If you are tired of painting your wood siding or just want to give your home’s exterior a makeover, you may be considering vinyl siding. After all, vinyl siding takes little time to install, costs less than your other options and is available in just the right color. However, before you ask a contractor to install vinyl siding on your house, you should know that you may not be choosing the best option.
Vinyl siding’s appearance is certainly better than it was in its early days. The range of styles and colors has been greatly expanded, but there is no way that it will be mistaken for wood by even casual observers. It is molded plastic, so it is impossible to disguise it as anything other than what it is. Furthermore, it is prone to fading, cracking and warping, making it look even worse.
The manufacturers of vinyl siding claim that it is a maintenance-free product that requires little more than a quick hosing every year or two. They also claim that it should give you up to 30 years of beautiful life. However, in Central Texas, homeowners are lucky if their vinyl siding lasts more than 10 years. The color will start to fade within a few years, and although it is technically possible to paint vinyl siding, it is much easier said than done. Hot summer weather can cause the planks to warp or split; high humidity levels can promote the growth of algae, mildew and mold.
Even when it is new, vinyl siding is somewhat fragile, and it becomes more fragile and brittle as it ages. Medium-sized hailstones are often sufficient to knock holes in vinyl siding. If your lawnmower sends a rock into your siding, you can expect to find a hole. A high wind can send debris flying into your house, resulting in damaged siding.
If you are expecting vinyl siding to lower your energy bill, prepare to be disappointed. Unless you also invest in rigid foam insulation behind the siding, additional attic insulation and weather stripping for your windows and doors, vinyl siding is not going to have a significant impact on your energy costs.
Similar to painting vinyl siding, recycling it is theoretically possible, but it is highly improbable. Less than 1 percent of vinyl siding is recycled as most recyclers do not accept products that contain PVC. This means that most vinyl siding ends up in a landfill. Furthermore, the manufacture of PVC produces a variety of carcinogens and greenhouse gases.
Although fiber cement siding is virtually impossible to burn, vinyl siding is flammable. To make matters even worse, when it burns, vinyl siding emits potentially lethal fumes that can harm occupants in the home as well as neighbors and passers-by.
Impact on Property Value
If you are planning to sell your home, vinyl siding may lower its value even if the siding is recently installed. This is especially true if you have a historically significant home, but it can also be true if you have a recently built Victorian; some architectural styles simply do not “look right” with vinyl siding.
Value vs. Cost
Although the initial cost of vinyl siding may be cheaper than other alternatives, it is seldom the best value. Consider how many times you will need to replace the vinyl siding during your lifetime. Multiply that number by the cost of installing the siding, keeping in mind that prices will likely increase over time. Now compare that total with the cost to install a longer-lasting siding such as fiber cement. The product with the lower lifetime cost is the better value — and is highly unlikely to be vinyl siding.
Contact Alpha for Help With Your Siding
Alpha Roofing is an Austin siding contractor and would be happy to advise you on your siding options. We are an experienced, award-winning, well-respected contractor offering siding and roof repairs, moss and debris removal, metal roofing systems, asphalt shingle installations, skylight installations,maintenance plans, roof inspections and many other services. We provide exceptional results at competitive rates. To request a free quote, give us a call at (512) 777-1086 or submit our handy online form.
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