Vinyl siding was once the ugly stepsister its competitors like wood clapboard, wood shingles, and even aluminum. When it was first introduced in the 1950s this product had its problems, not the least of which were fading, cracking, and buckling. Modern vinyl siding has benefited from technological and manufacturing process improvements, and according to the US Census Bureau has become the siding of choice for more homeowners and builders than any other siding material.
Properties of Vinyl and Vinyl Siding
Vinyl is a polymer (a type of plastic). It is produced in the form of a powder (vinyl resin) that can be combined with different additives to create wide variety of vinyl compounds used for items as diverse as raincoats and fencing. Siding is applied to the exterior of a house. Its purpose is to shed water and protect the structure from the elements and environmental factors. Vinyl siding is often used in combination with vinyl soffit and trim elements to achieve a cohesive exterior in the style and color desired by the homeowner. Vinyl siding is often less expensive than alternatives like wood. It is also relatively easy to install and maintenance-free.
The Quality of Vinyl Siding
The quality of vinyl siding is greatly determined by its gauge. The thicker the vinyl siding, the greater its durability. Additionally, vinyl siding made from polypropylene and other high-quality plastics offer the greatest pattern realism, deepest color, and cleanest edges. Vinyl siding is one product where cost is a good indication of quality. The Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI)-an industry organization that promotes quality in the manufacture and installation of vinyl siding-has initiated a set of quality standards and certification programs to ensure consumers get the best performance from their vinyl siding. Vinyl siding products certified by VSI meet or exceed ASTM standards and are a good indication of quality manufacture.
Variety in Vinyl Siding
Vinyl siding is frequently used as an economical substitute for wood siding, as such, the siding panels often imitate wood in their look. Common siding panels include Dutch Lap, D4/D5 (two rows of wood with 4"/5" exposure), T3 (three rows of wood with 3" exposure) and Beaded profiles. Other forms imitate scalloped shingles, cedar, flat plank, brick, and stone. Vinyl comes in a range of light to medium colors. New products in vinyl siding include vinyl siding fused to a foam backing material and insulative foam underlayments that fit snugly behind the siding to provide strength, energy efficiency, rigidity, and deaden sound.