Pros and Cons

Pros:

You can get a great quality vinyl that will withstand the lawnmower rocks, etc. I would suggest a Norandex product. You can easily remove a single damaged piece of vinyl siding.

If I were doing my home I would choose vinyl. But just remember, you get what you pay for. Look at the premier brands and compare them to the cheaper ones. There is a big difference.

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According to Remodeling magazine (October 1996), investing in new siding can be an excellent choice in terms of payback. In the West, a homeowner can recoup 65% of the cost of siding in terms of resale value added to the home. In the East, the payback is 76%. In the South, it's 84%. And in the Midwest, the cost recouped is 69%.

www.alside.com    

 

Cellular vinyl siding is reportedly just around the corner. It is a higher priced, but more wood-like type of vinyl. This will be a thicker, co-extruded product that looks and feels more like wood. According to the May 1993 issue of Modern Plastics, some industry experts predict that such a product may capture a "double digit share of the market within a year after introduction."

From an environmental standpoint, vinyl siding offers advantages of avoided air pollution that results from painting or staining wood and hardboard siding. It is less energy intensive than aluminum siding but also less recyclable.

Nadav Malin, Alex Wilson, www.buildinggreen.com    

Cons:

Vinyl siding can be recycled, but current technology permits recycling only of new vinyl (factory scraps and job-site cutoffs), not old siding removed during remodeling or demolition. At least two companies produce vinyl siding with (pre-consumer) recycled vinyl, according to the Vinyl Institute.

Because of its significantly greater material use (and the environmental impacts relating to PVC production) cellular vinyl siding will be less attractive environmentally than the present solid vinyl siding. Locally milled pine or spruce siding, and various composite siding products with recycled fiber content, may be preferable to vinyl, despite the greater maintenance requirements.

Nadav Malin, Alex Wilson, www.buildinggreen.com    

Vinyl products offer fewer color choices than painted or stained wood. And even though better grades (.042 in. thick or more) are rugged, they can still be damaged by impact, severe wind, and heat from a nearby barbecue grill or the sun reflecting off a window. Repairing vinyl is not as easy as repairing wood, and vinyl, by itself, offers little in the way of insulation compared to wood. Some vinyl sidings, however, are available with insulating inserts or backings, which boost their R-value significantly. The new, deep-color vinyl products can be problematic as well. Although some are backed by a 25-year fade resistance warranty, the deeper colors will absorb more heat, which can cause expansion problems and leave the siding looking wavy or rippled.

When choosing vinyl siding look for products that are certified under the Vinyl Siding Institute's certification program. Second, choose a thicker and more rigid product to better resist warping and cracks. Siding with a deeper profile will generally be more rigid. Also, look for products with reinforced nailing hems (hems are where you nail the panels to the sheathing), which helps prevent high winds from tearing them off. Finally, take the time to carefully read the warranty information. Despite reassuring words like "lifetime" and "50-year warranty" written in bold type, most of these promises are loaded with loopholes that favor the manufacturer.

At least one manufacturer, Nailite International, makes vinyl-like shingle panels from polypropylene. They are thicker than most vinyl sidings and colors are available with shading to create a weathered look.

Joe Provey, "How to change the skin — and appearance — on your home," Popular Mechanics.