Warping and buckling are problems associated with vinyl siding, these problems only occur when the siding is not properly installed.
vinyl sidingexpands and contracts as the outside temperature changes. In summer, when temperatures are high, vinyl expands. Vinyl siding is inexpensive, easy to obtain, popular, quick to install and easy to maintain.
All of these strong features point to vinyl siding as the ideal cladding solution for your home. Or is it? Vinyl siding, on the other hand, is prone to breakage, can be difficult to paint, and has a questionable impact on the resale value of your home. Before making the decision to install vinyl siding for houses, learn all about its strengths and drawbacks. There are few issues in the entire field of residential construction products that draw lines of battle as sharp as vinyl siding.
Proponents insist that it never needs painting, while its detractors insist that houses should never be covered with anything but real wood. As a building material, vinyl siding is relatively new, it was introduced in the late 1950s as a substitute for aluminum siding. But its reputation was tarnished in the early days when it cracked, faded, bent and sank. Continuous changes in product chemistry and installation techniques have improved product performance and increased acceptance by builders and homeowners.
In fact, vinyl has captured 32 percent of the U.S. UU. New home cladding market, no end in view of its growing popularity. The reason, in part, is because it is often (but not always) cheaper than red cedar or redwood and takes less time to install.
For many people, price isn't the problem at all; the real seduction of plastic siding is reduced maintenance. That's exactly why a guy like Tom Silva, general contractor for This Old House, put vinyl in his house 20 years ago. Installer Joe Fagone slides a 4-foot long cut to size panel of embossed tile siding around a window. Vinyl is a polymer formed during a chemical dosi-do between ethylene gas and chlorine, which produces a fine white powder called vinyl resin.
When melted and mixed with different additives, the resulting compound can be as stiff as a pipe, as flexible as a shower curtain, or durable enough to survive heavy foot traffic on the kitchen floor. The new virgin vinyl coating has a greater complement of key additives that impart flexibility and resistance to UV degradation. Some manufacturers will promote their product as 100% virgin (along with a mention of its supposed superiority), but most coatings are made with a remelted vinyl core coated with virgin material. Typically, vinyl siding is extruded through a die, but to produce the deepest patterns and sharpest edges, panels must be molded from polypropylene, a more expensive plastic.
Molded panels are typically no more than 4 feet long, while vinyl extrusions can be virtually any length. Hit a vinyl wall with your knuckles, and it will flex and sound hollow. This is because, in most cases, only a relatively small area of a vinyl panel rests against the siding. A thin panel, or one without support, is more likely to sag over time.
The thinnest coating that complies with the code is. The premium coating can be. Thicker liners tend to be stiffer and therefore more resistant to sagging, but stiffness also depends on other characteristics. Thinner, less rigid coatings can also be vacuumed out of a home when high winds blow.
Reading the manufacturer's warranty should give you a good indication of the product's ability to withstand adverse weather conditions. Some even meet the 146 mph wind code in hurricane-prone Miami, Florida. One liner, Wolverine Millennium, comes with a “won't explode” guarantee, and its literature states that it will withstand 180 mph winds, when properly nailed. A polypropylene cladding panel slides into a grooved corner of the same material.
Panels expand and contract with temperature changes and should not be installed tight to trim parts. In addition to J-channels, one feature that distinguishes vinyl from other coatings is its overlays. While the lengths of wood (or cement) siding lie at a discrete end, vinyl panels should overlap approximately 1 inch where they meet, resulting in revealing vertical lines. The thicker the vinyl, the more evident the overlap will be.
Compounding the problem, most vinyl siding panels are molded to represent double or even triple widths of slats. This drastically reduces installation time, but also makes panel overlays even more visible. A good installer will orient overlays away from dominant views, for example, when moving cladding from a back corner to a front corner. At the front of the house, panels should be installed so that the seams are less visible to someone approaching the front door.
Contrary to what many people expect, vinyl is less likely than wood to trap moisture, Tom says. And because it hangs loosely, air can move behind it. Just make sure your siding contractor first installs flashings and wrap the house or construction felt, just as you would under the wood siding. Every quality vinyl siding job starts with the contractor.
Feel free to ask potential installers for their certifications, most major manufacturers certify installers with the right installation techniques and the names of satisfied customers. Also consult grievance lists established with local and state trade associations, as well as state contractor licensing boards. The liner is nailed loosely through horizontal slots in the hem at the top of each panel. Firmly nailed plastic liner can bend on very hot days.
The L-shaped clip under the nailing groove snaps into a channel on the back of the top panel. Repairing a damaged panel is simple. With a zipper tool and a flick of his wrist, Tom simply unhooks it from the top and bottom, and then pulls out his nails. A new panel can be snapped into place, nailed and re-attached.
The biggest problem is matching the spare part with the surrounding parts, which will undoubtedly have faded away. Then replace that piece with the new unfaded length. All vinyl siding will fade a little. After 10 to 15 years, the change can be significant.
When that happens, or if you simply want to change its color, vinyl can be painted, however counterproductive it may seem. Check with the manufacturer first; many companies void the warranty if the coating is painted. But don't count on changing a house from pale yellow to hunter green; dark colors absorb more heat than lighter colors and can cause panels to expand too much and buckle. For the same reason, vinyl's color palette is limited to lighter shades.
Whether the vinyl siding is good or not depends a lot on the quality of the product and the installation work. But he really doesn't like to paint. CertainTeed Monogram Finder (Light Maple) Get the latest This Old House news, trusted tips, tricks and smart DIY projects from our experts, straight to your inbox. Please enter a valid email and try again.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) maintains strict workplace exposure limits for coating plant employees. Gold and Judith Helfand's film about vinyl siding manufacturing and a woman's search for an alternative was partly responsible for the current prejudice against the product. However, vinyl siding is typically installed over a layer of styrene insulation board, which can trap water vapor within the wall cavity. Whether you're investing in a new vinyl siding or looking for a siding replacement, you need to do your homework by hiring contractors to tackle this project.
Soon, Steve Mouzon joined the group and began a lively discussion about what manufacturers could do to make vinyl siding attractive to architects. To keep the vinyl siding looking its best, it should be washed periodically to remove mold, dirt and calcareous rust that builds up on the surface. While I lost count of how many problems my customers had with vinyl siding, I had NEVER had a customer complain about James Hardie fiber cement siding. That said, if you want to restore or change the color of your vinyl siding through residential exterior paint, this material is very receptive to paint.
Although vinyl remains the most successful of all exterior siding products, with nearly one-third of the total siding market in the U.S. UU. and Canada, this market share has been reduced to fiber cement. Based on lifecycle models, such as BEES (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability, which was developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology as a way to compare construction products from a lifecycle perspective), vinyl siding proved to have a lower environmental impact than most other coatings except wood.
While vinyl surfaces are moisture resistant, the shape of vinyl siding plates (along with their layered installation) can trap water between the plates and the insulating layers. I like fiber cement for certain applications and have used it, but it's not a better environmental option than vinyl siding. Like the steel siding industry, Dunay challenged vinyl siding manufacturers to explore coating products unique to the inimitable qualities of their material. In contrast, vinyl siding is quite durable and withstands the forces of moisture, wind, extreme temperatures, sunlight and more.