For the longest time, vinyl remains to be a popular siding material. It has gone a long way from when it was first introduced by Crane Plastics in the late 50s when there was a demand for a material to replace aluminum as the preferred siding material.
You’re probably convinced that you should go for vinyl siding since you’re already looking for vinyl siding contractors near you. This is why you should keep reading because we’ll show you a free tool that can help you find the best contractor to hire.
In addition, this article will teach you everything there is to know about this material. You’ll know the things to consider when choosing a siding material. It will also be compared with another popular material which is fiber cement. This information can help you know for sure if it’s the right material for you.
You’ll also know what vinyl siding is. You’ll also learn how it’s made. You’ll also know the different available types for you to choose from. In addition, there are several grades that you can choose from.
You’re also probably wondering about the cost of installing it. We’ll provide you with some numbers to help you determine the cost. Better yet, the free tool we’ve mentioned can help you get more accurate numbers.
You’ll also know how this is installed by a professional. This should give you a better understanding that this job is best reserved for professionals.
Things to Consider When Choosing Siding Material
Make sure to consider the following:
The siding will play an important role in your home’s exterior appearance. After all, it’s the biggest part of your home’s exterior. Curb appeal is very important and your choice of material can either help your home’s curb appeal or not.
You have to make sure that your choice matches the overall appearance of your home. The color should complement your home’s color scheme. If not, it will stick out like a sore thumb.
Appearance is actually one of the main reasons why vinyl is a popular choice. It’s naturally beautiful and is available in a wide variety of color choices so you can choose the right one for you. It also comes in a lot of designs so you can choose one that fits the design of your home.
It goes without saying that you need something durable. After all, it will be exposed to harsh weather elements. You have to first determine what type of weather elements your home is regularly exposed to. Is it rain? How about snow? Do you get strong winds?
Make sure that you choose a durable material that can withstand whatever harsh weather element is thrown your way. You wouldn’t want to spend thousands of dollars, only to spend thousands of dollars more after just a couple of years for repair or replacement.
You’d be happy to know that vinyl is one of the most durable options out there. In fact, it’s been rated to withstand winds of 110 miles per hour and even stronger. This is why a lot of manufacturers are able to offer a lifetime warranty for their products.
Maintenance can be a huge pain. This is especially true for something that takes up a lot of real estate. Can you really be bothered to maintain your home’s exterior regularly? It takes up a lot of time and effort and costs a lot of money.
Vinyl is as low maintenance as they can get. You don’t need to paint or stain it. Caulking is also not necessary. Its durability also helps lower its maintenance needs. Generally speaking, you just have to clean it with soap and water every now and then depending on how dirty it can be in your area.
Energy efficiency has been a buzzword in the construction industry for a long time now. It’s not really a luxury anymore. It’s more of an expectation – a necessity. With the siding taking up most of your home’s exterior, you and the environment will benefit a lot from an energy-efficient siding.
The best vinyl siding installers near you can install them with insulation. This will help with energy-efficiency.
Of course, you have no use for a material that you can’t afford. On average, you can expect to pay $9,500 for the installation. This average applies to all materials.
The price is dependent on several factors:
It goes without saying that you can expect to pay lower for lower quality of materials. For example for vinyl, you can find something as low as $2 per square foot. But generally speaking, a high quality one at $7 per square foot is better across the board.
- Your home
How big is the area that needs siding? The more square footage, the more materials are needed. Of course, it will also require more man hours so a higher labor cost will be billed.
- Presence of old siding
If you have it installed, a siding contractor would have to determine first if the new one can be installed over the old one or if the latter has to be removed first. Removal will add to the cost.
For your information, here is the average cost per foot of the most popular materials today:
- Aluminum ($4)
- Brick ($8)
- Engineered wood ($19.5)
- Fiber cement ($3)
- Steel ($4.5)
- Stone ($42.5)
- Stucco ($7.5)
- Vinyl ($4.5)
- Wood ($9.5)
As you can see, vinyl is among the most affordable materials out there. Seeing the other benefits, it’s safe to say that it’s a safe choice especially for homeowners on a budget.
This list will do one of two things to you. It’s either going to help you decide to go for vinyl or strengthen your belief that it should be your choice of siding material.
Types of Vinyl Siding
Yes, there are several types to choose from. In fact, you’re probably thinking that there are countless of types available. It sure seems like it considering that there are a lot of variations of styles, colors, textures and more.
But generally speaking, there are only 3 types to choose from:
It’s also called board and batten. It’s called vertical because of how it runs vertically. It’s called board and batten because of how the boards come with a batten for weather-proofing purposes.
Before, it was only used by farm owners for their farmhouse and barn. That’s not the case for the past century and it remains to be highly in use by homeowners these days.
It does consume a lot of time and effort to install this type. It also requires more preparation. This is why it’s recommended that you hire a professional.
As the name implies, this type runs horizontally. It’s also called clapboard or traditional lap. It’s a popular choice of homeowners looking for something that looks like wooden planks.
For this type, here are the popular styles to choose from:
- Traditional lap
This is when long and broad planks are used. When installed, they’re characterized by how they overlap with one another. It’s designed in such a way because it looks beautiful. As an added bonus, this design allows water to flow properly and away from the home. Installed correctly, you don’t have to worry about water entering your home through the siding.
- Dutch lap
They also overlap like traditional lap. The difference is they do so to create a steep and sharp angle. This adds more depth that makes them look like wooden planks that have been carved by hand.
This style looks expensive. But thanks to vinyl siding, it’s an affordable option for homeowners nowadays.
It casts a unique line of shadows across the bottom because of the rounded notch that runs across it. Just like Dutch lap, it used to be a premium choice because it had to be carved by hand in the past. Now, it’s a logical choice of style because of vinyl siding.
It’s a dream of many homeowners to live in a log cabin or at least mimic the appearance of one. This makes this type a popular choice because it can mimic the style of logs. It can mimic the look of cedar or even pine, minus the headaches usually associated with maintaining the real thing.
This is another timeless type that’s been in use for centuries. It’s very popular because it looks like real wood although it isn’t. It’s the top choice of homeowners looking for the aesthetic appeal of wood but can’t be bothered with its high maintenance needs and high cost.
For this type, here are the popular styles to choose from:
This style is characterized by semi circles. This is why it’s also called half rounds. It’s charming especially when used on older homes.
Cedar is a popular type of siding but can be expensive and high maintenance. As a good alternative, you can choose the cedar style of vinyl siding.
Vinyl siding can be insulated. This should be considered because adding insulation helps its energy-efficiency.
How Vinyl Siding is Made
As mentioned, the original vinyl siding was put in the market by a company called Crane Plastics. Operating out of Columbus, Ohio, they manufactured them by using a process called mono-extrusion. This process calls for the formation of a single material into whatever size or shape is needed. Afterwards, the colors are blended manually.
It sounds good in theory, but this old process proved to be very inconsistent when it comes to producing uniform results. Things improved in the 70s when the formulation was changed. This led to a more efficient production process and overall higher quality of products. This was when vinyl was recognized as a durable, versatile and beautiful option that led to a spike in its popularity.
The manufacturing process is different now. The industry now follows a procedure called co-extrusion. This is when PVC is laid down in two layers. The layer on top makes up a quarter of the thickness of the siding and is more durable than the bottom layer.
Vinyl Siding vs Fiber Cement
We’re putting them head to head because it seems that a lot of homeowners are choosing between them. Both are good options. It’s just a matter of choosing the one that fits your needs and wants.
But generally speaking, vinyl siding is better than fiber cement. Here are the reasons why:
- It’s more energy efficient.
This is especially true if you’re going to add insulation. This is why you should insist on insulation when asking for quotes from vinyl siding companies.
- It requires less maintenance.
You have to deal with fading if you have fiber cement. You also have to paint and caulk it.
- It’s more beautiful.
One of the reasons behind the popularity of fiber cement is the aesthetic appeal that it offers. It’s available in a lot of styles, textures, profiles and colors. This allows you to choose one that perfectly complements your home.
However, it’s important to note that vinyl actually offers more varieties. It can mimic just about any siding material. This allows you to enjoy the aesthetic appeal of what it’s mimicking and not have to worry about its disadvantages.
- It’s more affordable overall.
While vinyl can be more expensive in some cases, it’s actually more affordable looking at the bigger picture.
Of course, you can only experience these benefits if it’s been installed by a competent professional. This is because the process of installing vinyl siding can be a complicated one.
Process of Installing Vinyl Siding
You might be tempted to install it on your own. While a very experienced DIYer with a wide array of tools can do it, it’s better to just have the professionals do it. This is to make sure that you’ll get the best results so you can experience the benefits of this type of siding.
Even if you’re an experienced DIYer, an experienced professional will always do a better job than you and that’s okay. They do it for a living. Don’t you want to get the best results?
A lot of homeowners have attempted only to fail. They find out the hard way that it’s actually challenging. They made expensive mistakes and they ended up hiring a professional in the end. They ended up spending more money and wasting a lot of time and effort.
For starters, fitting and nailing are not as simple as, well, fitting and nailing. There are rules to be followed for best results. This is because of how the expansion and contraction that this type of siding does as effects of the changes in temperature. This is why the contractor will secure the siding in such a way that there’s room for the panels to contract and expand. A quarter inch gap will do.
In addition, it’s possible to hammer the nails too much. You can’t restrict the panels’ movement. A 1/16 inch gap between the head of the nail and the panel itself should give the panel enough leeway to move when necessary.
You should also make sure that the nails are hammered straight. If they’re crooked, it could lead to the panels buckling.
Just to give you an idea on how challenging this task is, here’s the process of installing vinyl siding:
- Gather the necessary tools and materials.
Here are the tools that you need:
- Power saw
- Carpenter saw
- Metal square
- Folding ruler
- Measuring tape
- Pry bar
- Snap lock punch
- Nail slot punch
- Claw hammer
- Utility knife
- Tin snips
- Chalk line
As for the materials, here are the things that you need:
- Vinyl siding
- Building paper
- Vinyl corners
- Vinyl trims
- Termination trim
- Check for damages.
The contractor will do a thorough inspection of your home’s exterior. This is to make sure that there are no issues that will be covered by the siding. Vinyl siding is so good at sealing that it will hide issues which is not good because you wouldn’t know that these issues are causing damages until it’s too late.
- Prepare the home’s exterior for the installation.
The contractor will clear the area. They will remove the lights and other fixtures. They will also move landscaping that can be in the way.
Part of the preparation is the removal of incompatible siding. An experienced contractor can determine if the vinyl siding can simply be installed over the old one or if the old one needs to be removed.
A half inch plywood will also be used to sheath the walls. OSB can also be used. After that, another layer of barrier against moisture will be installed. In most cases, roofing felt is used.
- Install the J-channel.
This piece plays the important role of providing a seal to prevent water from entering. Position the J-channel underneath the fascia. Center the nail in the slot and hammer it in, making sure to leave 1/16 inch out.
If the soffits are boxed type, install a second strip of J-channel. Run it to the house’s edge from the fascia.
What if the soffit wraps around your house’s corner? The installer will install a couple of strips of J-channel in a diagonal manner at where the house itself meets the roof. In order to install these strips, the installer will cut pieces of vent and soffit at an angle that matches the J-channel’s angle.
- Cut the pieces of soffit.
You need to measure them first. Remember to have a quarter inch gap to allow the siding to expand.
- Install the soffit into the J-channel.
This is where using vinyl siding comes in handy. Since the panels are very flexible, you can simply bend the pieces in order to fit them into the J-channel strips. If needed, you can use a pry bar.
- Install the fascia siding.
The gutter and the downspout need to be removed first. Once that’s done, install the fascia siding by sliding it underneath the apron of the gutter. Use galvanized nails hammered in every two feet in order to install the fascia in place. Put the gutter back once you’re done.
- Measure your walls.
You need to determine how many siding panels are required so you need to measure your walls. Once you’ve done the measurement, divide each wall’s length by 8 which is the size of each siding panel in inches. Hope that you get a whole number so you won’t have gaps. If it’s not a whole number, then you need to fill those gaps with a siding panel that’s cut to size.
For this step, it might be necessary to install a J-channel on the siding’s top edge if the last row needs to be cut. This is in lieu of a utility trim. This would need support so you have to install a 3 inch by half inch strip of plywood.
- Decide on your starting point and start with a starter strip.
Where do you want to begin? Decide on your starting point and nail through it. A trained contractor would hold a chalked string tight against the wall. He would then snap it to transfer the chalk onto the wall, marking a straight line.
Once you have this marking, install plywood that’s 3.5 inch thick across this chalk line. This will serve as support for the panels on the first row. Install a starter strip to this plywood, but don’t drive in the nail too tightly. Make sure that there’s room for the starter strips to expand by leaving a quarter inch in between the strips.
- Secure the corner posts.
Start by putting half inch foam sheathing strips on every corner, ensuring that you place them on both sides. Install the siding panel designed for corners on these sheathing strips.
Install them in such a way that they run from the bottom upwards to the eaves. Do this after installing the pieces of soffit. Ensure that they’re straight before nailing them in place.
- Place J-channel around the doors and windows.
Nail the J-channel around all 4 sides of doors and windows. The important thing is you don’t drive the nail too tight.
- Begin the installation of the siding.
Make sure that you do the proper measurements so you can cut accordingly. When measuring and cutting, ensure that there’ll be a quarter inch gap when installed side by side. Again, this is to leave room for them to expand.
Slide the panels one by one. Nail them in place. Position the nails 16 inches in between one another. The nail should be in the slot’s center and 1/16th of its head should be above the siding.
The adjoining panels would have to overlap. The question is – which side do you overlap on which side? Decide from an aesthetics point of view. What would look better when you look at it from the front of your home?
You’d encounter a challenge once you reach a window. You need to measure and cut panels to make them fit around the window. Again, make sure to leave a quarter inch for expansion when measuring and cutting.
Another challenge is when you reach the top. You also need to measure and cut to make the panels fit.
These are just general steps on how to install vinyl siding but as you can see, it can be very complicated. We tried our best to explain the steps in the simplest possible way but you can still see how challenging it can be. This is why it’s recommended to get in touch with vinyl siding contractors near you so they can do the installation for you.
Vinyl Siding Grades
We all know that it offers several options when it comes to types. They also come in different grades, allowing you to choose based on your needs and budget.
It’s graded based on its thickness. Here are the different vinyl siding grades from thinnest to thickest:
As the name implies, this is the grade chosen by those on a budget. It comes in a thickness of 0.038 inch.
It’s recommended that you go for at least the builder grade. It comes slightly thicker at 0.040 inch.
If you can afford it, go for at least an average grade. It comes in a thickness of 0.044 inch.
If average is better, then you can expect upgraded to be better at 0.046 inch.
You can expect a lot of benefits from this grade. After all, it’s at 0.048 thick.
- Top of the line
If money is not a concern, the top of the line will provide you with a lot of benefits as it starts at 0.055 thick.
As you can see, we recommend that you get a higher grade if you can. This is because thicker siding panels will provide you with these benefits:
- You will get more design options. This is because deeper cuts can be made which will present you with more design options.
- Most of the premium options already come with insulation so you don’t have to spend to have the panels insulated. So if you’re going to think about it, that’s money well spent with the benefits that insulation brings.
- In most cases, the thicker panels have more impressive wind ratings.
- There’s a possibility that higher grades are not prone to cracks when it’s extremely cold.
- Thicker panels, being more rigid, are less prone to sagging.
- Being thicker, they can stand better against hail and other foreign items hitting them.
Of course, you can expect to pay more for higher grades, but this list of benefits should convince you that the higher price is worth it.
Cost of Installing Vinyl Siding
There are several factors to be considered to determine the cost of installing vinyl siding. But just to give you an idea, you can expect to pay close to $10,000 if we’re going to base it on the national average.
You can get away with a cost of around $2,000 but expect cheap and thin panels installed by inexperienced contractors. If money is not an issue and you’re going top of the line everything, then expect to pay north of $20,000, although that’s going to be money well spent provided that you hire a competent contractor.
You can get a good idea now if you have the square footage of your walls. Vinyl siding costs $4.5 per square foot on average. Multiply that with the total square footage and that’s a good expectation as far as the cost is concerned.
Get Free Quotes From Pros From Local Vinyl Siding Installers in My Area
If you want a more specific figure, you should get quotes from professionals in your area that specialize on the installation of vinyl siding. Don’t just get quotes from professionals. Get vinyl siding quotes from the best ones in your area.
Use our free service to do just that. Just complete the form that you see on this page with the basic details asked. Make sure that you provide complete and accurate details because these are the details that will be used by the best contractors in your area to put together their best quote.
You can expect to receive up to 4 of the best deals. This is because these professionals know that they’re competing for your business with other top professionals in the same area. They know that in order to get a chance of being hired, they need to send their best deal.
So go ahead and send in your details. Wait for them to get in touch with you with their best itemized quotes, compare them, and choose the best contractor with the best deal!