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Vinyl Siding – Why It Is An Exterior Cladding Choice

Vinyl siding is used for exterior siding for houses and small apartment buildings. It acts as a weather proofing material and gives aesthetic appeal for the elevation. It can also be used instead of other materials such as aluminum and fiber cement siding. Vinyl siding imitates wood clapboard, board and batten or shakes. It is available in many styles and colors. Siding can be used over an entire house exterior or highlight any architectural feature.

It is manufactured from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin. The primary ingredient in vinyl siding is the PVC compound, where as the secondary ingredients are:

  • Pigments,
  • Stabilizers
  • Low-gloss modifiers
  • Impact modifiers
  • Titanium dioxide

These will give the product color, texture, durability, gloss, hardness, flexibility, and UV resistance.

Most commonly installed in United States and Canada.

Image Source : lbmjournal.com


  • Strong and Durable
  • Light weight and low maintenance
  • wind, water and chemical resistance
  • Resistant to insect damage
  • Rot and mildew resistance.
  • Less installation cost
  • Easy to install
  • Does not need painting


  • Installation is simple, but the effectiveness depends on proper training and workmanship of the contractor.
  • Fades in hotter and sunny climates.
  • Cannot be patched if split or break.
  • Lower home’s value over time
  • Permit’s moisture below the surface.
  • Not good for environment.

However, the recent innovative technologies have improved the color retention of the products even after its exposure to harsh climates.


Colors: It is available in various colors, and the unique quality of vinyl siding is that the color is baked-in, unlike the other siding materials coated with colors. Homogeneous in appearance.

Textures : Smooth, Wood grain, Rough hewn

Widths : It is available in different widths ranging from 4″ to 7″.

Image source : Vinyl siding Institute

Profiles and Styles : It is available as

  • Horizontal Siding
    • Also called Lap Siding ; Horizontal siding includes Traditional Lap, Dutch Lap, Clapboard, and Beaded Styles.
    • Classic appearance.
    • Clapboard – long and narrow boards of 4″
    • Traditional lap – 6″ to 7″ plank boards with wedge shaped planks.
    • Dutch lap – Similar to Traditional lap but the angle of bevel is sharper.
  • Smooth : As the name suggests, the siding is smooth without any texture
  • Vertical Siding
    • Various textures and styles such as wood grain, smooth, and board and batten styles give unique appearance.
    • Board and batten – Also called barn siding, planks with 12″ wide.
  • Shakes
    • Complements different styles from traditional to contemporary.
    • Traditional shake – Textured planks with straight edge
    • Hand-split shakes – Textured planks with Staggered edges
  • Beaded : Each plank has a rounded notch cut into the bottom edge.
  • Shingles/shapes
    • Hexagon, Octagon, Half-round
vinyl siding
Image credit : sidingauthority.com
Image credit : sidingauthority.com

Insulated Siding :

Combines siding with rigid foam insulation. Contributes to thermal envelope, increases rigidity and impact resistance. Reduces energy and heat-loss through framing materials.

Polypropylene Siding : Also called polymeric siding. It is made from a polypropylene resin using an injection molding process. It is thicker than vinyl siding.

vinyl siding
Image credit : sidingauthority.com

Factors to consider while selecting Vinyl Siding :

  • Appearance and style
  • Insulation
  • Wind Load Resistance
  • Water resistive barrier
  • Structural capability
  • Fire resistance
  • Insect and rot resistance

How to Install Vinyl Siding

Vinyl Siding should be installed according to the manufacture’s instructions, as well as per local building codes.

Rules of thumb for proper installation:

  • Installed panels must move freely from side to side.
  • Do not force the panels up or down when fastening in position.
  • Leave a minimum of 1/4″ (6.4mm) clearance at all openings.

1.Before Preparation

To install vinyl siding, there are specific tools and equipment required such as Power Saw, Utility knife, Tin snips, Field forming brake, Nail Hole Slot Punch, Snap Lock Punch, Zip Lock (Unlocking) Tool, etc.

Materials such as water resistive barrier, starter strip, Outside and Inside Corner Posts, Trim and Molding, Siding Panels, Flashing, channels, etc. as per manufacturer’s mannual.

2.Estimate the amount of Vinyl Siding required

The houses can be divided into shapes of rectangles and triangles, or a combination of both. Measure the height and width of the exterior to be sided including windows for waste factor allowance.

  • Wall areas – Width*height
  • Gable areas – 1/2 the height*width
  • Dormer areas – 1/2 the height*width

Total all the measurements required for siding in square feet. The result is converted into squares that is available for ordering. Every 100 sqft is called a “square”.

3.Surface Preparation

The wall surface has to be flat and remove the existing siding if placed on older surfaces for proper installation of vinyl siding. A water resistive barrier should be installed prior to installing siding.

Use aluminum, galvanized steel, or other corrosion-resistant nails, staples, or screws when installing vinyl siding.

4.Installing accessories

Before installing siding, other accessories have to be installed.

Install outside and Inside corner posts :

Inside corner posts can be a single or double J-channel, or a factory-formed inside corner. A water resistive barrier has to be installed first. Place the corner post in position and maintain 1 1/4″gap between the top of the post and the eave or soffit and 3/4″ below the bottom.

Install starter strip:

Determine the lowest point of the wall and place the starter strip and drive a nail at one corner. Nail the starter strips into place leaving a gap of 1/4″.Using a chalkline, make sure that the line is in level. It acts as first row of siding.

Install Window Flashing:

Apply a bead of sealant and self adhering flashing covering all four sides of the window. The flashing has to be minimum 9″ wide.

Install J-channel over roof lines:

Step flashing to be installed before J-channel to prevent moisture penetration. Install J-channels as per manufacturer’s instructions.

6 responses to “Vinyl Siding – Why It Is An Exterior Cladding Choice”

  1. It was really helpful when you discussed that vinyl Siding should be installed following the manufacturer’s instructions and in compliance with local building codes. My husband is looking at having vinyl siding in our home. I think he should go for it ensuring that he will hire a reliable contractor for its installation.

  2. It was very helpful insight when you said to take insulation into account before installing a vinyl siding. I want to have this for my exteriors, because I think that it looks sleek and modern. That being said, I’ll make sure to purchase the best-quality vinyl siding in the market.

  3. I want to change the cladding of my roof and I am still thinking of what type of cladding to get. Its lovely of you to explain that vinyl cladding is resistant to insecticides as well as easy to install. Thanks for the article on vinyl siding and after reading your post, I am considering getting some ones for my roof!

  4. Thank you for pointing out that vinyl siding comes in a variety of colours and that it differs from other siding materials in that it has a baked-in colour rather than being coated. My mother wants to have the siding replaced. I’ll advise Ger to replace their external siding with vinyl because it comes in a variety of colours.

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