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Learn about Vinyl Siding

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is a type of plastic siding made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It is available in many shapes and often mimics the appearance of the wood grain so that it looks like painted clapboard or shingle siding. It is a popular choice for a few reasons: affordability, durability, and relatively low maintenance requirements.</p><p>Vinyl siding is most commonly installed horizontally with long, interlocking strips.

Look for vinyl siding with recycled content. Also, note that sometimes, vinyl siding will have a rigid foam backing that adds insulating value to the wall. This is called 'insulated vinyl siding' and is typically R 2.0 to R 2.7. However, if you have a rainscreen installed between your siding and sheeting, then the insulated siding may not be providing added insulating value. A 'rainscreen' is made of wood strips or lattice and acts as a spacer to create a half-inch drainage cavity behind the siding. The presence of a rainscreen is good for the health of the wall. Still, it means that any insulation that comes with the siding layer is ineffective because cold airflow gets behind the siding.

The primary benefit of vinyl siding is its long, maintenance free lifespan of over 50 years with low embodied energy impacts relative to other siding such as brick and aluminum (but still higher embodied energy than wood). However, if it is not recycled properly, it will remain in landfills for a very long time without breaking down.

Vinyl siding also doesn't require maintenance or a protective coating, though to maintain it's appearance, it may need to be cleaned periodically.

On the negative side, small amounts of toxic and carcinogenic substances are associated with the production of PVC, such as dioxin, ethylene dichloride (EDC), and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM).

Vinyl siding has quickly become a popular siding option and was first manufactured during the 1950s.