Ahh, so the question remains, do you re-side your North Attleboro house with vinyl siding or go the more natural route with cedar clapboard or shingles. We’re not going to make the decision for you, but we’ll outline some benefits of vinyl siding along with some tips and advice and let you be the judge.
Vinyl Siding Vs Wood
There are few subjects in the carpentry realm that get as much debate over vinyl versus wood. As there are republicans and democrats, vegetarians and carnivores, PC and Mac users – there are contractors that insist on vinyl or wood. Those who harp on the benefits of low maintenance vinyl face detractor’s that live on a principle that houses should never be covered with anything but real wood. But lets face the facts, vinyl has captured 32 percent of the U.S. siding market for new homes, with indications of only growing popularity. Truth is, vinyl has made leaps and bounds in terms of appearance and durability since it was introduced in the 50’s as a substitute for aluminum siding. The advances in the products chemistry and installation techniques have just about eliminated its past performance issues with cracking, fading, buckling, and sagging. Today’s vinyl products are thicker, stronger, and more resilient to the weather. In addition to its durability, most vinyl products come in a variety of colors and textures to mimic a wood-like appearance.
Benefits of Vinyl Siding
The most common benefits of vinyl siding are cheaper costs and lower maintenance. If cost is an important factor to you, you’ll be pleased to know that not only the material itself is cheaper than wood, but that it’s quicker and cheaper to install as well. Installation costs for clapboard can be up to 2.5 times (or more) higher than vinyl siding. Most vinyl siding panels are molded to represent double or even triple widths of clapboards. The installation processes between the two are significantly different as well. While wood siding is fastened tightly to the house, vinyl siding literally hangs from nails driven through horizontal slots at the top of a panel’s nailing hem. The loose nailing technique is necessary for the materials need to expand or contract during temperature changes. Nailing the vinyl too tight can cause it to buckle on those hot New England summer days. Those who are concerned less with the costs of siding their house typically falls into the category of maintenance worries. Vinyl, hands down, carries the least weight of maintenance required. That being said, it’s not maintenance-free. To keep vinyl siding looking new, it requires a periodic wash to remove (or prevent) any mold, mildew, dirt, and other sought that collects on the surface. We recommend a soft-bristle brush and bucket with 30/70 mix of vinegar and water. If that doesn’t cut it, The Vinyl Siding Institute also suggests mixing 1/3 cup laundry detergent, 1 quart liquid laundry bleach, 2/3 cup powdered household cleaner, and 1 gallon water. Brushing it on from the bottom up and then gently hosing it off is the best practice for cleaning siding. While pressure washers might seem more efficient, the high-pressure can drive water behind the panels. Last but not least, vinyl is impervious to termites and wood eating insects – of course, there’s still a layer of wood behind the siding.
Vinyl Siding Aesthetics
We’ve covered the common benefits of vinyl siding, but the thought of compromising appearance might still be hovering like a dark cloud. Some people like the look of vinyl siding; others prefer a more natural look. There are some tricks that can be applied to the installation of vinyl that make it look more like clapboard. Consider using wood (or composite) trim on the ends of your house rather than running the vinyl directly to the edge into the corner post or J-channel. Also, run a 6-10” (depending on the height of the house) trim board horizontally at the base where you’d normally start your first row of siding. The trim resembles most clapboard built houses which trick the mind in believing the vinyl is actually clapboard. The trim can also offer a nice contrast to the siding assuming they’re not the same color.
Vinyl Siding Contractor
So what’s the verdict? Personally, we really feel like the choice between vinyl and wood siding should be decided based on the homeowner’s needs and the home itself. For instance, if you’re covering up a historic home with existing clapboard and molding because you simply want less maintenance, you may want to reconsider the value of such a thing. There are many instances though that vinyl makes perfect sense. If you’d like to chat about your next siding project, contact us and one of our experienced contractors can offer some insight. We’re North Attleboro’s leading vinyl siding contractor for a reason; our excellence in the industry is driven by our unsurpassed quality of work.