For more than 20 years, Remodeling Magazine has surveyed the cost of various remodeling projects compared to the projected value (higher price) when the home is sold. For more than 5 years, vinyl siding has appeared among the top 10 projects and this year was no exception. In the Cost vs Value Remodeling Report 2008-2009, the projected value for installing replacement siding was:
- Cost of vinyl siding $10,256 expected to recover 80.7%
- Foam backed siding $12,528 and should recover 80.4%
PROS: Why Home Owners Choose Vinyl Siding
Vinyl siding is growing in popularity and is now the #1 choice for siding a home. Vinyl siding is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which is the same as most of our plumbing drain lines.
- Material costs are lower than wood, and there are a growing number of colors and styles to pick from … many of them made to look like wood. While it is possible for a skilled home owner to install vinyl siding, the results are better when done by a professional who understands how the product react to changes in the weather and allows for this during installation.
- Vinyl comes in many colors. The color is baked through the product so it won’t show scratches. Depending on the quality of the siding, fading will occur after 5/more years and weather will alter the gloss of the siding. It is still easier to purchase extra materials for needed repairs over the lifetime of the siding.
Tip: Pick a color you can live with for many years and if you want to dress up your home, add an accent color with shutters and or painted wood trim.
- Lower maintenance costs because vinyl doesn't rot or flake like paint. It just needs to be washed with a garden hose once a year versus wood siding that needs to be painted or stained every few years.
- Repair costs are much lower as you don't need to paint your home's exterior every 5 to 7 years. You will need to caulk frequently to avoid hidden water damage behind the siding.
Cons: What You Give Up with Vinyl Siding
As with any building material, there are trade-offs when picking vinyl siding.
- The PVC resin is thought to cause cancer in humans. While safe installed outside your home, there is ongoing research into the hazards in manufacturing and disposing of PVC, to our health and the environment. Fires in vinyl sided buildings are more dangerous as the vinyl gives off toxic fumes when heated.
- In extreme weather, vinyl is not as durable as wood. Heat from a nearby barbeque grill or the sun reflecting off a window can affect your siding. Cold weather makes vinyl siding brittle making it easily damaged by falling icicles, blowing debris and a child’s baseball. Each spring home owners have to replace vinyl siding damaged over the winter.
- Moisture can get trapped behind vinyl siding where it can promote mold and mildew, sight unseen. It can take several years before this damage becomes visible indoors and repairs are more costly due to delays in discovering the problems. Consistent caulking where vinyl siding meets doors, windows and other exterior trim will reduce problems.
When replacing your home’s siding, consider adding more insulation on your home's exterior and/or inside the walls. While you’ll want to research the available styles, colors and textures … look for products certified under the Vinyl Siding Institute’s certification program. If your budget permits, include more insulation and a thicker, more rigid siding product to resist damage better. Read the manufacturer’s warranty information carefully as they’re written to protect the manufacturer, not you the home owner.