Vinyl Siding Calculator

Created by Wojciech Sas, PhD candidate
Last updated: Jul 10, 2021

With this vinyl siding calculator, you can quickly estimate the amount of materials and the total cost of this fashionable siding type. The tool answers the question "how many vinyl wall panels do I need?" and what will be the total vinyl siding cost if you want to cover the whole exterior area of your house.

About vinyl siding

Vinyl siding on a house

Vinyl siding is one of the most popular exterior siding types for residential buildings and small apartments. The material is based on polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and is designed in a way that mimics other fabrics like wood, bricks or metal. Vinyl siding cost is relatively small compared to other ones, such as aluminum or log sidings. The popularity of this material is growing thanks to its comparatively high durability, fire-resistance, and versatility in producing different shapes and sizes. The most common type of vinyl pieces used for sidings are vinyl wall panels which can be easily connected with one another.

Trim elements

Although vinyl panels can be joined without great effort, they have to be treated in a particular manner when attached to some edges like windows or other walls. The trim pieces have to be used to keep everything in appropriate positions. The most popular ones are:

  • undersill trim - primarily at the underside of horizontal edges (windows or soffit),
  • starter strip - as a base at the bottom of the wall,
  • j-channels - the most universal trimming for wall sides, corners, around windows and doors, or even angled edges.

Each of these trimmings has to be nailed to the wall, but it's important not to do it too loosely or too tightly. The recommended interval between adjacent nails should be between 1 and 2 feet.

How to estimate material needed?

The number of vinyl wall panels necessary for covering the entire wall depends on the total square footage of the wall. For the plain one, it's just the area of a rectangle calculated from the height and width of the wall. In more general cases we have to subtract windows and door segments. Moreover, it's always worth considering to prepare more material, taking into account the waste, which occurs during the installation process. It's usually given as a percentage of a total area to cover. We recommend buying about 5-10% additional resources.

Trim pieces can be included as follows:

  1. the length of undersill trim equals the width of the wall (the upper edge counts) and the sum of all windows widths,
  2. the length of starter strip equals the width of the wall (the bottom part),
  3. the length of j-channels equals twice the height of the wall, and the width plus twice the height of all windows and doors.

The cost of vinyl panels is usually given as the price per square foot, whereas the cost of all the trim pieces is presented as the price per unit of length. When the number of windows and doors increase, it gets more and more complicated to evaluate the total cost, but with this vinyl siding calculator, it's just a piece of cake!

Vinyl siding cost - an example of use

Let's assume that we want to cover the wall of 10 ft height and 30 ft width with a single door and a pair of windows. We consider standard door and windows sizes (8' x 3' and 3' x 5' respectively).

  1. Calculate the area of raw wall: 10 ft * 30 ft = 300 ft²,
  2. Find out the total area of door and windows: 8 ft * 3 ft + 2 * 3 ft * 5 ft = 54 ft²
  3. The final area to cover is equal to: 300 ft² - 54 ft² = 246 ft²,
  4. Taking into account 10% waste, the total amount of material needed to cover such area can be estimated as: 246 ft² * 110% = 270.6 ft²
  5. If we use a standard segments (12 ft length and 10 in width), the total number of vinyl wall panels can be worked out as: 270.6 ft² / (12 ft * 10 in) = 27.06. It's highly probable that we will be able to buy only full panels, which means that the result has to be rounded to the next integer number, 28 pieces.
  6. Undersill length equals: 30 ft + 2 * 5 ft = 40 ft,
  7. Starter strip length equals: 30 ft,
  8. J-channels length equals: 2 * 10 ft + 2 * (5 ft + 2 * 3 ft) + (2 * 8 ft + 3 ft) = 61 ft,
  9. Let's assume the following prices of elements: 5 $/ft² or 50 $ per unit for vinyl panels, 0.6 $/ft for undersill, 0.49 $/ft for starter strip, 0.48 $/ft for j-channels,
  10. Estimate the final vinyl siding cost: 28 * 50 $ + 40 * 0.6 $ + 30 * 0.49 $ + 61 * 0.48 $ = 1,467.98 $

In the advanced mode you can change both door and window sizes or insert any area of non-rectangular walls. If you have any doubts how to do so, just check how to calculate the area of triangle or trapezoid, the common walls shapes under the roof.

Wojciech Sas, PhD candidate
Wall dimensions
Doors and windows
Number of doors
Number of windows
Single vinyl panel
Vinyl width
Vinyl length
Vinyl price
Waste factor
Trim pieces
J channel price
Undersill price
Starter strip price
Total area
# of vinyl pieces
Total vinyl cost
J-channel length
Undersill length
Starter strip length
Total cost
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