Want to know the ups and down of vinyl siding?


We know: All About Vinyl Siding

What's vinyl siding?

Vinyl is a polymer resulting from a chemical process that produces a compound that is tough and durable. Siding made from vinyl was introduced in the late 1950s and now accounts for about half the siding sold, and about 1/3 of the siding used in new homes.

Is it cheaper than conventional wood siding?

Usually, yes. And the price of installing and maintaining vinyl, which does not have to be painted, is almost always cheaper than installing wood.

Is vinyl siding safe?

There is considerable concern regarding the dangers of vinyl siding, particularly its toxicity in a fire. According to The Environmental Magazine, both acid smoke and the carcinogen dioxin are released when vinyl siding burns or melts in a fire. According to firefighters, it is not unusual for people trapped in building fires to die of chemically toxic fumes before the flames actually reach them, and according to documentary reports, fire departments have refused to allow firefighters to put out house fires with vinyl siding because of the dangers.


For consumers concerned about the environment, the disposal and recycling of vinyl is also an important issue. According to bluevinyl.org, most vinyl products end up in landfills, city incinerators or are burned in pits. Since your siding will not last forever, you should give some consideration to how it will be disposed of when it's no longer useful.

What should I know when considering buying vinyl siding?

  • Generally, thicker is better. The thinner the siding, the more it could sag over time. The thicker the siding, the stiffer and more durable it will tend to be.
  • Wind resistance. You want siding that will stay on the house in a storm. Some manufacturers actually warranty their siding in winds over 150 mph. Ask about wind resistance and the warranty.
  • Getting attached to siding. Unlike wood, vinyl siding is not attached tightly to the house. It more or less hangs on the side of the house, because it contracts and expands with heat and cold. A double hem mounting area usually provides better attachment than a single hem. If the siding is too tight, there's poor ventilation. If it's too loose, it can be noisy. Net 'n net, it needs to be installed properly.
  • Rain resistance. Because it hangs loosely, vinyl siding is less likely to trap moisture. However, there are also areas where water can leak inside, so proper flashings should be installed, as well as house felt or builder's wrap.
  • Fading factor. More expensive vinyl siding tends to fade less than cheaper siding. Look for UV protection in the description, and ask about how it will stand up to sunlight. Also, if you live in a sunny climate, ask about whether a light color would fade less than a dark color.
  • Pick you profile. Some vinyl siding is designed with a deeper profile, or a more pronounced bend in the design of the siding. This generally looks more like wood. So consider the overall look of the siding, to be sure you get what you want.

How does vinyl siding generally compare with wood siding?

Upsides? It's often less expensive, cheaper to install, requires less maintenance (no painting), doesn't warp or twist, is impervious to water and bugs, and can vent moisture.


Downsides? Can be noisy, melt and burn. It can fade, chip, and crack from extremes in weather.

How long does vinyl siding last?

From about 25 to about 50 years.



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