When Choosing Cheap Doesn't Pay: Common Vinyl Siding Problems

When you're building a house or updating the exterior finishes, you can save money by choosing budget siding options. However, cheap siding can lead to problems down the road, and so choosing a higher quality siding is more important than you might initially think. Vinyl is a budget option for homeowners, but not all vinyl is created equally. If you get cheap plastic siding, here are some problems you can expect to face.


1. Cheaper siding options are not as durable. 

Some siding can last for decades if it is properly cared for, but they cost more up front. Cheaper siding options like low-quality vinyl can become dented with external forces like hail or even a heavy ladder leaning against the siding surface. Vinyl siding especially will have a harder time standing up to inclement weather conditions, meaning you will need to replace the siding on your whole house a lot sooner than if you had chosen a longer lasting option like stucco, wood, or fiber cement board. 

2. Colors can fade.

If you do choose vinyl siding, it's important to get a quality finish to prevent color fading. Fading is a big problem with budget siding options. While this might not seem like a big issue from the outset, areas of your house that have more sun exposure (south and east facing sides) will be a different color than the other walls. If your siding becomes damaged in a storm, replacing a section can be very difficult because matching the faded color will be nearly impossible. 

3. Warping and buckling can ruin the aesthetic appeal of your home.

Siding needs to be installed properly, and studier varieties generally hang more easily and stay secure for longer. Siding that is less expensive is more prone to warping in the heat and shrinking in the cold, which will cause your siding to droop and eventually fall off. 

4. Your siding can be loud.

Cheaper siding options like vinyl are not tightly fastened to the house. They have rows of fasteners to hang the siding on. When it is windy, your siding can creak, flap, or vibrate, leading to noise and stress on the siding that will eventually weaken it. 

Choosing Quality

Vinyl siding is less expensive for a reason. However, this does not mean that you should avoid vinyl in its entirety. There are quality vinyl products for homeowners. You know you are choosing quality if:

  • the projected cost is higher per square foot installed -- around $4 to $6 installed. Ask what the highest material price your contractor offers is, and then look at the lowest price. Choosing something in the mid-to-higher range will be a good general method for selecting higher grade siding. High quality siding will typically cost just as much or more than common wood siding options (like cedar), but they are easier to maintain because they never need to be painted.
  • you read the fine print. Some vinyl sidings are sturdy enough to withstand bad weather. In fact, if quality vinyl siding is not hung in the traditional way, but is instead installed over foam panels per the recommendation of the National Association of Homebuilders, it will perform very well during high wind conditions. 
  • you choose a thicker siding to prevent sagging. Premium siding is usually 0.044-0.048 inches thick, while the cheapest, thinnest sidings will be only 0.035 inches. 

Choosing the best siding for your house is more than just a cost issue-- you should consider how long the siding will last, what your local climate is like, and how much it will cost to fix potential problems down the road. For more info, talk to a siding contractor in your area about choosing premium siding options.