Vinyl has been the most common siding material used in new home construction for the last 25 years. That means there are tens of millions of existing homes with vinyl siding out there, and many more being built each year. If you're a homeowner with vinyl siding, or considering a vinyl siding replacement or installation, here's what you need to know.
1. Vinyl is cheap, but not always the cheapest.
Affordability is one of vinyl siding's chief selling points, and it can be very cost-effective. But as with all siding materials, vinyl price goes up with quality. For example, a premium vinyl siding will cost about $16,000 to install, according to HomeAdvisor's True Cost Guide, while a mid-level fiber cement siding will cost around $12,000. So, if you're looking to reside your home on a budget, consider vinyl but don't rule out other materials.
2. Vinyl is known to yield a high return on investment.
Even with the price variability, vinyl siding has been known to deliver tremendous value, with a return on investment (or ROI) of around 75 percent, according to Remodeling magazine's 2020 Cost vs. Value study. That's because it combines competitive pricing and performance with constantly improving looks, thanks to a wide variety of colors and styles, from beaded seam to board and batten.
3. It's not right for all climates.
Even with the continued improvements to latest-generation vinyl, it's not the best choice for all regions. For example, the material tends to fade over time, so if you live in a hot, sunny climate, you're probably better off with stucco. Vinyl is also prone to damage from wind and cold-weather impact, so if your home takes a lot hits in the winter, wood or fiber cement siding are better options.
4. Proper installation is critical.
While vinyl is relatively easy to install, shoddy work can lead to buckling and warping, and it could also allow moisture to find its way into your home. Unless you're a highly experienced DIYer, this project is best left to the pros. For good measure, look for pros who are certified by the Vinyl Siding Institute.
Think twice about working with a pro who recommends applying a new layer of vinyl siding over the existing one on your home. While this is technically possible, it's best to remove the old siding so that you can start fresh and also deal with any underlying issues, such as termite damage or rotted sheathing.
5. Low-maintenance doesn't mean no-maintenance
Yes, vinyl siding is easy to care for - no periodic painting required, as with wood siding, or the repointing that's needed with a brick facade. But you will have to pay some attention to your vinyl siding, namely by keeping it clean. A simple garden hose will take of dirt and dust. Mildew stains can be removed with soapy water and a scrub brush. A pressure washer will also blast away heavy build-up. Just be sure to use a low-power setting to avoid spraying water and grime up between the siding and the wall, where it can cause mold and rot.
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