Is Vinyl Siding Right for Your Home? A Look at Pros, Cons, and Costs

Jenna Jonaitis
Written by Jenna Jonaitis
Updated October 8, 2021
A house with vinyl siding
Photo: James Brey/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Vinyl siding mimics wood siding for less and offers strong weather protection for your home

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Vinyl siding has been around since the 1950s but has come a long way since then. New vinyl siding can add beauty and longevity to the exterior of your home and tends to cost less than other types of siding. Available in a variety of styles, textures, and colors, you can create the look of your dreams. To help decide if this is the best siding material for you, learn all about vinyl siding pros and cons.

While vinyl is one of the easier sidings to install, we recommend a pro to ensure it protects your home, lasts for decades, and looks professional.

What Is Vinyl Siding?

Vinyl siding is a plastic exterior siding made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin that is weatherproof and often imitates the look of wood siding. Vinyl is affordable, low-maintenance, and easy to clean, but there are some pluses and minuses to consider for your home.

How Much Does Vinyl Siding Cost?

New home construction with vinyl siding
Photo: Ghornephoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

On average, vinyl siding costs $11,160 to install on an entire home, with most homeowners spending between $6,060 and $16,440 for materials and labor. Vinyl siding tends to be less expensive than aluminum, stone, wood, brick, and stone veneer, including installation and materials.

6 Pros of Vinyl Siding

Whether you want a modern or traditional look, new vinyl siding can bring life to your home’s exterior. As one of the most cost-friendly siding options, vinyl is also long-lasting and easy to clean. Here, we dig into the key benefits.

1. Affordable

Vinyl siding usually costs less than other types of siding like brick, partly due to the material prices but also labor, as vinyl is easier to install. Vinyl siding could save you anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 compared to siding installation prices of aluminum, brick, wood, stone, and steel.

2. Variety of Colors and Styles

Available in a range of colors and textures, your vinyl siding can be made to look like wood grain or a smooth modern surface. You can also choose between vertical and horizontal panels, crafting a custom design that complements your home. Vinyl siding colors range from forest green and gray to taupe and marigold.

3. Easier Installation

When it comes to vinyl vs. wood siding, or aluminum siding, which is easier to install? Vinyl takes the cake as far as installation. You can install vinyl siding if you’re experienced, but it’s better to hire a siding installer in your area to ensure a quality job.

4. Low Maintenance and Easy to Clean

With a garden hose or pressure washer, it’s easy to clean and spray off vinyl siding. Because of its slick surface, most debris and cobwebs come off with water. Be sure to read the cleaning recommendations from your manufacturer, as pressure washers can damage certain types of vinyl siding.

You also won’t need to repaint your vinyl exterior siding, as the color won’t scratch or peel off.

5. Durable and Long-Lasting

Vinyl siding lasts 20 to 40 years—about the same as wood siding—while stone, brick, and stucco exteriors last longer. Vinyl is inspect-proof, weather-resistant, and rust and rot-resistant. You can replace individual panels if they get damaged or cracked.

6. Great Insulator

Vinyl siding protects your home from extreme temperatures by reflecting radiant heat and can save money on your energy bills.

5 Cons of Vinyl Siding

While there are a lot of pluses to vinyl siding, it’s not right for every home. Make sure vinyl is a good match for your house, neighborhood, and personal style. Here are the main drawbacks to consider.

1. Doesn’t Complement Historic Homes

The style of vinyl doesn’t usually mesh with historic homes and neighborhoods. Most historic neighborhoods have rigid guidelines about updating the exterior of a home, such as using the same material as when the home was built. These guidelines help to maintain the integrity and appearance of the historic district.

2. Fades Over Time

Most vinyl siding is constructed with UV protection, but the color still tends to fade after 10 years.

3. May Lower Your Home’s Value

While vinyl exterior siding is usually less expensive than other types of siding, it can lower the value of your home—or, at the least, won’t raise it.

4. Can Hide Moisture and Other Problems

Vinyl siding can hide issues like water or moisture in your walls. While wood siding warps and peels when water seeps underneath, vinyl doesn’t show these signs. You or your contractor should examine all walls and structural defects before putting on vinyl siding.

5. Not Environmentally Friendly

During the construction of vinyl siding, greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide, and carcinogens are produced. When vinyl siding is on your house, it releases low levels of harmful chemicals, but there have been no studies that show it causes health problems for homeowners.

What to Look for in Vinyl Siding

Look for high-quality vinyl that is 55-gauge or .55 inches thick for the greatest durability. Review inspirational photos and homes in person to determine the style and colors you like best. Determine if you prefer vertical or horizontal panels, or a combination of both in your design.

Where to Buy Vinyl Siding

You can buy vinyl siding from home improvement stores and construction supply companies. You should also check with siding installers, as they can often get discounts on vinyl siding and other materials.

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