How Long Does Vinyl Siding Last?

The last thing you want to have happened while away from your home is for something to fall off, which is a real possibility if you have bad siding. The same piece of siding is supposed to protect your home for many years, so you want a durable and resilient material.

Generally, vinyl siding lasts about 60 years, assuming it receives proper cleaning and repairs throughout its life. Uncared for vinyl siding can have a significantly shorter lifespan. Over time, vinyl siding will crack and warp due to weather exposure, temperature changes, and moisture.

You will have to know what can decrease the total lifespan of your vinyl siding, how to increase its overall life, and what you can do to help it stay usable. Many people have made the mistake of assuming that just a quick wash with a hose will be enough to make the vinyl siding last forever.

How Often Should Your Replace Vinyl Siding?

While vinyl siding can easily last up to 60 years, but we always recommend that you replace your vinyl siding as it gets damaged. After about 40 years, most homeowners find that their vinyl siding looks very weathered and beaten, so replacing it with some fresh material is usually a good idea.

This is because, after so many years in the wind, rain, snow, sun, and dust, the siding will most likely be extremely damaged. You can give the siding a new layer of paint to make it look good again, but most of the damage will be structural as things have aged and are no longer properly working.

Replacing the vinyl siding slightly before it entirely crumbles off your wall means that you can stop worse damage from being done to the inside of the home. Further, you can see where weak spots have developed and stop those spots from causing much more damage in the future.

What Can Damage Vinyl Siding?

While vinyl siding is much stronger than some other sidings, and it can be kept clean with a brush and a pressure washer, it is not perfect. Many things can and will usually cause your siding to be heavily damaged as it tries to weather storms, winds, and the sun throughout its lifetime.

We always recommend that you check on it whenever storms have rolled through, but many other things will damage it that you need to be aware of. When vinyl siding has been heavily damaged, it may even require that you replace the siding instead of patching it.

  • Hail: The main antagonist of all types of vinyl siding is the hail that inevitably rains down upon it in the countries where it is used. Hail can cause dents in the siding in the best-case scenario and will easily cause the siding to start cracking prematurely in the worst case.
  • Warping: It is always best to have the professionals install your vinyl siding, as warping is one of the main reasons people need to find a replacement suddenly. Vinyl siding will stretch in the heat and quickly start to warp if they have been incorrectly installed.
  • Cracking: As wonderful as vinyl siding can be, it is one of the more brittle sidings that you can apply to the side of your house. Whether through force, stretching, or simply because it is too cold, the vinyl siding can start to crack unexpectedly.
  • Melting: You will never find vinyl siding in areas or countries where it gets extremely hot; this is because vinyl has a lower melting point than other plastic. As the weather heats up, the vinyl becomes flexible, melting around fasteners, eventually falling off the side of your house.
  • Moisture: Vinyl siding is perfect; if uncracked and undamaged, it will not allow a drop of water through it. This becomes a problem when installed incorrectly, and moisture can seep through the gaps and become trapped between the siding and the side of your house.

The Pros and Cons of Vinyl Siding

Now that we know how long vinyl siding will last you, we need to look at all of the advantages and disadvantages you may face. Many people have mistakenly ignored these and found themselves with siding that won’t work for their purposes.

Even if you know that vinyl siding is perfect for you, knowing what can go wrong with the siding and where it will shine should help you. Most of the time, people looking to apply vinyl siding to their homes only look at the surface-level benefits, forgetting the negatives.

Vinyl Siding ProsVinyl Siding Cons
It is very durableIt is made with and can release toxins
There are many color and pattern optionsAs it gets older, it becomes more brittle
It provides good insulationIt can conceal rot and mold until it’s too late
Extremely low maintenanceOver time its color will fade
Easy and quick to installIt needs a lot of cleaning not to look dirty

Advantages of Vinyl Siding

Generally speaking, the advantages of vinyl siding far outweigh the negatives, which is why it has been used across the world for many years. The advantageous qualities of vinyl siding change depending on how each manufacturer makes their siding and matches it to the look you want for your home.

  • Durable: As brittle and unreliable as old vinyl can be, new, fresh vinyl siding is one of the most durable sidings you can find. Easily able to bend, flex, and adapt to the needs that you may have for the siding on the side of your home.
  • Selection: Wood and metal siding have many options, but both fail in comparison with the amount of choices you get with vinyl. Vinyl sidings can come in almost any thickness, size, and shape that you can imagine, with patterns to just plain sidings also available.
  • Insulation: Vinyl siding is unnaturally good at helping to insulate your home as it easily stops the wind from penetrating through it. With water and cold also being blocked with absolute ease when you have the siding properly installed on the side of your home.
  • Low Maintenance: Unless it has recently stormed in your area, you won’t have to stress about vinyl siding. There is no painting it each year to give it new protection, and there is no need to stress about it rusting away on parts that are exposed to the weather entirely.
  • Installation: To install wooden siding, you need to have a well-experienced craftsman willing to tackle the job. However, vinyl siding can be installed with a bit of know-how and some research online. Many remote homeowners easily install vinyl siding for their homes entirely on their own.

Disadvantages of Vinyl Siding

While there are several benefits for vinyl siding, there are also several disadvantages that you will need to be aware of. It would help if you remembered these when you choose your siding as it will greatly affect the overall amount you spend to fix the siding when something happens.

  • Toxins: Vinyl is perfect for many things, but when heated, like all plastics, it will start to release toxins rapidly. Humans may never consume these toxins, but they can affect the overall health of the plants and animals around your house as they will be poisoned.
  • Brittle: When first installed, the vinyl will be quite strong and tough; however, after three years or more, the plastic will have experienced a lot. This makes the vinyl extremely brittle and can cause it to crack when hit by hard things, like hail or balls.
  • Hides Problems: Wood and metal sidings show what happens behind them when something has been done wrong by rusting or rotting. Vinyl siding does not do this and will usually perfectly hide blemishes until the wood inside your house starts to rot and decay, causing expensive issues.
  • Fading: As the sun shines on the vinyl, the color will be bleached from it, the sun won’t damage the vinyl, but it will change the color. This is why you need to repaint vinyl every few years.
  • Constant Cleaning: All siding needs to be cleaned, but vinyl is usually quite white when applied for the first time to your home. However, this means that any dust, bird poop, or anything at all will instantly show on the siding, and you will have to go out of your way to keep it clean.

Why is Vinyl Siding Used So Often?

Simply put, vinyl siding is extremely hardy and is considerably more affordable than alternatives that may need to be replaced every 10, 20, or 30 years. Despite all the downsides and risks of vinyl siding, its many advantages make it a prevalent and good siding option.

We always recommend that people use the siding that will work the best for their situations, usually vinyl owing to its flexibility. Further, because it is a type of plastic, vinyl siding can be made in various shapes and sizes that have made it extremely popular.

As the siding offers versatility and affordability, it has replaced many more traditional siding techniques that would have been more expensive. However, as new greener solutions have been made, vinyl siding has also fallen out of favor because of its potential environmental damage.

Can You Replace a Section of Vinyl Siding?

The best part about vinyl siding is that you can usually slide out the broken sections, allowing you to slide in new sections. However, many older homes will have much larger sections of siding than more modern homes.

This is why many people recommend patching the siding instead of replacing it, which can weaken parts of the siding as it no longer has the stronger parts that it may need. We always recommend doing this if you know you will be replacing the siding soon.

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This allows you to comfortably have the siding stay in a good working condition to allow your home to be safe. Many homeowners prefer to weather through the storm seasons before replacing damaged vinyl once the weather has cleared up and further damage is unlikely.

What Is Between Vinyl Siding and the House?

There should be insulation and a sealing layer placed between the vinyl of the house and the vinyl, both of which helps to increase the home’s ability to resist water and cold. This is why vinyl installations can take several days; they need to be reapplied if these layers have been damaged.

Many people have made the mistake of installing vinyl on the side of their house without any additional insulation or sealant, only to regret it later when the siding leaks and there is water coming through the walls. The siding will be waterproof, but there can still be small gaps that water can leak over time.

The layers of sealant and insulation beneath the vinyl allow it to easily and comfortably resist even the worst weather conditions. We always recommend checking how these insulations are doing whenever you have to replace or repair your vinyl siding.

What Is the Best Color for Vinyl Siding?

The best color for vinyl siding is always nearer to white; this color reflects the sun and prevents the siding from heating up too much. If the siding is darker, it may heat up way too much during summer or even winter and melt, causing much bigger headaches than necessary.

We have seen several people that have made the mistake of painting their vinyl siding a dark blue or even black. Not considering that the summer months in their area may be a lot hotter than when installed, causing their vinyl sidings to all melt and become extremely unstable.

Darker colors always absorb heat from the sun and will cause your siding to melt a lot faster, overall causing a lot more damage to them than needed. If your sidings are lighter, they will reflect the light, causing them to be much colder and handle most heat from the sun.

Conclusion

Your siding should last several decades if you are taking care of them properly, with vinyl siding usually only being damaged by external forces. However, nothing lasts forever, and you will have to replace the siding as it starts to age, especially if there are large temperature changes throughout the year.

Always remember that your vinyl siding may be a pain to keep clean, but at least you don’t have to wax it every year!

Source

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.

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