Vinyl siding is plastic exterior siding generally used in residential construction for decoration and weatherproofing. It tends to imitate wood clapboard, and used instead of other materials such as aluminum or fiber cement siding. It is an engineered product, manufactured primarily from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin.
Approximately 80 percent of its weight is PVC resin, with the remaining 20 percent being ingredients that impart color, opacity, gloss, impact resistance, flexibility, and durability. It is the most common exterior cladding for residential construction in the US.
How is it made?
Vinyl siding is manufactured by coextrusion. Two layers of PVC are laid down in a continuous extrusion process; the top layer is weatherable capstock, which comprises about a third of the siding thickness. This capstock includes about 10% titanium dioxide, which is a pigment and provides resistance to breakdown from UV light. Vinyl siding, like paint, will inevitably fade over time, but the fade rate is somewhat slower with vinyl, and in any house cladding (vinyl, paint or others) the intensity of the color is in direct correlation to the rate of fade.
The lower layer is typically about 15% ground limestone. The limestone reduces cost, and also balances the titanium dioxide, keeping both extrusion streams equally fluid during manufacturing.
Unlike wood or cedar, this durable plastic will not rot or flake. Vinyl is available in several dozen colors, and can mimic architectural details that were once made from wood. It’s no wonder that vinyl has become the most popular siding material in the United States and is quickly gaining momentum around the world.
- Low Total Cost of Ownership – Vinyl siding requires little if any maintenance, never needs to be painted, and if damaged can be easily replaced. To maintain a fresh appearance vinyl siding should be washed at least once a year.
- De facto Standard – Vinyl siding is the most frequently used siding option in the United States today.
- Weather Resistant – Vinyl siding is manufactured to last a very long time. Warranties for vinyl siding can range from 20-40 years depending on the thickness with many manufacturers now offering lifetime warranties that can be transferred to the next owner. Vinyl siding is resistant to heat, cold, and moisture and is certified to withstand winds up to 110 miles per hour.
- A Green Alternative – Insulated siding may be used to make homes more environmentally friendly. By reducing energy consumption, insulated siding can reduce air pollution. According to manufacturers, insulated siding is manufactured to last more than 50 years potentially reducing landfill contributions. Some products also include an organic, non-toxic termite and insect repellent. In addition to reducing energy consumption insulated siding is breathable, allowing water vapor to escape, which can provide protection against mold, rot and mildew and help maintain healthy indoor air quality.