Strengths And Weaknesses Of Vinyl Siding

Exterior siding is available in a wide array of materials including aluminum, wood, brick and fiber cement, although vinyl has become a popular choice among modern day homeowners. There are a few good reasons to choose vinyl, including low maintenance, reasonable cost and versatility. However, vinyl siding does not come without a few downsides to consider as well. If you're still on the fence about vinyl siding for your home's exterior, learn more about the advantages and disadvantages to make a well-informed decision.

The Advantages of Vinyl Siding

First, consider what makes vinyl a good choice. Here are a few solid reasons:

Vinyl Siding Costs Less Than Many Other Materials: Perhaps you prefer the look of wood, but you can't afford the high cost. If you don't want to spend a lot of money on your exterior siding, you can achieve the appearance of wood at a fraction of the cost by choosing vinyl siding. Many homeowners choose vinyl siding as an alternative to traditional wood because it simulates the appearance but costs considerably less. Vinyl is also less expensive than other materials, such as fiber cement, aluminum, brick or stucco. If cost is a major factor, vinyl should be a top consideration.

It's Easy to Maintain: The low maintenance of vinyl siding makes it an excellent choice for those who don't wish to deal with the hassle of re-painting or finishing their siding. Unlike wood, the vinyl materials won't chip, peel or decay, and you'll never need to re-paint your siding. In fact, doing so may void your manufacturer's warranty, so you'll want to read the fine print carefully. Also, with vinyl siding, you'll never need to worry about insect damage.

Routine cleaning is all that is needed to maintain the appearance of your vinyl siding. You may use a brush and mild cleaner or power wash your siding if it becomes grimy.

Installation Is Easier With Vinyl: If you're a do-it-yourself handyman with prior experience in home installation projects, you may appreciate that vinyl siding is relatively easy to install. Vinyl panels interlock together with a lock and nailing strip. Doing the job yourself may save you money over hiring a professional to install the siding for you.

Vinyl Siding Offers Several Versatile Styles: With many textures and grains to choose from, the versatility with vinyl siding is nearly unmatched. You may choose from horizontal vinyl siding with smooth or beaded texture, vertical boards or board and batten style is often available in various widths, and cedar shake vinyl may be straight edged or rough. In addition, most vinyl siding manufacturers offer their materials in a wide range of color options. Because it's unlikely that you'll ever re-paint your vinyl siding, you can choose a color that coordinates with your existing exterior decor.

The Disadvantages of Vinyl Siding

Although vinyl siding offers many advantages and possibilities, it does not come without a few concerns or pitfalls. Here are a few disadvantages to consider before choosing vinyl as your siding material:

  • Vinyl Siding Is Not the Best Choice for Windy Conditions: Why is this? If you live in an area that is prone to wind-driven rain, you may experience water seeping through behind the siding and into your home. There is a way around this, however. As a rain barrier, you might want to place some house wrap beneath the siding to prevent water seepage. You can purchase house wrap at most home improvement centers and major hardware stores.

  • Extreme Temperatures May Damage the Vinyl: Extreme heat or extreme cold may cause cracks in a low-grade vinyl. This is why it's important to choose high quality materials.

  • Vinyl Siding Doesn't Do Well in Direct Sunlight: If you install this material in an area that receives direct sunlight for most of the day, you may notice fading after a period of time. For this reason, it is best to install vinyl siding in a well-shaded area. If you don't mind the higher cost, choose vinyl siding with ultraviolet (UV) coating to prevent fading.

For many homeowners, the advantages of vinyl siding outweigh the disadvantages. The good news is, with a little forethought, you can find a way to prevent issues such as fading or water damage. Remember, exterior siding is meant to last a long time, so choose wisely.

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