Vinyl siding gets a bad rap. Early versions of vinyl siding were prone to cracking and warping, but the latest siding is durable standing up to water, pests, and even the most intense weather. Vinyl is the least expensive of all types of siding to install because of its light weight and ability to be installed directly over your existing surface– even if that surface is brick or stucco. Additionally, new vinyl siding looks great. It comes in a variety of styles, textures, and colors as well as being able to convincingly mimic the look of more expensive materials like cedar shakes and stone. If you’re still on the fence about vinyl siding, here are a few reasons to strongly consider vinyl siding for your home:
- You can create the same warmth and richness as wood or stone at a fraction of the price. Plus, unlike lumber, vinyl is resistant to water damage and pest infestation in addition to being able to withstand high winds.
- Insulated vinyl siding will reflect radiant heat, reducing thermal conductivity to keep your home cool and your energy bills low. Insulated vinyl siding also significantly reduces noise pollution from outside your home.
- Vinyl isn’t boring! It comes in an array of styles including geometric patterns that add interesting architectural detail to your home.
- The color on vinyl siding won’t fade away like wood and other alternative sidings.
- Vinyl siding is virtually maintenance free. Wash away dirt easily with your garden hose.
- If you live in an area prone to hurricanes or tornadoes, there are brands of vinyl siding that can stand up to 240 mph winds. Depending on the type of vinyl siding you invest in, you may even be eligible for a reduction in your insurance premiums.
Types of Vinyl Siding
There are three basic types of vinyl siding for your home– vertical, horizontal, and shakes/scallops.
- Vertical siding, also known as “board and batten” runs vertically up and down your home. It consists of wide boards with a smaller board or “batten” used to seal the crack where the two wide boards meet, making your siding weather tight and helping to keep the harsh winter winds out.
- Horizontal or clapboard siding runs across the house horizontally. You may also hear it referred to as “traditional lap.” Horizontal vinyl siding comes is several popular styles such as Dutch Lap, Beaded, and Flat. It also comes in many different textures that create the look of real wood.
- Cedar shakes are very beautiful, giving your home a warm rustic charm. Cedar is a rich, hardy wood with beautiful colors and hues. It also withstands the weather better than most other woods. That said, cedar shake is very expensive and requires a high degree of maintenance. Vinyl cedar shake can give you the same stunning look without the high cost or high maintenance.
Homeowners often combine several different types and styles of siding to create a unique architectural look. For instance, some homeowners will use vinyl cedar shake and scallops as trim to separate different sections of the home.
Cleaning and Maintaining Your Vinyl Siding
Most of the time, you’ll be able to keep your vinyl siding looking great with a simple wash from the garden hose. For a more intense cleaning though, wash your siding with a soft cloth or soft bristle brush. For textured surfaces, use only a soft bristle brush to keep the grooves in the texture stain-free. For best results, start at the bottom of the house and work up then rinse the cleaning solution completely before it dries so that it doesn’t leave a residue.
If you prefer, you can use a pressure washer, but be careful to hold the washer straight at eye level to keep the water on top of the siding where it can clean most effectively. Do not aim the power washer upward as water may go behind the siding, which could damage the siding or create a space for mold to develop. That said, make sure you follow your siding manufacturer’s recommendations for best results and so that you don’t inadvertently void your warranty. Some manufacturers don’t want pressure washers used on their products at all. Others allow them, but have limitations on the amount of pressure and the cleaners that can be used.
Vinyl Siding is a Great Investment
Finally, if you’re looking to sell your home soon, vinyl siding is one of the best ways to increase your home’s curb appeal. According to the 2016 Cost vs. Value report, upgrading your siding can yield a 77% rate of return on your investment when you sell your home. Even if you are planning to stay in your home for years, your vinyl siding will increase the attractiveness of your home and make it more energy efficient while you live there. Plus, most vinyl siding comes with a lifetime warranty, so you’ll reap the benefits of your investment throughout the life of your home.