Wood Siding vs. Vinyl Siding: A Comprehensive Comparison

wood siding vs vinyl siding

When looking to install siding on your home or any other building, wood siding and vinyl siding are the two most common and popular options. Each type of siding has its distinct features, pros, and cons, which make it suitable for a particular siding project or case. If you’re looking to know more about wood siding and vinyl siding and how one is different from the other, this article is for you.

What is Wood Siding?

Wood siding refers to a type of exterior wall cladding where wood or timber is used as the primary material. Wood is a very popular siding material known for its versatility, appearance, and durability.

Wood siding is preferred over other siding options for its unique rustic appeal and the feel of authentic wood grains, which is missing in options like vinyl siding and aluminium siding. The timeless style and classic appearance of wood siding are particularly suitable for traditional-styled buildings like bungalows and cottages.

Some of the top benefits of wood siding include versatility with a wide range of applications, various style options, a beautiful grainy look and feel, a long lifespan of 30-40 years, high durability and resistance, sustainability, and good return value.

However, wood siding also has its cons, which may include a higher need for maintenance, difficult installation, higher investment (costlier than alternatives), impact by moisture and termites, and difficult handling due to higher weight and density.

What is Vinyl Siding?

Vinyl is a popular synthetic siding material, which is made of plastic and can be designed in various styles, including that of wood. It is famous as a cheaper and durable wood alternative for siding and other similar applications.

Unlike wood siding, vinyl siding is easier to install, can resist moisture, and requires lower maintenance. It, however, misses the authentic look and feel of wood. The siding is just plain and smooth with no grain. It comes in many varieties and color/design options.

The top benefits of vinyl siding include easy DIY installation, long life, low maintenance needs, resistance to insects and moisture, and less expensive than wood siding.

Major drawbacks of vinyl siding include the inability to take extreme cold or heat, lack of sustainability, and less authentic appearance.
Wood Siding Vs. Vinyl Siding: what’s the difference?

Wood siding and vinyl siding are quite different in terms of appearance, physical properties, workability, sustainability, maintenance, installation, lifespan, and cost. We’ll discuss each of these factors in detail here to help you find out the best type of siding for your home.


While vinyl and wood siding may appear similar on the outside or from a distance, there are notable differences in their appearances.

Both wood and vinyl siding come in various styles for use in a range of home exterior projects, including regular lap siding, roof shingles, and other decorative purposes. Wood is generally better than vinyl in terms of versatility with availability in various plank sizes and installation options like shiplap or board-and-batten. Wood shingles can be installed in both straight and irregular patterns.

While both siding types may offer an attractive wood-grain finish from a distance, only real wood exhibits a natural grain pattern. Vinyl siding has limited style options and plank sizes, and the gap is visible where planks overlap. However, vinyl siding comes in a wide range of colors.


Another major difference between wood siding and vinyl siding is in terms of the cost. Vinyl siding is notably less expensive than wood, with the average cost of vinyl siding with installation being around $2 per square foot. Wood siding, on the other hand, may cost $7 per square foot on average.

Of course, the cost also depends on factors like wood species, siding design, style, etc. Wood siding prices can greatly vary based on species, with cost-effective wood species such as pine being on the lower side, while premium hardwoods such as teak and mahogany being the most expensive.


Vinyl siding is better than wood in terms of ease of installation and efficiency. Installing vinyl siding is faster and easier and can be done without a professional. Its planks and shingles fit easily and don’t need sanding, priming, or painting.

In contrast, the wood siding installation process can be complex and lengthy. Boards might need to be cut manually, and priming and painting before installation will require professionals.

Vinyl is a better choice in terms of the ease of installation, as it saves both time and money.

Energy-saving (Insulation)

Another crucial factor to consider when comparing wood siding and vinyl siding is the insulation efficiency. Wood siding, with an R-value of 0.81 to 0.87, offers better insulation than vinyl siding, which has a 0.67 R-value. Both, however, can achieve higher R-values of 3 or 4 when accompanied by foam insulation. The better the insulation, the more reduced energy bills. In terms of energy efficiency, wood siding is slightly better than vinyl. If you’re planning to use vinyl siding as rainscreen, then insulation will be reduced further.


Vinyl siding, which is built using plastic, is not very friendly to the environment. The manufacturing process involves energy-intensive steps that also sometimes release harmful chemicals. Some forms of vinyl are recyclable, but finding a suitable recycling center can be difficult, resulting in landfill disposal and significant environmental impacts over time.

Wood siding, especially when sustainably harvested, offers an eco-friendly alternative, as natural wood is biodegradable and easily disposable without impacting the environment. The production of wood siding, though, can be energy-intensive.

Vinyl’s plastic core and production are not friendly to the environment, with issues such as air pollution and excessive energy use making it not a sustainable choice.


In terms of maintenance needs and costs, vinyl siding proves to be a winner over wood siding. Vinyl siding requires comparatively lower maintenance than wood, as it is more durable and can withstand weather conditions for a long time. It does not need to be sanded or repaired. However, care is needed to ensure that boards are not detaching or cracking. Repairing is not very easy and faulty boards might need to be placed entirely.

Wood siding demands more regular and intensive care right from installation. Finishing and treatments might be needed to protect from pests. Other than that, regular sanding, painting, and staining every few years is recommended to keep timber siding in good shape. In contrast, vinyl’s pre-treated and finished appearance remains good for years with minimal care.
Wood Siding Vs. Vinyl Siding: Durability & Life

Wood siding generally lasts 20 to 30 years but requires extensive care and maintenance. The lifespan gets reduced if proper care is not taken. Wood siding is not resistant to rot and can be damaged by wood-eating pests. Proper and regular treatment is needed to reduce this vulnerability.

Vinyl siding being more durable can survive a little longer, about 40 years or more. Vinyl, which is plastic-based, is immune to damage by water or pests. Proper maintenance helps enhance its life.

Conclusion: Wood Siding Vs. Vinyl Siding

The exterior of your home is important both to improve its appearance and boost its value, which is why choosing the right type of siding is crucial, especially if you are planning to sell the property eventually. Between wood and vinyl, choosing the better material will depend on your particular preferences. While wood is a more attractive and sustainable option, vinyl siding offers more durability and costs less.

If you need help choosing the right siding material for your project or want to buy high-quality timber online at a wholesale price, visit Cameroon Timber Export Sarl or contact us at +237671776559.