Vinyl was the second most popular type of siding for new homes constructed in the United States in 2021. Although stucco was the top choice of siding materials nationwide, vinyl is by far the top pick in colder climates – including the Midwest where approximately one out of two homes have it.
Why Is Vinyl Siding So Popular?
Vinyl siding comes with a laundry list of advantages. Above all else, vinyl is durable: incapable of rotting or corroding, inedible to insects, capable of withstanding severe weather, and immune to warping when it becomes wet. Its longevity makes vinyl a particularly appealing option to homeowners who want a cost-effective solution to protecting their most valuable investment.
Instead of painting, vinyl only requires infrequent cleaning. It is energy efficient, as it excels at preventing heat from transferring from the wall studs to the exterior of the home. It is also relatively inexpensive, available in virtually any color and texture you could name, and easy to install.
Perhaps most importantly, vinyl siding is attractive. Homebuyers find it so impressive that you can reasonably expect a 95% return on investment when you invest in new vinyl siding for your home!
Is Vinyl the Best Type of Siding?
If vinyl truly were superior in every conceivable way, then other types of siding would no longer be available. This is obviously not the case, which leads us to an important point: although it makes an excellent choice for any home’s exterior, vinyl does have pros and cons relative to other types of siding.
Let’s compare vinyl’s performance to the four other most popular types of siding in the United States: stucco, fiber cement, brick and wood. That will give you a better idea of your options, and help you decide whether vinyl is the right investment in your upcoming construction or exterior remodeling project!
Vinyl vs. Stucco
Stucco is longer-lasting than vinyl. Whereas vinyl typically lasts between 30 and 40 years, stucco can endure for as long as a century so long as it receives reasonable maintenance. And while vinyl is by no means visually unappealing, many homeowners find stucco’s aesthetics to be insuperable. If you’re not a fan of synthetic materials, then you are likely to prefer stucco’s rustic charm.
Stucco does require significantly more maintenance than vinyl, however. Once its surface develops a crack, you have the options of immediately fixing it or allowing it to spread. Stucco costs more than vinyl as well. Even the highest-quality top-of-the-line vinyl usually costs substantially less than standard grade stucco.
Vinyl vs. Fiber Cement
Vinyl’s flexibility and inability to absorb water both make it intensely durable. That said, premium brands of fiber cement siding are substantially thicker than vinyl, and accordingly boast superior resistance to impact. Fiber cement is also considerably more resistant to fire damage. While vinyl siding is available with very convincing wood patterns, thicker fiber cement is able to hold an even more authentic texture. And like stucco, fiber cement is devoid of petroleum products – something to consider if you’re especially committed to environmental conservation.
It is certainly possible to adequately insulate fiber cement siding, although vinyl siding’s availability with built-in insulation does make it a more natural complement to an energy-efficient home. Vinyl’s lighter weight and lower material costs both contribute to its more affordable installation. Whereas fiber cement siding requires regular painting and caulking, vinyl does not need any such maintenance.
Vinyl vs. Brick
Brick has been around for about 9,000 years, and it’s showing no signs of going obsolete anytime soon. Homeowners love the natural material for its timeless aesthetics, ability to withstand several centuries of constant exposure to the elements without becoming worse for wear, relatively low maintenance needs, and outstanding resistance to fire.
Vinyl has brick beat when it comes to upfront costs. Even if you opt for brick veneer siding, you’re going to pay significantly more for installation (thanks in no small part to dense brick’s high shipping costs). Brick is porous, which means it’s more inclined to let water seep into your home. And while brick is available in a wide range of colors, it comes nowhere near the selection of colors offered by vinyl.
Vinyl vs. Wood
If you love the natural aesthetics of wood, then you probably already believe that no synthetic material can replace it. We won’t try to convince you otherwise. Because wood is natural, it is also biodegradable, so you can take satisfaction that your siding will never take up space in a landfill. Wood is also unaffected by dramatic changes in temperature, which makes it especially suitable for the Midwest where the weather is characterized by its crazed unpredictability.
Wood does require an extraordinary amount of maintenance, however. You may regret choosing it over vinyl while you’re restaining it every four or so years. Unlike vinyl, wood is edible to termites and other insects. It is more vulnerable to water damage as well, and may warp in thick humidity. Finally, wood’s complicated installation process means it always costs more than vinyl. That’s just the price you have to pay for natural aesthetics!
Are you still uncertain whether vinyl represents your best choice of siding? If you live in the greater St Cloud, Little Falls, Alexandria or Brainerd, MN areas, then we welcome you to contact Exterior Pro today for guidance! We’ll help you understand whether vinyl is the best choice in light of your budget and design goals, and also provide you with a zero-obligation free estimate. Whether you’re building anew, remodeling, or undoing storm damage to your home, you can count on our team to give you the facts and nothing else!