History of Vinyl Siding

PVC was first produced in a laboratory in 1872. In the 1930s, vinyl siding began to be produced commercially. Techniques for mixing it with plasticizers became known and PVC emerged as a substitute for rubber. During World War II, German scientists developed PVC pipe for water supply systems when material shortages limited conventional pipe supplies...

...Today the North American PVC market is dominated by about a dozen large manufacturers. A few of these, such as Occidental Petroleum, Inc., operate facilities for all phases of the process, from chlorine and ethylene production to end products. Most, however, purchase some of the refined materials from other producers. Dow Chemical Company produces large quantities of vinyl chloride for sale to other companies but produces no PVC itself.




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Vinyl siding was introduced in the early 1960s, but did not gain much attention until the 70s. Since 1986, its use has doubled, reaching 2.2 billion square feet in 1992. Siding is the second largest market for PVC resin, with 1 billion pounds used in 1992 by about about 20 manufacturers. While vinyl siding was initially sold almost exclusively for remodeling, today more than a third of vinyl siding is used in new construction.

Vinyl siding is manufactured by coextrusion: two layers of PVC are laid down in a continuous extrusion process. The top layer (weatherable capstock), includes about 10% titanium dioxide, which is a pigment and provides resistance to breakdown from UV light. The lower layer (substrate) is typically about 15% calcium carbonate, which balances the titanium dioxide to keep both extrusion streams equally fluid during manufacturing. A small quantity of tin mercaptan or butadiene (less than 1%) is added as a stabilizer to chemically tie up any hydrochloric acid that is released into the PVC material as the siding ages. Lubricants are also added to aid in the manufacturing process.

Nadav Malin, Alex Wilson, www.buildinggreen.com