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Vinyl Siding Offers Definite Advantages

Vinyl Siding - A Definite Advantage

Plastic Housing

Many people are turned off by plastic. They think it is an inferior material. For instance, would you want a plastic desk or a solid walnut desk? You probably chose walnut, right? Well, let me add a little twist. What happens if I said a desk (or desktop) made from Corian®, a popular plastic solid surfacing material? Maybe some of you would go for the Corian®. It is a wonderful plastic material.

The point is this, some plastic, or synthetic compounds offer advantages as home building materials. Vinyl siding is one of these. Synthetic building materials often take the work out of maintaining a home. I'll go for that any day!

Vinyl siding is made by using various Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) resins. Often other ingredients are added to improve performance. Acrylic resins are added to improve flexibility. This is important for vinyl siding that is used in colder climates or any environment where impact damage (hail stones, baseballs, rocks, etc.) is a possibility. Don't discount the capability of hail to ruin vinyl siding. Just this year, a house near mine was ruined during a hail storm. The vinyl siding (obviously a poor quality one) looked as if it was shot with a giant shotgun blast. Seeing that damage was one of the reasons I decided to write the column on vinyl siding.

Color, Chalking, and Vinyl

Colored vinyl siding is very similar to colored paint. The pigments that create color are mixed in with the PVC resins. The color is solid throughout the product. This offers advantages over other siding products. Aluminum and wood siding, for example, simply have color at the surface. Scratch one of these materials and you expose a different color. Not so with vinyl siding.

Have you ever brushed up against the side of an older paint job on a house? Did you get some of the "paint" on your clothes? Or, have you seen "paint" streaks that flow down onto brick walls from the siding above? That chalk, or dust is actually the pigments from the paint. It is a natural process caused by ultraviolet (UV) light rays from the sun.

The UV rays break down the resin in paints and release the pigments at the surface. This same thing can happen with vinyl siding. Older vinyl siding was very susceptible to this failure. As such, the early users of vinyl siding had bad experiences.

As you might expect, the leading manufacturers responded to this challenge. They began to include chemicals in the vinyl siding that worked just like the sun screens that we put on our skin. These chemical compounds include titanium dioxide. This compound absorbs and deflects the energy in the UV rays. Vinyl siding that has high amounts of titanium dioxide at the surface tends to resist color fade and degradation for long periods of time.

Several manufacturers actually extrude the vinyl siding so that a thin layer of sun screen protection is on the surface of the siding. This extra level of UV protection allows them to offer strong anti-color fade warranties. Color fade can and will happen with most vinyl products. You must choose a product that will keep this fading to a minimum.

Vinyl and the Environment

Many people think that vinyl is an environmental enemy. Not so. It is actually a very environmentally friendly building material. One of its biggest pluses has already been discussed. That is, once it is made, no other natural resource or energy has to be committed to maintaining it. You can't say that about wood siding!

Vinyl siding uses less energy to manufacture than either wood or aluminum siding. It can also be recycled. Jobsite scrap, which usually is a minimum, can be ground up and used to make new vinyl siding.

In the event that vinyl siding is placed in a landfill, it is chemically stable. No harmful chemicals leach from the material to pollute the environment.

Column B100

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One Response to Vinyl Siding Offers Definite Advantages

  1. The problem with vinyl siding is that while it's easy to ignore one house that has it, once the whole neighborhood has it, it looks like a trailer park. My parents neighborhood was one of those idyllic 1950s Levittown-like places when I was growing up. Now it's covered with plastic and looks like a tacky nightmare. The lob-sided additions intended to "upgrade" many of the houses don't help either. Some of the houses have meticulously maintained, shimmery plastic, while others are coated with green slime; both look terrible. With the additions, they are now too close together, making the siding even more of a fire hazard than it normally is. I know scraping paint is a PIA, but anything, brick (even some fake brick), stone, stucco, Hardiplank or just stained wood would be better than flimsy plastic.

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