Vinyl Siding

If you are choosing new siding, don't choose vinyl siding. There are lots of better products that have fewer problems and last much longer. If you already have vinyl siding, read on and plan on replacing the siding - something that is not necessary with many other siding products.

Vinyl siding does not rot or peel and it can work quite well in most standard home designs. But it's not fool proof and from what I see in the field, some of this siding is installed by fools. For example, most siding application instructions require a gap of 1" or more between the bottom of the siding and any horizontal surface. This is a common detail in almost all siding applications and is commonly done with most siding products. However, from what I can see many of the vinyl siding applications pay little attention to such details. As a result, water can wick up behind the siding. The siding will not rot, the wall behind it will.

The bigger problems with vinyl siding occur at structures where the siding is not protected by a good roof overhang or where the siding is exposed to wind blown rain. For example, I have seen many serious leaks and damage at balconies with vinyl siding on the balcony railing walls.

As I see it, the problem with the vinyl siding is related to it's promise of a "lifetime" and "no maintenance product". The product is being oversold and this hype seems to permeate the industry down to the installers.

Vinyl is not a bad siding product on certain types of homes. It requires quality installation work and attention to manufacturers specifications. It does need to be washed from time to time. It gets damaged by heat from BBQs (yes it melts and burns). It also gets damaged by baseballs etc. and it can be very hard to repair because it is often very difficult to find matching replacement pieces.

Note: Vinyl siding is made out of Polyvinyl Chloride - PVC. PVC has some potentially serious toxicity problems during manufacture and disposal. I don't recommend the use of PVC containing materials such as: pipes, vinyl siding and some roofing membranes.