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Vinyl Siding Facts and Information

Exterior Vinyl Siding Facts and Information.


Though vinyl siding has been around for over 50 years, it's still new to most homeowners. I bet you did not know that it had been around for so long, but it has. In 1959, Mastic Exteriors introduced the first vinyl siding but it didn't really catch on until the 80's.


Some think that aluminum is still a popular option for siding, but it actually is very rare for someone to reside their home with aluminum today. Aluminum siding is durable and requires less maintenance than wood does, but it can dent fairly easily as well as become very cold in the winter. Not an ideal choice.


The early vinyl siding panels that were popular twenty years ago were actually made fairly well, however in the past decade the quality has become much more varied. If you are not careful, you can easily end up with some very low quality vinyl siding that can buckle, warp, fade, chalk, kink, tear, rattle, and crack.


Let us take a look at some different types of vinyl siding panels.

Low Quality Vinyl Siding

You won't really be able to tell whether a panel of vinyl siding is of low quality, unless you're experienced, and stores certainly do not make an effort to point out whether their vinyl siding is low quality. If you know what to look for, it is fairly easy to determine the quality grade of the panel, so let's go over the key indications that a panel of vinyl siding is a lower end product.


Thickness: Feel the panel of vinyl siding and note the resistance. Does it feel rigid or flimsy? Poor quality vinyl siding definitely feels flimsy. You can also look at the "Gauge" which is the technical thickness of the panel. A lower gauge siding panel will fall between .035 and .040 thick.


You should never, ever accept any grade of vinyl siding that falls between these thicknesses, as they are almost guaranteed to buckle in the heat of the sun, crack in the cold, and look wavy.


Color: Look at the back of the siding panel and see if it is a gray color, or a different color than what is on the front. This is a indicator of low-end vinyl siding and you should never allow this type of siding to be installed on your home. The reason these colors are different is because the manufacturer only applies the color to a thin top layer. The color is not through and through, and it will chalk off eventually.


Line: Often you can tell whether siding is low end by the name of the product line. They refer to low grade siding as "Value Grade", "Budget Grade", "Contractor Grade" or "Builder Grade".


The reason they are referred to as "Contractor" or "Builder" grade are because they are a standard grade siding that is put on homes where people just hire a contractor without doing any research. Although this fact may seem strange to you, it's very true that most people never research any siding facts before they hire someone to install it on their home. Make sure to know what type of siding you want or don't want on your home.


BEFORE allowing the contractor to recommend what he likes. It is your home and you shouldn't be ignorant to these facts, get the right siding for your home that will not break down.


 A review of poor quality siding...

  • Flimsy to the touch
  • Easy to bend by hand
  • Thin nailing hem
  • Thin locking rail
  • Color isn't through and through
  • No dark colors available

Problems with poor quality exterior vinyl siding...

  • Tears off in the wind easily
  • Wavy appearance in the heat
  • Buckling during the shifts in temperature
  • Stains that won't come out
  • Discoloring and yellowing
  • Fading
  • Brittle in the cold
  • Cracks on impact
  • Chalking (color falling off)

Premium Grade Vinyl Siding

Respectable siding brands such as Certainteed, Alside, Mastic, Napco, Ply-Gem, and a few others all carry Premium Grade siding as their main offering. These companies will often be the manufacturer of lower grade siding as well, but they will typically use a different brand name so that their names are not associated with lower end materials. Tricky!

Premium grade sidings can be referred to Mid-Grade as well. A premium siding line will usually meet the minimum requirements that a homeowner would need on their home in order to protect it and keep it low maintenance and good looking for life. But it also depends on the installation quality, and you must do your own research into selecting an exterior vinyl siding installer that can put the siding on correctly.


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