Vinyl siding material, made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), is a topic of debate among contractors. Some people deplore the substance, while others stand by it firmly. In the late 50s, PVC house siding was introduced as a better alternative to aluminum. Unlike the sheets of metal, this material was much more durable.
However, a serious fault of the PVC based siding was that it was highly prone to splitting, warping and wearing down over time. For this reason, the material still has a bad rep today, more than half a century later. Even now, if asked about vinyl siding Cape Cod homeowners and contractors assume it is an ineffective or low end. However, this perspective will rob them of an effective and rather attractive home exterior siding option.
However, the truth is that the quality of the product depends on the manufacturer. A quality product paired with proper installation will deliver no problems for years to come. Now, 30% of homes in America have vinyl exterior siding. And that percentage is rapidly rising, as over 70% of newer homes are using the material too.
If you are currently searching for the best exterior protection for your home, learn the pros and cons of this highly popular siding material.
Despite poor attitudes surrounding PVC siding, it is the most popular home siding material in America. In New England specifically, 76% of homes have this kind of siding. People assume that the cheap price can account for its popularity. However, there are plenty of reasons why people are choosing vinyl siding installation.
Cost Effective: Saving money is one of the biggest appeals of installing vinyl siding. Whereas some types of siding can cost as much as $50 per square foot, PVC only cost around $3 – $7. Moreover, some people claim that installing insulation under the panels can reduce the amount of energy it takes to heat or cool a home.
Ease of Installation: Compared to other types of siding, this material is by far one of the easiest to install. It’s lightweight and can be attached to the home’s exterior in fewer steps than what other types of siding would require.
Lasting Durability: This type of siding is also rather durable. Unlike its wooden counterparts, vinyl panels will never rot and rarely chip. And unlike metal, it can take a hit without showing any damage. Not to mention, color is infused into the material so that it won’t display any visible scratching or peeling.
Weather Resistance: There is a little risk when it comes to the natural elements. After prolonged exposure to moisture and rain, vinyl won’t rust or suffer any wear. Not to mention it doesn’t normally attract mold, as it is non-porous and doesn’t hold moisture.
Furthermore, it will protect your home against harsh weathers and high winds up to 110 mph. In fact, higher quality brands claim that they can withstand winds as strong as 240 mph.
Aesthetics: Vinyl is a wonderfully versatile material in terms of style. It comes in just about any color available. But, although it won’t chip or scratch, it will still fade after about 5 or 10 years. At that point in time, the panels can simply be stained or painted.
It can also take on the appearance of any shape such as horizontal and vertical panels, or scallop style panels. In the same way, it can imitate other types of siding. For example, it can be made to look like wood siding, with virtually no difference. Even long-time siding contractors admit that it’s tough to distinguish new wood panels from vinyl imitation panels.
However, PVC siding is not totally infallible, there are some drawbacks to it as well.
To be honest, most of Vinyl’s negative attributes have been corrected as the years have gone by. Now it is more about the quality of the product. With higher-end PVC, you’ll notice minimal drawbacks.
Feels Flimsy: Lower end vinyl can be off-putting to people if it feels flimsy when you hold it. No matter how much it looks like wood, if it feels like cheap plastic, people will tend to avoid it. One can infer that if it doesn’t feel sturdy, it probably won’t hold up very well. The lesson in this instance is that you get what you pay for.
Affected by Temperature: Of all the natural elements, extreme hot and cold have the biggest effect on the PVC product. The substance will expand and contract according to the temperature outside. This can eventually cause the panels to split, crack or buckle. However, you can ask the vinyl siding company if the panels have any leeway. Often, they are allowed about half an inch of space to safely expand and contract.
Eco-Friendly Debate: People can’t seem to agree about whether exterior PVC siding is safe for the environment. For example, in high heat, it can release chemicals into the atmosphere contributing to issues like acid rain and smog. However, its reported that they release fewer chemicals into the air than other manufactured siding materials.
Similarly, compared to other types of siding, vinyl produces the least waste, lasts the longest, and requires the least energy to make. For these reasons and others, the National Institute of Standards and Technology recognizes PVC exterior siding as a top environmentally friendly option.
Maintenance: Unfortunately, vinyl home siding is not maintenance free. One annoying drawback is that it cannot be replaced piece by piece. If a small section of your siding took some damage, you will need to replace the entire panel.
Another tiny issue is that you will have to give it a good scrub about once or twice a year, which is still more than people would like to. Still, the cleaning routine is not very demanding and doesn’t differ much from washing your car.
Get Professional Advice
If you want to fully consider your options, you should spend some time consulting with professional contractors who provide siding services. Specifically, look for professionals that are accredited by the product manufacturer.
Not only does this certify that they are able to flawlessly install your siding of choice, but that they air trained with the correct knowledge about the product. In this way, you can get a full scope of what the pros and cons come with each product.