Vinyl Siding, Good Or Bad?

By Larry Angell

There are many wonderful choices for making our homes look like they belong in the mainstream of popular home styles. Many of the new siding products have gone through a process of evolution that has made them superior choices.

What I mean by this is that the housing market has been inundated with new products over the years. However, not all products have been all-star performers and they have gone away. I recall working for Louisiana Pacific during the 80’s when they produced several new building products. They were the creators of wafer board or more correctly named Oriented-Strand-Board.

Wafer board was and still is an all-star seller. We also created several kinds of wood siding products, but many of them had to be recalled and the company took some huge losses that they still haven’t been able to recover from.

In the course of learning about exterior products, the housing market made a big shift from the uncertain future of wood siding products to vinyl and aluminum siding. There needed to be a siding product that would work in all kinds of weather and climates.


The initial problem with vinyl siding is that it would crack and distort from extreme temperature fluctuations. The problem with aluminum siding is that it would dent and sometimes crease during installation.

It seems that we as homeowners had to make a choice, between aesthetically pleasing siding products with an uncertain future or reliable building components with mediocre luster. In the end, most homeowners finally decided that the benefits of vinyl siding definitely out-performed wood siding. The choice we face now is whether we should buy vinyl or aluminum siding.

Both products have become very reliable and strong. As a homebuilder, I prefer the ease of use that comes with vinyl siding. I have used aluminum siding and it is fairly easy to use and quite economical, but it’s fails in most cases compared to vinyl. For me, vinyl siding wins hands-down in almost every situation.

The J-channel that wraps around windows and doors to hold the vinyl siding strips is a breeze to install. The starter strip at the bottom and the under sill strips at the top make hanging the vinyl strips the easiest part of the entire construction process.

I love working with vinyl siding. The best part is that you can turn your ugly duckling house into a beautiful swan in just a day or two.

Exterior coverings have come a long way. Most vinyl sidings will last up to two decades without fading. The plastic resin has been strengthened to remain fairly strong even in the dead of winter. It will still crack if you hit it hard enough, but hey, just don’t do that and it will be fine.

Most contractors prefer the versatility and the economical price of vinyl siding. That’s really where the majority of consumers have made the choice to use vinyl instead of anything else.

It is still a matter of choice. Any homeowner can have whatever he or she wants as long as it stays within code guidelines. But when the majority of homeowners make a statement like they’ve done with vinyl siding, it’s a good idea to pay attention.

Larry Angell

About the Author: Larry Angell is the author of Sweat Equity, building a house at half cost. He runs an instructional website about how to build homes that are strong financial tools, not financial burdens. He counsels low-income families how to obtain affordable housing and reach goals of home ownership.


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