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What Is the Cheapest Exterior Finish on a House?

Submitted by Jenny Hull on

No home building project is finished until the exterior finishing process is completed. Exterior finishes on houses provide many benefits beyond the home’s aesthetic properties, including protecting the home—its materials and its occupants—against the forces of nature.  

The most popular exterior finishes include stucco, vinyl siding, fiber cement siding, and brick/brick veneer, according to a National Association of Home Builders report. The reasons for these materials’ popularity vary, but generally relate to the cost, durability, and aesthetics of these materials.

In this blog, we’re going to look specifically at the costs of these materials.

Blue house with composite cladding

What Is the Least Expensive Siding Material?

According to HomeAdvisor, the cost for the most popular exterior finishing materials ranges from inexpensive options like siding up to the most premium options with real stone masonry.

Generally, aluminum, wood, and vinyl siding cost the least, so it’s no wonder they’re popular among builders and contractors, especially those motivated to find the cheapest siding per square foot.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace Siding on a 2000 Sq Ft House?

When estimating total project costs, the cost of exterior finishing materials is just one element that you’ll have to account for. It’s also important to note that the cheapest exterior wall material isn’t necessarily the best option. When discussing exterior finishing materials in search of the best house siding for the money, it’s also important to consider factors such as their:

  • Installation: The installation cost ranges listed on Home Advisor give a good idea of what to expect, but these will often vary depending on location and installation difficulty, among other factors.
  • Durability: The most durable exterior siding materials include engineered wood, fiber cement, steel, brick, and stucco.
  • Maintenance: In many cases, using cheaper and less durable materials might save on materials and even installation costs, but these materials also require more maintenance to upkeep.

No two projects are the same, so having these conversations with clients is highly recommended!

How Can I Extend the Life of an Exterior Finish?

Once they’ve settled on an exterior finish, the last thing a client wants is to have to pay for costly repair or replacement, especially due to preventable causes. Suddenly, an affordable solution becomes much less practical as these costs add up.

Take stucco, for example, which can require repair or replacement due to factors such as:

  • Lack of embedment
  • Failure to caulk the trims at the time of installation
  • Inconsistent furring depth across the base metal
  • Irregular fastener spacing
  • Improper incorporation of control joints
  • Absence of drainage and drying functions

ClarkDietrich provides solutions for extending the life of exterior finishing applications through our Easy Embedment System™ (EES) and other innovative products. Our EES lathing system enables expert stucco installation without requiring a crew of expert specialists. This works to increase the life span of the finish, controlling project costs and increasing the overall ROI. Learn more about EES and our other systems today.