siding most certainly requires maintenance - much more so than synthetic siding such as vinyl or wood composite. Moisture is very damaging to cedar, so the siding needs to be re-stained or sealed every few years. Prior to staining, the siding should be cleaned with a gentle pressure washer to remove dirt. Properly maintained, however, cedar siding can last for decades.
In some areas of the country, cedar siding is considered very high-end and desirable. In other parts, it is unpopular with homebuyers because of the maintenance requirements. Ask a local real estate agent about trends in your area before deciding on cedar. Geography should play a major role in the decision.