Steel log siding is a unique type of siding made from steel that looks like real wood logs. It was invented and is manufactured in Colorado, where strong siding is a must to stand up to extreme weather.
On average, steel log siding cost is $8.50 to $16.50 per square foot for the material and professional installation. The cost range reflects differences in material options, installation complexity, and your home’s location (robustness of the local home remodeling and real estate market).
By comparison, natural wood log siding ranges from $10.50 to $17.50 per square foot installed.
This guide focuses on steel log siding cost, pros and cons, durability, the return on your investment in terms of your home’s value. Along the way, we’ll make comparisons to authentic log siding, so you can see steel’s relative advantages and disadvantages.
Average Cost To Install New Siding Typical Range: $5,240 - $8,130
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That Appeal of Log Siding
Log siding makes a home look solid, warm, and inviting. It is classic siding with unsurpassed charm.
Steel log siding remarkably mimics the look and texture of wood while eliminating the worst aspects of real log siding – high maintenance costs and susceptibility to insects, rot and fire.
What is Steel Log Siding?
Here are the basics of this material often called fake log siding.
Lightweight G-90 galvanized steel 26 gauge (thicker) and 28-gauge steel is used. The material is stamped with authentic wood texture: cedar, pine, weathered wood and more. Some designs include faux chinking.
Durable coatings are designed to resist fading, cracking, and blistering. Foam backer inserts are added for stability and an R-value of 3 to 4.
Steel log siding is installed using the same techniques and accessories as standard steel or vinyl siding, so the process goes quickly. The siding is backed with very good warranties discussed below.
How does natural wood siding stack up against LP SmartSide, the most popular engineered wood siding?
There are several important points of comparison – maintenance, durability, and appearance among them – but we’ll start with the bottom line: Cost. The rest of the factors are covered in pros and cons below.
Average Cost To Install Wood Siding Typical Range: $10,230 - $15,360
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Did you know? Many online LP SmartSide cost estimates are lower than what should be reasonably expected. It appears they simply take the cost per square foot of LP SmartSide siding material, which can be as low as $2.50 per square foot and multiply it by the square feet of siding needed.
A somewhat random labor cost is added, and a total estimate is given. Estimating an LP SmartSide job that way fails to consider the many variables such as tear off and removal of old siding, supplies needed such as trim, wrap, building permits, professional warrantied installation, etc. and these costs can add up quickly.
LP SmartSide trim, for example, costs about $1.50 per linear foot and can add $600-$1,200 to the total job cost. Fasteners, construction glue, flashing, caulk and extra saw blades are among the accessories needed to complete the job.
Every job is different. Where on the cost spectrum your siding project falls depends on these variables.
Specific material: LP SmartSide ranges in price from about $2.50/sq. ft. for siding planks to about $4.50/sq. ft. for textured cedar shake siding, an increase of 100%.
Average Cost To Install LP SidingTypical Range: $9,210 - $13,750
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Some homeowners don’t use any of the more expensive shake-look siding. A few homes use it exclusively. Most often, shake siding is used in gables and other select places to provide architectural interest.
In terms of wood, pine plank siding is the least costly. Cedar is most popular and in the middle of the cost range. Redwood siding costs the most.
Each type of wood is available in a range of grades too such as Clear or Heart (top grade), Select, A, B, C, Rustic and more. Each type has a slightly different grading system. The higher the grade, the costlier the siding.
The shape of the house: There is more material waste on homes with 6+ corners and complex design.
Installation difficulty: Labor costs are the biggest variable in engineered siding jobs. In term of complexity, installation takes longer on homes with a higher number of corners and architectural variations, so labor costs can be 50% higher. Installation above the first story adds about 35% to the labor cost.
This home includes material and labor factors that put the total cost near at the upper end of the range.
Where you live: Cost of living can swing installation prices up to 40%. Rural areas of the South and Midwest have the lowest costs. They are highest in major metropolitan areas on the Coasts. The rest of the country falls into the average range.
Who does the work: DIY installation costs nothing beyond the materials, accessories and specialized tools required.
Pro installation ranges from using an unlicensed handyman service at the low end to allowing a designer or builder to hire the installer while charging you a general contractor (GC) fee. 😉
Pro Tip: You’ll get the best combination of quality installation, pricing and peace of mind when you work directly with contractors that are experienced, licensed and insured.
Get several estimates from licensed contractors, and don’t be afraid to ask to see their current license and liability coverage.
Ask about the experience of the crew that will install your wood or engineered siding. Check Yelp and Google reviews, the BBB, and other sources. Hire a contractor with consistently good reviews and an experienced crew.
Did you know? LP SmartSide might not warranty its siding where you live!
LP SmartSide includes wax-coated wood strands at its core. The presence of wood raises a red flag. Moisture is the enemy of any material that contains wood.
Because some areas of the country receive so much rainfall and have high humidity levels, LP Building Products, the maker of SmartSide siding, does not warranty its products in these regions: Alaska, Hawaii, Northern California north of 1-80, and west of the Cascades in Washington, Oregon, and California.
If you live in one of these areas, it’s likely that your local building material suppliers won’t stock LP SmartSide or other engineered wood products.
In all other regions, SmartSide carries a 50-year warranty including the first five years of 100% coverage before the warranty starts being pro-rated through the rest of the coverage period.
Does Natural Wood Siding Come with a Warranty?
No, it does not. The producers don’t provide any warranty because they sell bare wood and have no control over how it is installed and finished. If it is not properly finished, warping, cracking, rotting and discoloration can begin in the first year.
Though the manufacturers don’t warranty the wood, whoever installs and finishes the wood with stain and sealer, or primer and paint should give you a warranty of at least 1 year on the workmanship. Some offer two years.
The materials applied will have their own warranty against manufacturing defects for 10-20 years. The warranty doesn’t cover normal wear and weathering, so the wood will require repainting or staining long before the warranty period expires.