How Much Does Cedar Siding Cost?

Gemma Johnstone
Written by Gemma Johnstone
Updated October 14, 2021
A modern house with cedar siding and a stone chimney
Photo: Spiroview Inc. / Adobe Stock

The typical cost to install cedar siding ranges from $3.50 to $10.50 per square foot for materials and installation

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Cedar is one of the most popular wood siding materials. It’s economical, easy to stain, and is a relatively rot-resistant softwood. For an average home requiring 1,500 square feet of exterior siding, expect to pay $4,500 to $15,000. For complex layouts or elaborate shake or shingle, cedar siding costs can be higher.

How Much Does Cedar Siding Cost per Square Foot?

On average, cedar siding costs between $3.50 and $10.50 per square foot for materials and installation. Although most companies sell it by the square foot, some sell it by linear feet, and the quantities required will differ.

The average U.S. home has around 1,500 square feet of exterior walls. So, buying and installing cedar siding to cover the entire home will typically cost between $4,500 and $15,000. However, it’s a good idea to factor in an additional 10% of materials to cover wastage, especially if your home has a complex shape.

Cedar Siding Cost Breakdown

You need to factor in both materials and labor costs when installing cedar siding. These can vary considerably depending on the quality and complexity of the project.

Materials

Depending on the type of cedar, materials alone typically cost between $1.50 and $5.50 per square foot.

Labor

Installation by a reputable local siding contractor will usually run from around $2 to $5 per square foot. For homes with a complex shape or a style like shake or shingle cedar siding, installation costs could be up to 25% more. 

Cedar shakes are a traditional siding option and were originally made by hand. Workmen would chop a cedar log lengthwise to obtain wedge-shaped sections of cedar that would then be attached to the wall. They are very rough and have a lot of texture, which makes them unique.

Real cedar shakes are a rich color, but over the years, they dry out and turn gray. They also must be maintained with fresh stain every few years. With vinyl siding manufactured in sheets to look like cedar shingles, you can have the look without the upkeep. You also have your choice of colors with the vinyl selection.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Cedar Siding Yourself?

You can save between $3,000 and $7,500 or more by installing siding yourself on a home that requires around 1,500 square feet of materials.

However, although it’s possible to install cedar siding without the help of a professional, it’s time-consuming and requires a high level of skills. If you don’t fasten the siding properly, have improper spacing, or have problems with flashing or caulking, you could have issues further down the road, leading to an expensive and inconvenient fix.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Cedar Siding by Type?

A cabin with cedar siding
Photo: Karin / Adobe Stock

The type of cedar you select for your siding significantly affects your budget. However, investing in a higher-quality material means your siding will last longer.

The prices below relate to standard three-quarter-inch thick ”clear” grade boards. Pricing differs depending on thickness and grade.

  • Western red cedar is one of the most popular materials, and it’s also easy to source. Expect to pay around $3–$4.50 per sq. ft.

  • Northern white cedar is readily available in the Northeast. It’s a more affordable option, at around $1.50 per sq. ft.

  • Spanish cedar is excellent for humid areas because it’s particularly moisture-resistant, but it’s harder to source and costs $5.50 or more per sq. ft.

Eastern red and yellow cedars aren’t common siding materials. Eastern red cedar is typically used in indoor spaces and yellow is often used for boat and musical instrument construction.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Cedar Siding by Style?

The classic “lap styles” of siding, like shiplap, tongue and groove, and board and batten, are the easiest to install and fall within the average price ranges per square foot.

If you choose to go for more elaborate shingle or shake cedar siding, expect to pay anywhere from $6.50 to $13.75 per square foot for materials and installation. This siding is tricky to install correctly and isn't a good choice for DIY installation.

What Factors Influence the Cost to Install Cedar Siding?

Other factors can influence the cost of cedar siding.

Grades

Cedar, like other woods, has grades to indicate its quality and appearance. Grading in the lumber industry is unregulated and complex, and different types of wood can have their own grading system. Below are some factors to look out for when it comes to cedar siding grading.

  • Premium “clear” grades signify that the cedar is from older, mature growth and free from defects such as knots. These include Clear Heart, Clear Vertical Grain Heart, and A Clear, and they’re the most expensive forms of cedar siding.

  • Mid grades such as “C and Better” or “D and Better” often have small imperfections in the wood, but nothing major.

  • Knotty grades like Select Tight Knot or Select Knotty are from fast-growth trees and are best suited to a rustic finish. They can have many knots or other defects running along the boards. Premium-grade cedar siding can cost twice as much as knotty varieties.

Removal of Existing Siding

Expect to pay between $2,000 and $5,000 for professionals to remove 1,500 square feet of existing siding, though a careful and enthusiastic DIYer could tackle this job to maximize savings. There may still be fees to factor in from your local waste disposal authority to comply with the rules regarding the disposal of the old wood.

A Note on Safety: If you have painted siding that was installed before 1978, you might have lead paint or asbestos to contend with. If you have concerns about either of these factors, get a professional lead or asbestos inspection. Asbestos testing costs from $400 to $800, and lead tests are around $300. If either is present, it’s best to have them professionally removed.

Staining or Painting

Staining or painting wood siding can significantly increase its longevity and give it a finished appearance. You can purchase cedar siding already finished, but if you have bought untreated siding, this is a job that will need doing during installation.

Staining typically costs $1.50 to $4 per square foot and painting around $3 to $6 per square foot for materials and labor. You can shave off some costs by doing this job yourself, but an improper application can reduce the longevity of the siding.

FAQs About Cedar Siding

Is it possible to install new siding over old siding?

Ideally, you’ll want to remove the old siding first to minimize problems with rot, vermin, or insects. Leaving the old siding up also means that the delineation of doors and windows will be less noticeable, and this isn’t always a good thing in terms of aesthetics. However, depending on the material and condition of the old siding, it’s possible to install new siding over it. Take advice from a reputable local siding contractor before proceeding.

How do I estimate how much siding I need?

You can calculate the required square footage yourself to price the materials or get quotes.

Start by measuring the height and width of your home’s rectangular exterior walls. For the triangular-shaped gable walls, measure the height from the ground to the tallest gable point.

To calculate the square foot coverage of the rectangular walls, multiply the length by the height. For the gable ends, the calculation is (length x height) / 2.

Once you have combined the totals for each wall, add another 10% to account for wasted materials.

How often should I refinish cedar sidings?

Regular cedar siding maintenance is important for making your siding last a long time—and keep it looking good throughout its life. You should restain or repaint them every four to six years, depending on weather conditions. 

If you want a lower maintenance option, opt for vinyl or aluminum siding. Although the cost to install these sidings can be slightly more expensive, they don’t need as much maintenance and can be more durable than cedar.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.