Updated on January 27th, 2021
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 $7.50 to $15.00 per square foot for the material and professional installation. The cost range reflects differences in material options and installation complexity.
By comparison, natural wood log siding ranges from $5.50 to $14.50 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.
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.
Benefits, Pros and Cons
Log siding made from steel has a lot to offer, but there are a few drawbacks. Here what you’ll like about steel siding.
Cleaning/painting: This material is close to maintenance free. If it gets dirty, a gentle wash is all that’s needed. Steel won’t need to be painted for 30-40 years. Genuine log siding must be stained or sealed every three to five years at a cost of $2.00 to $3.50 per square foot.
Fire-resistance: If wildfires are possible where you live, then steel is the obvious choice over wood. In fact, in some areas, you won’t be able to get home insurance for wood but might get a discount when you install steel.
Insects, woodpeckers, mold, and rot: Wood is susceptible to all of them. Steel is not.
Good looks: Steel log siding is not more attractive than natural wood, but it holds its own in comparison.
Value: Steel siding costs more than the cheapest log siding, but less than premium wood siding. Combined with low maintenance costs, steel log siding is an excellent value.
Wood wins a few of the issues when comparing genuine wood log siding vs. steel.
Authenticity: If you love the smell, feel, and look of real wood, steel won’t meet your sensory needs.
Hail: If heavy hail hits wood siding, it might make a few dents. But those dents are considered “character,” and they might disappear with time, since wood is forgiving.
Large hail is harder on steel, even 26-gauge material. Those hail marks look like dents, not character.
Rust: Scratches that penetrate to the steel are uncommon. However, if they occur, you’ll have to touch up the scratch immediately, or rust will start. Rust can be difficult to get rid of when it starts moving laterally beneath the exterior coating.
Does steel log siding improve your home’s value?
Siding brings a 77% ROI (Cost-to-value return at resale), according to a national survey that is repeated yearly.
That figure is an average for all siding types. Vinyl is cheap and wood is high maintenance, so both have an ROI lower than average. Steel has a return on investment that is higher than average, more in the range of 80%-85%.
The ROI of 80%-85% means that if you invest $10,000 in steel siding, the potential sale price will rise by up to $8,500. The enhanced curb appeal will certainly improve your ability to draw buyers to it.
Log-look steel siding ranges from $6.50 to $12.50 per square foot for materials and professional installation including all the necessary supplies, trim, and accessories like J-channel and starter strip, and installation quality warranty.
Professional Installation labor cost averages $4.50 to $8.00 per square foot, depending on the project difficulty and local real estate market conditions. Installation costs can be higher for complex, multi-story projects.
The table provides detailed pricing information for the most common scenarios:
|Low Cost||Average Cost||High Cost|
|Cost||$7.50 – $9.50||$10.00 – $12.50||$12.75 – $15.00|
|Steel Thickness||28 gauge||28 or 26 gauge||28 or 26 gauge|
|Insulated||No||Yes or No||Yes|
|# of House Corners||4-6 Corners||6-8 Corners||6 or More|
|# of House Levels||Single||Single or Multi||Multi|
|Dormers and Chimneys||None||None or Few||Many|
|Fabricated Onsite||No||Yes or No||Yes or No|
|Who Installs it||DIY or Pro||Pro||Pro|
Two companies dominate the market.
TruLog Steel Log Siding is manufactured in Colorado and shipped free (for orders of 1,000 sq.ft. of siding) of charge to the building site.
$4.75 per square foot: Cedar, Autumn Brown, Canyon Red and Sable are 28-gauge steel with a modified polyester coating.
$5.75 per square foot: High Definition Colors: Colorado Pine and Red Cedar are 26-gauge G-90 steel (better) siding with Kynar 500 paint finish coating.
Installation accessories and supplies are extra, typically adding $1.00 to $2.00 per square foot to the total cost.
Product specifications: Panels are about 8” tall and 12’ long. Both sidings feature 1” foam inserts for extra stability and minor insulation value. The CoolPaint reflective paint used is Energy Star compliant.
Warranty: TruLog warranty is 30 years on both products.
Installation cost: Ryan Reedbaum from TruLog says that typical installation cost is between $3.50 and $5.50 per square foot (professional installation only not including the cost of materials), but can be as low as $2.50 and as high as $8.00 per square foot, based on the overall job complexity and local real estate market conditions (that influence demand for professional exterior remodeling work).
ABC Seamless is a national company with regional franchises. The brand is best known for their seamless gutter business, but they use the same technology to extrude seamless steel log siding from their trucks on the job site. Every piece is a custom fit.
The company provides both the material and installation.
The product has several similarities to TruLog siding, as you’ll see below.
Seamless advantage: The most distinct advantage is the seamless installation. It is aesthetically appealing, and there are no seams for wind to catch, so ABC Seamless siding is less susceptible to wind damage.
Specifications: The 28-gauge, woodgrain siding is available in 20 colors. Energy Star certified CoolPaint reflective paint is used. Two baked-on powder coat finishes are available.
Foam backers are also used to help maintain the shape of the rounded siding and provide stability and a small amount of insulation.
Total cost: Sales Manager Greg Patnode gave us a ballpark price of $10.00-$15.50 per square foot installed, based on the specific job factors.
ABC Seamless offers a lifetime warranty on steel log siding.