How Much Siding Do I Need?

By Amanda Lutz Updated May 13, 2024

Properly measuring your home for siding can prevent overspending and help you avoid unexpected shortages during installation. In this guide, we’ll review how to measure your exterior walls, detail a step-by-step siding installation process, explain how to reduce costs, and more.


What Is Siding?

Siding is an exterior material installed on the walls of a house. It acts as a protective barrier against rain, wind, and snow. It shields the structure of a house from moisture infiltration, preventing damage and decay. Siding also prevents termites, carpenter ants, wasps, rodents, woodpeckers, and other critters from creating holes, eating through wood structures, and ruining the support beams of your home.

Additionally, quality siding can provide extra insulation to your home. It keeps warm air from escaping during the winter and keeps air-conditioned air inside during the summer, leading to lower utility bills and a reduction in your carbon footprint. If your house faces a busy street, siding can also decrease noise from traffic, aircraft sounds, or loud landscaping equipment.

Finally, siding improves the overall appeal of your home and can make a great first impression on potential buyers. According to Experian, the return on investment (ROI) of siding can be between 67.2% and 91.4%.


Siding Measurements

To determine how much siding you’ll need for your home, you have to understand its measurement units. Home improvement stores don’t usually sell siding by square feet but by its common siding measurements: “boxes” and “squares.”

What Is a “Box” of Siding?

A “box” of siding refers to the packaging unit in which siding materials are usually sold. A box of siding contains a specific quantity of siding pieces that cover a certain area on a house’s exterior walls. A standard box of siding may cover one square of exterior wall space. However, the total number of pieces in a box can vary depending on the dimensions and coverage area of each piece.

If you have a box of siding that contains 20 siding pieces, with each covering 5 square feet of wall space, then the total coverage area of the box would be 100 square feet (which corresponds to one square of siding). If your project requires covering 500 square feet of walls, then you would need five boxes of siding to complete the job.

On average, one box of vinyl siding contains between 14 and 24 pieces. A box of fiber cement siding contains around 18 or 20 pieces.

What Is a “Square” of Siding?

One square of siding is equivalent to 100 square feet of material coverage on a house’s exterior walls. For example, if your home’s exterior wall is 10 feet long by 10 feet wide, the total area of this wall is 100 square feet. From this measurement, you’ll need one “square” of siding to cover the wall. If your house has a total wall surface area of 1,500 square feet, you would need to purchase 15 squares of siding.


What Are the Different Types of Siding?

There are several types of house siding. Below are the most common types that homeowners prefer.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin. This material’s popularity stems from its versatility, affordability, and low maintenance requirements. It’s the most common siding choice among homeowners.

Benefits

Cost-effective: Compared to other siding materials, such as wood or fiber cement, vinyl siding is the most affordable option. It can save homeowners between $1,000 and $10,000* per project.

Durable: Vinyl is durable and highly resistant to rot, moisture, and insect damage. Since it can withstand harsh weather conditions, this material is suitable for a variety of climates. When installed and maintained properly, vinyl siding can last around 20 to 40 years without major repair issues.

Provides aesthetic appeal: Vinyl siding comes in a wide range of colors, textures, and styles. It can also mimic the appearance of wood and stone for a fraction of their cost.

Requires low maintenance: You can easily clean vinyl siding with soap and water. It doesn’t need to be painted regularly, but you can always paint vinyl siding for aesthetic purposes.

Drawbacks

Associated with environmental concerns: The production and disposal of vinyl siding raise environmental concerns due to its nonbiodegradable nature.

Has limited repair options: If damaged by weather or physical impact, vinyl siding is challenging to repair and may require a replacement.

Prone to fading: Vinyl siding, especially dark-colored pieces, may fade due to exposure to sunlight. If you live in a sunny region, you may have to invest in higher-quality fade-resistant siding.

Wood Siding

Wood siding is one of the oldest siding options available. Its timeless aesthetic, coupled with its durability, makes it a popular choice for homeowners.

Benefits

Aesthetic: Wood siding has a natural beauty that adds warmth, character, and charm to any property. It’s usually made from cedar or pine, which is available in different textures and colors.

Environmentally sustainable: Wood siding is renewable and biodegradable, and sustainably sourced wood options are available to further reduce environmental impact.

Has insulation properties: Due to special pockets in its cellular structure, wood siding offers natural insulation properties that help regulate indoor temperatures and reduce energy costs.

Versatile: Wood siding comes in various species, grades, and profiles. It can be stained, painted, or left untreated for a rustic appearance.

Drawbacks

Costs more than other siding materials: Wood is usually more expensive than other siding materials such as metal, brick, and aluminum. Installing wood siding on an average-size home costs about $12,500 but can range between $7,000 and $23,000.

Prone to damage: Wood siding is susceptible to damage from pests, moisture, mold, and weather exposure. Without the proper maintenance, your wood siding can warp, crack, or rot.

Requires regular maintenance: Wood siding requires regular maintenance to protect it from decay and costly repairs. Some common maintenance tasks include painting, staining, and sealing.

*All cost data in this article is via Angi.


Measuring Your Home for Siding

Measuring your home for siding is a do-it-yourself (DIY) project that can help you determine how much to spend on materials. Below is a step-by-step guide to measure for siding.

1. Take Basic Measurements

Measure the length and height of each exterior wall of your home using a tape measure. Segment the walls into rectangular or square sections for easier calculation.

2. Calculate the Area

Multiply the length by the height of each section to determine the area in square feet. For walls with irregular shapes, divide them into smaller, more manageable sections, and calculate the area of each section separately. Add the square footage of all measured wall sections to obtain the total square footage of your home’s walls. You can also use an online siding calculator to help you with estimates.

3. Make the Conversion

Convert the square footage into squares to help you determine how much siding to purchase. If you’re buying siding in boxes, ask the retailer how much space the siding in each box should cover.

If your home has a total exterior wall area of 2,000 square feet and one square of siding covers 100 square feet, then you’ll need 20 squares to cover all walls. If each box of siding covers 250 square feet, then you would need eight boxes of siding to complete the project.

Don’t forget to factor in additional siding to accommodate waste, cuts, or future repairs. Consider purchasing 10% to 20% extra siding to account for these situations.


Siding Costs

The average cost of installing new siding is around $11,481, and the majority of projects cost between $5,568 and $17,572 for materials and installation. Some other factors that may affect the cost of your siding project include the coverage area, home shape, labor costs, materials and supplies, and the siding material you choose.

Coverage Area

The size of your home and total square footage of your exterior walls will affect the amount of siding material required. For example, living in a two-story home can increase the project cost by 15% to 30%. This increase stems from the need to access the second level, which requires additional equipment and labor.

Home Shape

It’s easier and less costly to install siding on simple rectangular walls than on an intricately designed house with irregularly shaped walls. Adding designs to your siding can also affect the cost.

Labor Costs

Labor costs for siding installation can vary based on contractor expertise, market demand, your project timeline, and where you live. On average, installing siding costs around $1–$4 per square foot. Your contractor may also charge by the hour, with the average hourly rate being between $40 and $75.

Materials and Supplies

In addition to purchasing siding panels, you’ll likely need to buy other materials and supplies like caulking, fasteners, flashing, insulation, and paint. Depending on your location and the size of the project, you may also need to obtain a building permit. These materials can increase the overall cost of your project.

Siding Material

The type of material you choose will affect the entire project’s price. The cost of vinyl siding is less than the cost of wood siding, while fiber cement siding can cost more than both wood and vinyl.

The average cost of a fiber cement siding installation project is $14,791. Meanwhile, aluminum siding can cost you around $11,750.

How to Save on Siding Costs

You can decrease the costs of siding installation without opting for lower-quality materials by following these tips:


Our Recommendation

The amount of siding you need depends on the size and shape of your house. Measure your property carefully to avoid overspending on materials or facing shortages during installation. Account for the entire surface area of each wall and add 10% to 20% more siding for installation errors.


How Much Siding Do I Need FAQ

How many squares of siding do I need for a 2,000-square-foot house?

For a 2,000-square-foot house, you need 20 squares of siding. Each square covers 100 square feet of your home.

How much area does a box of siding cover?

Since all boxes of siding are different, check with the supplier to find out how much each box can cover. One box usually covers between one and two squares of siding. One square is 100 square feet.

What is the most cost-effective siding material?

Vinyl is the most cost-effective siding material. It’s durable, long-lasting, and low maintenance. It also costs less than other popular vinyl options like wood or fiber cement siding.