Vinyl is one of the most popular siding materials used by homeowners in the country. Most people love it because it’s the cheapest siding out there, very easy to maintain, and complements a wide range of home designs.

But regardless of its many benefits, vinyl siding also bears numerous drawbacks that each homeowner should know before using it.

Among the most common issues with vinyl sidings include:

Appearance

While vinyl siding gives homeowners a variety of colors and styles to use, the color of the siding usually fades over time. And since vinyl can’t be repainted, your home may be stuck with an ugly siding for a long time.

Sustainability

As a building material, vinyl isn’t the best material for the environment and for your health. It contains a toxic chemical compound known as dioxin that causes problems with your body’s immunity, reproductive and development systems.

Dioxins also remain in the environment for a long time, due to poor disposal, and pollute the air, groundwater, and soil.

Warping

When incorrectly installed, vinyl siding tends to develop warping and buckling issues as it tries to expand and contract. This becomes an eyesore for your neighbors and can negatively affect the market value of your home.

It’s quite common around windows and edges where parts of the siding are uneven. Using poor quality vinyl could also be a reason for the regular warping.

Cracking

Cracking is another common issue with vinyl siding. It’s caused by improper installations, strong impacts, e.g., after a storm, or long exposure to direct sunlight. When left unrepaired, even those tiny unnoticeable cracks become big enough to allow leaks and cause water damage.

Melting even on cold days

Generally, vinyl sidings start melting when exposed to temperatures of between 160 – 165 Fahrenheit. However, the melting isn’t always caused by hot direct sunlight. In colder areas, most vinyl sidings melt due to strong reflected light.

In neighborhoods with many insulated windows, the light reflected from such windows cause the vinyl sidings to melt. This has become a prevalent issue for many homeowners.

Moisture issue

Moisture trapping is one of the biggest problems with vinyl siding. Due to its expanding and contracting property, it’s harder for vinyl to keep out moisture – you’ll need a second waterproof barrier.

If the moisture gets trapped underneath your siding, it attracts mold and mildew as well as causes rotting.

Whenever you suspect any of these six problems on your vinyl siding, you have to take action immediately before it’s too late. If possible, consult a professional contractor for help.

To help prevent this, be sure to have your house wrapped before the vinyl siding is installed. This will ensure the issue does not transfer inside.

vinyl siding disadvantages

Simple installation but not for DIY

To the untrained eye, vinyl siding installation seems easy and straightforward. But the truth is, installing a siding of any type is no job for a beginner DIYer.

Keep in mind; Even the slightest mistakes in the installations can lead to cracks, warping, and water leak problems. For instance, nailing the siding too tightly may cause the siding to expand and crack or bulge.

Such an error will later cost you more than what you were trying to save by not hiring a pro.

Installing vinyl siding becomes costly and tricky for many people when they reach the corners, fascia and soffits, and the eaves.

Trimming around the doors and windows can also be a challenge.

Without the proper tools and knowledge on how to complete the job, many DIYers end up disappointed with the quality of their work.

Another key reason not to do the installation yourself is because of the health risks involved. Vinyl sidings are known to contain some toxic chemicals like chlorine and dioxin that are harmful to your health.

Maintenance issues

The fact that vinyl siding requires very little maintenance is always attractive to homeowners. However, things aren’t always as easy as they sound.

Even though the siding doesn’t peel, flake, or require painting, you’ll have to inspect them regularly to ensure they’re in good condition.

You’ll also have to power wash (or use a hose) the siding at least once a year to preserve its color and aesthetics. However, this could lead to other maintenance issues, for instance, water may seep into your house through any cracks or crevices on the siding.

In cases of poor installation, the costs of repairing and replacing the vinyl siding panel will also be relatively high.

Lower house value

When you choose to work with vinyl sidings, one of the biggest risks is that it’ll diminish your house value. If the home has had some architectural significance, switching to vinyl siding could dramatically lower its market value.

Some homebuyers also still think of vinyl as an inferior choice for siding, and so, the offers for your property will be relatively lower.

The production process of PVC is bad for the environment

As the world continues to seek sustainable solutions for the environment, the production process of Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) isn’t helping. It emits large volumes of harmful greenhouse gases that pollute the air and water.

Even though more studies are needed to confirm just how much danger vinyl possess to the environment, some researchers indicate that this process of vinyl production could be the cause of several health issues among residents.

And since many recycling centers don’t accept items with PVC, manufacturers have to dispose of them in landfills. Here, the PVC is usually burned, emitting heavy amounts of poisonous gases.

Color fading after few years

Perhaps the most common disadvantage of using vinyl siding is that their color starts to fade after a few years. This happens due to exposure to elements of weather like rain, snow, and UV rays.

It mainly affects the parts of the siding exposed to sunlight. The shaded areas can retain their color longer, but the uneven fading will easily become irritating.

The worst thing about it is that it’s harder to replace just the faded parts of the siding and leave the other. You’ll have to replace the entire siding.

Diminishing the historic authenticity of an older home

Most older homes in the country come with beautiful natural wood sidings that make them stand out. In as much as vinyl resembles wood, it can’t give that historic touch of real wood.

So, if you choose to replace the wood siding with vinyl or any other material, it will drastically diminish the historic authenticity of that home.

Most of the original ornamental details or trims will be removed and overlooked, and some of the clapboards may be damaged. Overall, using vinyl siding changes the textures and architectural patterns of the house, resulting in a less appealing home.

This affects its market value.

The drawbacks

Vinyl siding may be durable and cost-effective, but it’s not foolproof. It looks fake compared to wood, and fades pretty quickly, reducing the curb appeal of a home and decreasing its value.

When improperly installed, vinyl sidings are more susceptible to cracks and warping. They may also leak as they contract and expand, hence become prone to rotting, mold infestation, and water damage.

Moreover, patching up only the damaged parts of the siding is impossible. If there’s any damage, you have to replace complete panels.

FAQ’s

Vinyl siding is very durable. When installed correctly and with proper maintenance, it can last for around 60 years or more. However, the average lifespan for the siding in most homes is between 20 – 40 years, depending on the quality of the materials and installation.

Vinyl sidings are the most durable in the market today. Being a plastic product, vinyl can last forever and won’t be broken down by heavy storms or other strong impacts. When properly installed, the siding also doesn’t absorb moisture that could cause it to rot.

Yes! Most county authorities recommend having a wrap behind sidings of all materials to help improve their insulative properties. Although vinyl siding is a good material for restricting moisture and air leaks, you’ll still need a house wrap to control the air circulation.

Not necessarily. If your old siding wasn’t badly damaged, there’s no reason to remove the old siding before installing the new one. Doing so will become costly and more complicated.

However, some manufacturers may term your warranty void if you don’t remove the old siding first. So, read the terms of your warranty or talk to your manufacturer.

Removing the old siding first will only be necessary if the siding has started showing cracks, warps, rot or decay, molds and mildew among other damages that need urgent repairs.

Yes! With enough preparation, vinyl siding can easily be installed over old wood without having to remove it. But for this process to be successful, you’ll need to involve a professional.

Nevertheless, most experts still recommend removing the old wood siding first.

Wood, vinyl, aluminum and steel, fiber cement, stucco, and brick are among the best sidings you can have on your house. Nonetheless, they all differ in versatility, cost, durability, and aesthetics.

There’s no one-fits-all siding for all homes, and so, focus on choosing the one that suits you and your house.

FAQ’s vinyl siding

Timothy Munene
Author: Timothy Munene - Timothy is a freelance writer and an online entrepreneur.