What Is the Problem With Vinyl Siding? Exploring Issues and Alternatives

You’ve lived in your neighborhood for years. 

You’ve seen new houses sprout up from empty lots practically overnight. Over the years, you’ve watched old neighbors move, but not before remodeling their home’s siding. Maybe you’ve even watched new neighbors move in, only to strip the siding off of their newly purchased homes. 

There is little you don’t notice happening in your neighborhood, and now you’re realizing your house is the only one on the block that still has vinyl siding.

What changed?

Time has turned the clock on vinyl siding, and new alternatives are not only more attractive, they’re more functional. In this article, we will review common problems with vinyl siding and examine a few alternatives that will leave your home protected, valued, and gorgeous. 

Table of Contents

  • 10 Common Problems With Vinyl Siding
  • What Is the Life Expectancy of Vinyl Siding?
  • 3 Alternatives to Vinyl Siding
  • Which Siding Option Is Best for Your Home?
  • Lifetime Remodeling Systems: Providing Portland With Quality and Luxury Siding Remodels Since 1997

10 Common Problems With Vinyl Siding

#1: Fading

Vinyl siding is prone to UV damage which causes fading. A common problem with vinyl siding is uneven fading or discoloration. It’s one thing to have siding that has clearly lost its freshness, and another to have a house that is four different shades due to fading. 

This can be an issue if you’re trying to sell your home or keep up with the Joneses.

#2: Melting

In extremely warm climates, vinyl siding is prone to melting from the intense heat. However, this has been reported to occur in temperate climates as well. 

When insulated glass is used for windows, sunlight can become concentrated from the reflection and magnification. This creates an effect similar to a magnifying glass and may lead to melted or burned vinyl. 

#3: Cracking

Cracking is a common problem with vinyl siding, especially if you live in an area where the temperature fluctuates. 

Like metal, vinyl slowly contracts and expands when exposed to cold or heat. If one day it’s moderately warm and the next freezing cold, the sudden temperature change could cause the vinyl to expand and contract too quickly which can result in cracks. 

#4: Warping

Extreme temperatures and moisture buildup can cause vinyl siding to warp and buckle. Warping can cause vinyl siding to gape between panels and expose a home’s interior walls to pests and the elements. 

#5: Moisture Build-up

Inadequate seals around windows and doors may be another common issue. 

When it is improperly installed or repaired, water can get behind vinyl siding. Over time this can lead to mildew, mold, and water damage that may endanger your home’s structural integrity and health. 

#6: Noise

Do you live in a highly trafficked area? Tired of hearing your neighbors do lawn work at 8 a.m. on a weekend — your one chance to sleep in? Then you may not want to choose vinyl siding for your remodel. 

A common problem with vinyl siding is noise. 

Due to its nature and thickness, vinyl siding often vibrates against the mounting system causing noise and disruption to amplify. Extra measures can be taken to prevent this, but there is no guarantee.

#7: Weather Damage

Even a small piece of hail could damage vinyl siding. Dents and chips may prompt the need for repairs over time. Vinyl siding is prone to more repairs than wood, stone, or fiber cement siding. 

#8: Not Environmentally-Sustainable

Vinyl siding is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

This petroleum-based product is an unlikely candidate for recycling once it needs to be replaced. Whereas cedar or stone siding is naturally sourced from environmentally friendly materials, vinyl siding must be manufactured. Therefore it leaves a bigger impact on the environment than the alternatives. 

#9: Pests

While vinyl siding claims to be entirely pest-resistant, it may still be prone to pest damage. The issue is not that pests will eat the siding itself, it is that pests can easily get behind the vinyl siding and damage the wood underneath. 

This can often be attributed to poor installation or manufacturing. HardiePlank is a vinyl siding alternative that securely hugs the foundation of your house making it difficult for pests to nest and live behind the siding

#10: Low-Quality Appearance

Vinyl siding looks unnatural. On older-styled and more classical homes it could detract from their historical appeal and unique nature. 

In neighborhoods where the houses are made with more natural-looking materials like fiber cement, cedar, or stone siding, your house with vinyl siding may stand out like a sore thumb. It may even be valued less than some of the other comparable homes in your neighborhood. 

What Is the Life Expectancy of Vinyl Siding?

Vinyl siding can last up to 20 to 40 years. Over time, it will need routine maintenance and repairs to resolve any cracking, bending, melting, or fading. If you choose to paint your siding, you may need to repaint it every five to ten years. 

3 Alternatives to Vinyl Siding

#1: James Hardie Siding

James Hardie siding, like HardiePlank, is a great vinyl siding alternative due to:

  • Curb appeal: HardiePlank comes in an array of different colors, styles, and textures. If you would like a more natural look, James Hardie offers siding that simulates the texture and appearance of wood siding. In contrast to vinyl siding, fiber cement siding does not look cheap or plastic-like. 
  • Durability: Fiber cement siding is generally thicker than vinyl and less prone to harsh environmental conditions. Unlike vinyl siding, HardiePlank does not warp, bend, melt, or crack.
  • Longevity: HardiePlank can withstand, on average, 50 years before it needs replacing. 
  • Protection: Fiber cement siding is designed to be fire-resistant. With fiber cement siding, the material is built to stagnate flames which makes the fire burn and spread slower than vinyl siding.
  • UV light exposure: Fiber cement siding, like HardiePlank, is the superior choice for UV fade resistance. 
  • Maintenance: HardiePlank is just as easy to clean and maintain as vinyl siding. 

HardiePlank may also add more resale value and have a better ROI than vinyl siding. 

According to the 2023 Remodeling Impact Report, fiber cement siding, like HardiePlank, scored 86% on cost recovery, as opposed to vinyl siding’s score of 82%. Another report found that fiber cement siding can add an average of $17,129 of value to your home, whereas vinyl siding was reported to add $15,485 in average value. 

HardiePlank is the number one installed product of Lifetime Remodeling Systems. This luxury product is unparalleled when it comes to design and quality. 

We are a Certified Elite Preferred HardiePlank contractor. We are one of the few remodeling and building firms in Portland with this certification. What this means is that we have access to HardiePlank’s extensive collection of superior fiber cement siding. We also have the knowledge and experience to work with and install HardiePlank. 

Schedule a consultation today to learn more about how HardiePlank is the best vinyl siding alternative. 

#2: Cedar Siding

Cedar siding, like Real Cedar, is an excellent choice over vinyl due to the following reasons:

  • Curb appeal: Real Cedar siding is gorgeous and can work with many house shapes and styles. There are many ways you can play with cedar siding to accentuate the height, width, and beauty of your home. 
  • Durability: Cedar siding can withstand multiple climates and fluctuating temperatures better than vinyl.
  • Longevity: Wood siding, like cedar, can last up to 20–40 years on average. In the right climate, coupled with great maintenance, cedar siding can last up to 60–70 years. 
  • Protection: Wood siding has great thermal and sound insulation. 
  • UV light exposure: Cedar siding may face some UV fading. However, it is naturally moisture-repellant, making it ideal for homes in the Pacific Northwest where clouds and rain are constant companions. 
  • Maintenance: Cedar siding requires more frequent maintenance than vinyl siding. However, the maintenance required for cedar siding only involves a quick staining every 3–5 years.

Cedar siding is the more environmentally friendly choice for those opting for more environmentally sustainable homes. It is also more energy efficient. 

To measure energy efficiency correctly, we must consider each siding’s R-value without insulation. R-value is the measurement of how well a two-dimensional barrier resists thermal flow. Without insulation, cedar has an R-value of .81 to .87, whereas vinyl siding only has a .67 R-value. 

This means cedar siding is more efficient at keeping your house warm or cool. So with wood siding, like Real Cedar, you may spend less on gas/electricity and have a smaller carbon footprint. 

Lifetime Remodeling Systems works with Real Cedar to gain access to premium cedar siding material. You can work with our design team to find the right siding style and color during your first consultation. Contact us to schedule your free estimate. 

#3: Cultured Stone Siding

Manufactured stone veneer siding, like Cultured Stone, is a preferred vinyl alternative because:

  • Curb appeal: Manufactured stone veneer is a highly versatile building material. There is so much you can do with the style, color, and shape. Different stone accents can transform a more traditional and plain home into a unique architectural marvel. 
  • Durability: Stone siding is highly durable, and resistant to nearly every element, including strong wind forces like hurricanes and tornadoes.
  • Longevity: Most manufactured stone siding will last 50 years at a minimum, but the lifespan of stone siding is likely to exceed this minimum by decades. 
  • Protection: Stone siding, like Cultured Stone, is more fire-resistant than vinyl or wood siding. 
  • UV light exposure: Stone veneer siding does not fade in the sun as much as vinyl siding.
  • Maintenance: Cultured Stone siding is low-maintenance. Notice your stone veneer is looking a little dirty after the winter or summer? No issue, you can clean it with simple soap and water. 

In the Pacific states, Cultured Stone siding has an overly impressive ROI of 119%. According to the 2023 Cost vs. Value report, even adding a small 300-foot section to your home’s facade can add about $11,180 in value. So even if you are not sold on fully decking your home out in Cultured Stone, you can add it as an accent to your siding and still increase your home’s value. 

Lifetime Remodeling Systems sources building materials from only the most prestigious and high-quality vendors. This is why we have access to Cultured Stone’s array of stone siding options. Learn more about Cultured Stone during a consultation with our design team. 

Which Siding Option Is Best for Your Home?

The best siding for your exterior remodeling project will depend on several factors, including:

  • Architectural style 
  • Age of the home
  • Personal taste
  • Whether you are staining or painting newly installed siding/trim
  • Desired durability and longevity

Deciding on your siding may be difficult without an outside perspective or foresight. At Lifetime Remodeling Systems, we’ve premeditated this by beginning every siding project with an in-depth consultation to provide personalized recommendations based on:

  • Current trends
  • Budget
  • Style preferences
  • Maintenance considerations

When you’re ready to begin, one of our project consultants will work with you to find different project types and styles that work with your style and the details of your house. From there, our experts will help you choose from our industry-leading siding selections. The next step is to explore color with our Benjamin Moore Color Consultant. Once we have mapped out the design aspect of your remodel, you will receive a 3D rendering of your project before work boots step onto your property. If you are not completely happy with the rendering of your project, we will work with you until we’ve helped you design the remodel of your dreams. 

For over 25 years we’ve been providing Portland and the surrounding area with award-winning, client-centered services. We’d be happy to help you achieve a siding project that you will be happy with for a lifetime. 

Lifetime Remodeling Systems: Providing Portland With Quality and Luxury Siding Remodels Since 1997

You shouldn’t have to settle for a building material that does not meet your home’s needs. You shouldn’t have to settle for less than what you or your home deserves. 

Don’t invest in a siding option, like vinyl, that might detract from factors like curb appeal, durability, or longevity. Choose the best with Lifetime Remodeling Systems, Portland’s premier design/build firm. 

From our Benjamin Moore Color Consultant to our 2D and 3D design rendering provided by HOVER, our design team will work tirelessly to help you achieve the siding remodel of your dreams. 

We are in the business of showing our clients the details of their design before their project even begins. We want to ensure that your personal style, trends, and home’s architectural needs are met. After that, our highly trained crew, guided by our project management staff, will coordinate with you to provide building services centered on quality control. 

Our standards are the reason why we have won numerous awards, including:

  • Big 50 Award 
  • Market Leadership Award 
  • Angie'sList.com Super Service Award (13 straight years) 
  • The Guildmaster Award

Learn more or contact us for an estimate today

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