If you are considering building or remodeling your home, you have lots of choices when it comes to its siding – from wood, stucco, brick, and fiber cement. Amongst those choices is a clear winner, capturing over 32% of the siding market. According to the Vinyl Siding Institute, statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show that over the past 20 years, more homeowners side their homes with vinyl than any other material, year after year.
Perhaps you are considering a vinyl siding installation. Regardless of its popularity, is vinyl siding the right choice for you and your home? Here’s some things to consider.
Vinyl siding was first introduced in the 1960’s when aluminum siding was still king. Vinyl siding manufacturers offered few choices, and the manufacturing process made it difficult to produce a consistent and quality product. Additionally, colors were added manually, and installers didn’t have the experience of proper installation techniques. Starting in the 1970’s, a real effort was made to improve the process, and by doing so improved the vinyl’s quality, the speed of production, strength, and versatility. In the following decades, vinyl siding grew steadily in popularity to become the number one choice in home siding.
Because of its increasing popularity, there’s been an increasing range of options. Today, you can choose from a wide array of profiles, shapes, textures, and colors. For example, the Vinyl Siding Institute says vinyl siding is available in over 350 different colors. Additionally, vinyl can mimic natural siding options like cedar shakes – even up close. Some have said that even as you touch it, you may be hard pressed to differentiate vinyl from feel of the natural siding option.
The exterior of your home has a vitally important job to perform — protecting the rest of home from the elements.
Vinyl is designed to withstand high winds (it can be certified to up to 110 mph), and to withstand impacts. Plus, some vinyl siding manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty for the original home owner and typically carry a prorated warranty of over 50 years to future owners, too. The new manufacturing processes resist the weathering effects of heat, cold, and moisture. In fact, vinyl siding never absorbs water — unlike fiber cement, brick, and wood, which can hold water, leading to rot, mold, and/or poor indoor air quality.
One note here on weathering effects: like any product, the quality of the finished product is only as good as the remodeler who installs it. Vinyl siding, by its nature, will expand and contract more than other siding types, when presented with heat and cold extremes. With proper installation, the siding can and should easily expand up, down, in and out, and left and right without restriction. So if you’ve seen homes with warped, twisted, or missing vinyl siding – there’s a good chance that the installer is to blame, not the product. Choose your remodeler wisely!
Naturally sided homes – like those made with cedar, wood, or log – are beautiful. But the poor homeowner will need to stain the entire house or a good part of it every few years – or it can end up costing him thousands of dollars for a professional painting crew. With Vinyl, you never have to stain, caulk, or re-paint, until its time to replace the vinyl, perhaps decades later.
Unlike other exterior cladding, vinyl siding only requires simple, periodic cleaning with mild soap and water from a garden hose. There are no worries about rotting, splitting, or insect damage. When considering vinyl colors, be aware that deeper or more vibrant colors – Red Barn, for instance – can fade over time.
Studs in exterior walls can be a major culprit in reducing your home’s energy efficiency. Studs can create “thermal bridging,” which occurs when materials with poor insulating properties contact each other, allowing energy to flow through.
Insulated siding works like a blanket over your home’s studs. It reduces thermal bridging so heat stays outside in summer and warmth stays inside during winter — reducing the energy needed to heat and cool your home.
Besides the factors indicated above, perhaps the major reason why vinyl is the most popular siding option is that it is also the most cost effective. Check out this chart from R.S. Means 2014 Residential Cost Data, indicating the typical total cost per 100 square feet across several cladding choices.
Bennett Contracting has been siding homes for 100 years. We like to think we’re pretty good at it, and our 99% satisfaction rating on Angie’s List tells us that our customers think so, too. For more information on siding your home with either wood or vinyl, contact us!