No matter what your home’s bones are made of, the exterior still needs to be clad with a material that will provide beauty and strength. And while wood has long been one of the most common materials used on home exteriors, it’s slowly being replaced by other options that are more durable and longer-lasting.
There are a lot of materials on the market today that serve as an alternative to wood siding. Vinyl siding has one of the largest shares of the market, coming in as the most popular exterior siding choice, in both the Northeast and the Midwest.
One of the reasons for vinyl’s popularity is that it’s able to virtually duplicate wood but comes with less care and maintenance. When you compare the two materials, it is easy to see why vinyl gets the biggest share of the market, despite its close appearance to wood. Let’s compare vinyl siding vs. wood siding to find the best, long-lasting siding material.
Wood is one of the oldest siding materials still in use today. Wood shingles were one of the earliest forms of cladding, but after settlers in America discovered the long, straight trees here, they began to cut them in long lengths of what eventually became horizontal lap siding.
Wood is incredibly versatile and can be cut and shaped into a variety of different appearances for the home’s exterior. It can be cut into clapboards, Dutch lap, shiplap, board-and-batten and a variety of other siding styles. It can also be painted or stained, and it can be cut and shaped into decorative trim as well.
When it’s well cared for, wood can last for decades, which is why it has been such a popular choice among homeowners. However, wood requires a lot of care to stay looking its best and to prevent issues over time.
Whether it’s painted or stained, wood doesn’t hold onto color for more than a few years before it begins to crack, peel and chip. This allows moisture to get into the wood, which can contribute to issues such as dry rot. To prevent this, every few years, the old paint or stain must be scraped from the wood and new paint or stain applied.
This is a time-consuming and expensive process, so many people end up waiting longer than they should before they repaint. In the meantime, the peeling, chipped paint lowers the home’s curb appeal and shortens the siding’s longevity by increasing the risk of water damage and rot.
In addition, wood is also susceptible to insect activity and moisture in general. When wood becomes wet it swells and then shrinks again once it dries out. Over time, this expansion and contraction cycle can lead to warping of the siding, something that can’t be corrected without removing and replacing the affected boards, leading to more expenses.
So, despite its versatility and classic appearance, wood siding doesn’t make the best choice for homes in the long-term, especially if you are looking for a low-maintenance, low-cost option. Even if less expensive wood is used, it ends up costing more long-term due to the frequent upkeep that is required.
Vinyl siding was first introduced in the 1950s as an alternative to aluminum siding. Aluminum was the first horizontal lap siding designed as a lower maintenance alternative to wood. But aluminum didn’t look much like wood. Another alternative was needed.
Vinyl siding was the answer. It’s created in a mold, so it can take on a texture and appearance similar to real wood. The color of the vinyl also goes right through the material, making it fade-resistant, and it doesn’t peel, chip or crack like wood. This means vinyl siding doesn’t need to be scraped and painted every few years, which cuts down dramatically on the time and expense necessary to maintain your home’s curb appeal.
Vinyl siding is made of a sturdy type of plastic, so it’s impervious to issues that frequently plague wood: It’s moisture-resistant, so it won’t absorb moisture in the air or warp over time. It’s also rot and insect resistant, so you’re less likely to need to replace damaged sections of siding every few years as with natural wood siding. All of this combined means that your home will look better, longer and with less work from you.
When vinyl needs to be cleaned, it can be done easily with a hose, and occasionally mild soap, as the non-porous surface is less likely to hold onto dirt and debris, unlike wood. This can save you in both maintenance costs and time over the course of the siding’s lifetime.
While wood needs to be painted either before or shortly after installation, vinyl comes ready-made in a range of attractive and stylish colors. You only need to choose your favorite style and color with a coordinating trim color to complete your exterior design. The color will last years longer than wood, and with less work or maintenance.
Get a Longer Lasting Appearance
Wood has been one of the most frequently used siding types for decades, which is part of its continued appeal; it has a traditional appearance people know and love. But wood has too many drawbacks for today’s busy households. Cladding a home in wood means committing to scraping, sanding and repainting it every few years (and after major weather events) to help it maintain both its appearance and integrity.
Vinyl siding is a less maintenance-intense alternative that can still give you the look and style you want. You’ll get the same wood grain appearance, lap siding and trim you’ve grown to love, as well as the same stylish colors. The difference is that with vinyl, you won’t have to spend your time scraping, sanding and repainting the facade every few years just to keep the appearance and integrity of your home intact.
If your home needs to be re-sided, consider switching to vinyl. Vinyl siding is a lower maintenance alternative to wood that will give you the look and style you want and the peace of mind you need. Make the switch to vinyl today and enjoy your home’s appearance for many years to come.
For more information on vinyl siding and how it can increase the value and beauty of your home, check out Rollex’s blog or contact us today with any questions.