Summary of Key Points
- Getting new siding for your Calgary house keeps it looking good and protects it from the elements—but the costs involved with different siding types vary.
- Metal, stone, brick, and stucco aren’t the most practical materials for Calgary’s snow, hail, and seasonal temperature shifts—but vinyl, wood (if properly treated), and Hardie board can all be viable options.
- Vinyl is the most affordable at $5-$11 per square foot, while wood costs more at $6-$17 per square foot and Hardie board can go from $5-$25 per square foot. However, the longevity and durability of Hardie board siding make it the best long-term investment.
Residential siding needs to look good, but it also needs to be tough and last a long time. Alberta’s potential for extreme weather and seasonal temperature shifts can wreak havoc on exteriors made from lesser stuff, so you’ll want to choose carefully when investing in new siding for your home.
At Everest Roofing & Siding, we’ve spent years providing siding repairs and replacements for Calgary homes—so we know all about the different materials involved and what makes the best choice for Albertans. Read on to find out about the pros, cons, and costs of different siding types.
What Types of Siding Are Best for Calgary?
Siding can be made from a wide variety of different materials, including metal, brick, stone, and stucco—but those options aren’t the best for Alberta homes. Metal warps and stucco cracks as temperatures change in freeze-thaw cycles, while brick and stone allow moisture from spring rains or melting snow to get in between sections and potentially cause water damage to your home.
So instead of focusing on those options, we’ll take a look at three materials frequently used for siding in Calgary: vinyl, wood, and hardie board. Here’s how each one fares in the province’s tough climate.
Vinyl is among the most popular materials for home exteriors in Alberta, since it tends to be affordable and is relatively easy to install. Vinyl siding also comes in a wide variety of colours, and can be cleaned with little more than a garden hose and a soft cloth. Since the colour of vinyl siding is baked into the material, you won’t have to worry about repainting it either (although that can be a drawback if you want to change the colour of your home’s exterior).
On the other hand, vinyl siding isn’t immune to warping in freeze-thaw cycles (although it fares better than some of the materials we mentioned earlier). And while it’s weather-resistant to a degree, there are other materials we’ll cover later that can handle far tougher conditions.
- Easy to install
- Harder to change colours
- Warps over time as temperatures shift
- Not the toughest material available for siding
How Much Does It Cost?
Vinyl’s easy to manufacture—and because it’s lightweight, it’s easy to install—all of which helps make it affordable. Vinyl siding typically costs $5-$11 per square foot, including installation.
Wood siding can give your home a rustic, down-to-earth appearance, making it an easy way to add charm and class to your exterior. However, wood siding requires careful and regular maintenance to prevent it from rotting or splitting in Alberta’s harsh climate.
If wood isn’t properly primed, painted, and treated with sealant that helps it repel moisture, it’ll absorb water from snow and rain—eventually leading to mould. And when the dry season arrives in late spring, your siding will likely form large cracks as the water it’s been holding evaporates. It’s not that you can’t enjoy wood siding in Alberta; it’s just that you can get a similar appearance from other materials that are easier to maintain. So why wood-n’t you?
- Elegant and rustic appearance
- Can be repainted
- More expensive than vinyl
- Requires frequent maintenance in Alberta’s climate
How Much Does It Cost?
The costs of wood depend largely on the type you use—higher-end woods cost more to source and tend to be heavier, driving up the labour required to install them. Wood siding typically costs $6-$17 per square foot, including installation.
Named after its Scottish inventor James Hardie, this innovative fibre-cement product can effectively mimic the look of other siding materials while providing superior longevity and resistance to the elements. Hardie board siding is often made to resemble wood panelling, but does not absorb moisture like wood or warp in shifting temperatures like vinyl. It’s also highly resistant to hail, fire, and other extreme weather hazards—giving it the longest functional lifespan of these three products.
There aren’t a lot of drawbacks to using Hardie Board, but it’s not the cheapest type of siding out there and it’s noticeably heavier than wood or vinyl. As such, the installation process can take longer and be more labour-intensive.
- Wide variety of available colours and styles
- Does not warp or crack as temperatures shift
- Resistant to water, wind, hail, fire, and other extreme conditions
- Lasts longer than other options
- More expensive than wood or vinyl siding
- Heavier than vinyl and most wood options
How Much Does It Cost?
Hardie board siding usually falls between $5-$25 per square foot after installation. The price range for this type of siding is wider because the amount of labour required can differ more significantly from one home to the next.
What Siding Is Best for Calgary Homeowners?
When it comes to performance, Hardie board siding is clearly in a league of its own. Its weather-resistance and longevity allow it to last for decades in some cases, making it the best long-term investment for Calgary homeowners.
That’s not to say vinyl or wood are necessarily bad siding options. There are even homeowners who get by with stucco, brick, or metal siding (despite the challenges of using these materials in Calgary). Just remember: spending less upfront isn’t necessarily an advantage if it costs you more time and money down the road.
While the potential costs associated with Hardie board siding may seem like an obstacle, you shouldn’t assume it’s outside your budget. When you contact Everest Roofing & Siding to speak with one of our experienced professionals, we’ll be happy to tell you more about how to get fibre-cement siding you can afford, or recommend a different kind of siding that will keep your home protected and looking great for years to come.