Don't be mad! Vinyl siding?

enigmaquandryAugust 9, 2010

Hi! I have a 60 year old cape cod in the midwest. We have to re-side and I have been COMPLETELY confused about our best choice. At first I was set on fiber cement but I am really not convinced anymore about how well-engineered it is. Contractors seem to either love it or hate it, one of the siding guys we called is telling us he's staying away from it now because of some class-action lawsuits in our area...even the samples at the store are broken on the corners...

We could do wood but we live in an area with termites and carpenter ants...we've already had to be treated for them.

We're looking at vinyl (I really like the look of the shakes but I only want them on the gables), I don't like the look of the lap because the reveal is so small, I want about a 6" or 7" reveal, I also don't like the "cupping" look of the vinyl...however it is very reasonable and doesn't crumble or break.

One contractor is suggesting steel but I cannot find any information on it.

Anyway, I'm sure this may have been addressed already but I'm having trouble finding a truly good option for us. Typically I really do hate vinyl but I'm beginning to think that's our only option. I wish we could have the house bricked but i know that would be way out of our budget...I am SO frustrated, it's such an expensive commitment!

Thanks for any info, advice, opinions etc.

From Stonegate Cottage

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Building Science Corp. has some nice things to say about vinyl.

Feel better now?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 12:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I personally like vinyl siding a lot. If it's high-quality vinyl siding, it doesn't look bad at all. And it's nearly maintenance free. I've never understood the opposition to it. Although wood siding is obviously more "historic", it is a pain to take care of. And I don't trust fiber cement.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 12:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

enigma, what kind of siding is presently on your house? It looks nice in the pictures. Can you do the same kind, or is it wood and thus the termite/carpenter ant concerns?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 1:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

worthy, thank you for that link, that was helpful!

krycek, it's good to meet you outside the small house forum! I am with you on the distrust of the FC...which is such a shame, I thought it was the "perfect" choice originally.

kimkitchy, currently we have a VERY low grade vinyl on there. It is fading enormously and beginning to buckle and crack, hence the replacement :)

Groan, I wish there WAS a perfect choice...

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 5:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You will never find a perfect replacement, LOL! A lot of houses around here (in Cleveland) look like yours and most people do it in vinyl siding to get rid of aluminum.

I personally would go with a nice-quality vinyl and be done with it. Durable, doesn't require much maintenance, and nice, well done vinyl siding looks quite attractive. Others may have other opinions though and I look forward to hearing the negatives people have experienced!

As far as stuff like the fiber cement know, it's funny, companies introduce new things all the time. But more than half the time, the old product was as good, or better, than the new product!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 5:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What's wrong with the cement fiber siding? My mom has that and it's held up far.

Vinyl siding looks nice and it sounds like a good choice. Nice landscaping, btw :)

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 1:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Really the only fiber cement product is produced by the James Hardie Company, and the product that is increasingly used on many new homes is Hardy Plank Lap Siding. What you saw at Home Depot was a brand that looks like but is not Hardy.

Hardy material requires special saw blades for cutting the product and you must also wear a resperator so you don't inhale any dust. However, I wear a respriator when I am handling any type of insulation or the sawdust created from sawing regular wood.

I have had Hardy siding on the gable ends of my home that are not brick, and it has not been touched or required paint since it was installed 20 years ago.

Don't care what you use, just wanted to set the record straight.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 2:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It is interesting to me to read negative things about fiber cement siding. I had always heard good things about it and at least a couple of contributors (above) have had good experiences. I wonder what the issue is for the complainants in a class action lawsuit?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 3:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There is a huge post here on gardenweb about it not doing well in northern climates...probably a combo of improper insulation and the product not being up to snuff. I can't remember all that was said about it, but to sum it up, most of the people were having issues with it in the north with a lot of snow, etc.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 4:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, that's good to know. I live where there is a TON of snow. I don't think we are going to re-side our house, but I'd always thought Hardie-board would be a viable option. If we do re-side I'll have to do a lot of research when choosing the material. Sometimes you see things on TV, or you hear about them being great from contractors, and you think "Well, that's the new best thing"!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 5:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I meant installation, not insulation...what am I thinking when I type, sometimes!!!!!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 9:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Very cute house, enigma, but if what it has on it is deteriorated vinyl siding, you just have to find the best among the reasonable replacements.

I have the idea that vinyl gets brittle from sunlight over time, but that may be obsolete. In any case, on the Remodeling and Building a House forums here, the fiber cement manufactured by Nishiha seems to have some fans. If you cannot find a vinyl you like, it might be worthy checking out.

As a great admirer of what you did with your kitchen, I am positive your exterior will emerge great.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 9:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hardie board is not the same as hardboard, which is what the class action suits have been about.

Vinyl siding installation is harder to screw up than installation of other siding materials.

Here is a link that might be useful: Siding lawsuits.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 9:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think I found the thread about problems in northern climates, eek! It's pretty frightening to me!

The sample that we saw at Lowes was actually the James Hardie brand, that's why I was shocked to see it so shabby AS A SAMPLE...I just don't want to use vinyl but this product scares me. We absolutely cannot afford for our siding to fail. We are going to be stretching ourselves to get it on to begin with.

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 12:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The Hardie class action lawsuit dealt with roof shingles.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hardie Roofing Claims

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 12:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the info :)

My mom has a four year-old manufactured home and the Hardie board was an upgrade, they had just made standard, the summer she purchased it. We also got all the insulation/super good cents options, which had also just been made standard. (We were going to get them anyway, but it was nice that it was included.) Also got the OSB board on all outer walls, under the insulation.

The yellow color has lasted very well on the Hardie board (not fading like on normal manufactured homes) and we had two back to back winters with 3'+ snow.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 1:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The contractor that put Hardi Plank on my house said his crew hated it too - but when I asked why he said that it takes much more time to install than vinyl siding. Doesn't surprise me - a typical vinyl installation is slapping up some J channel; hacking off sill ears or any other detail that gets in the way; overlap the joints and double row siding to keep labor down. Unfortunately to me it just ends up looking likes something that was designed to be cheap - though from a distance it can look OK. Unfortunately I spend a fair amount of time nearby my own house :-) .

It doesn't surprise me that you found samples of fiber cement siding that were broken on the corners. If you do drop it on the corner it will crumble - the stuff is much more brittle than wood. But if you don't drop it or crush it when nailing it should be fine.

I find it odd that you are leaning toward vinyl because of low maintenance but you are replacing vinyl because it is fading, buckling, and cracking. Around here people are also having problems with vinyl melting - supposedly due to sunlight reflected off of neighbors windows. Anyway - the question I have for the vinyl advocates is - how do you tell high quality vinyl siding from low quality?

Here is a link that might be useful: Energy Efficient Windows Melt Vinyl Siding

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 12:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

how do you tell high quality vinyl siding from low quality?

From ABTCO vinyl siding manufacturer:

"What should I be looking for in a good quality vinyl product?
First, you should look for siding certified under the Vinyl Siding Institute's third-party certification program. Certification under this program ensures that the siding meets ASTM D3679 requirements. This is the industry standard for vinyl siding.

Second, you'll need to determine what level of performance you will need. For example, some sidings are thicker than others, which can increase impact resistance and rigidity. Some sidings have a higher profile height than others, which can also increase rigidity. Added rigidity can help provide a straighter installed appearance. Some sidings have different windload resistances, as well. Typically, thicker sidings with taller profile heights and higher windload resistances are more expensive than thinner sidings with lower profile heights and lower windload resistances.

Finally, you should be certain you hire a quality, insured siding contractor. Ask for references and to see examples of his or her work. Find out if they guarantee their work. We warrant siding against manufacturing defects, but do not warrant installation. You may also want to check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints about the contractor have been registered."

To which one might add, use caution in installing vinyl in urban areas where neighbours' upgraded windows might affect your siding.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 2:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Maybe it's because I don't, and never have, lived in a high-class/upper-class area, but most vinyl siding I've seen doesn't look cheap at all. Aesthetically speaking. I'm not sure what people mean when they say it looks cheap and crappy? To me, it looks a lot like old wood siding. Even close up I am not bothered by our vinyl siding. Maybe I am just not used to being close to the good stuff like fiber cement and all LOL.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 6:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ill throw my 2 cents in for giggles..Ive installed vinyl on about 10 houses by myself. Never had an issue with attaching regardless of what was already on the house. There are different type grades of vinyl, mostly thickness and design so you get what you pay for. but if its done lasts just like they say.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 9:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you everyone, I can't say that I'm any closer to a decision...I think we're going to do vinyl shakes on the gables and maybe the fiber cement wide lap on the rest? Do you think that would look weird?

Has anybody used Nichiha? I'm not sure whether or not we can get it around here but I hear it's another option...

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 10:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

enigmaquandry, I put pictures of my house over on the home decorating forum, it is done with Certainteed vinyl shakes. I checked out Nichiha. It was lovely and twice as much as Hardi fiber cement, which was twice as much as vinyl for me.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 9:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I detest vinyl siding - to explain why, I'll just say when I saw the pic of your house I thought "gee that looks like it already has vinyl siding on it." The thickness of the vinyl + all the layers underneath encasimg the house has the effect of flattening the features like window frames, doors, etc. so they don't stand out so crisply. To my eye it looks like a house encased in plastic.

Also if your area is like here- it seems like the only choices must be gray-beige or tan-beige. Sure dont see much else, except sometimes that pale sickly yellow.

Don't mean to offend anyone - but just express a minority (surprisingly for an old house forum!) opinion. Makes for a good conversation or debate, no?

Saw an ad for seamless siding which didnt look so bad - since it didn't have all those cracks and seams.

If it was my house Id get the hardi plank - or heck, wood and paint or maybe even a stained cedar. Its not that big a house. When you think about it, wood seems to be good for about 75-100 years (more if well cared for).

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 11:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Enigma, you've got to check out this thread from the Home Decorating Board! I think you'll enjoy it!

Here is a link that might be useful: Vinyl siding

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 9:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know I started this thread last year but I have reeeeeeeeally given this a lot of thought! This will (hopefully) be the one and only time we ever side and I've been TERRIFIED of making the wrong decision. I think we've finally decided though, I am happy to say :)

We have ruled out fiber cement, I just don't trust it, and there's a newer house in our neighborhood with it and the seams already look bad. We have been getting brick quotes but unless one of them comes back ridiculously low we've decided to ... go with vinyl shakes.

I read through pamelas_kitchen's thread (thank you!) and that got the wheels turning but the final decision was made yesterday on a walk. My husband and I were walking and playing "guess the siding" in some of the nice neighborhoods around us. Finally we got to one of my favorite houses ever. It's a beautiful house with a birch tree out front and beautiful dark blue shakes. I was thinking that I really wished I could afford siding like that and then I realized it was vinyl. This is HUGE since I REALLY pay attention to houses and I've been looking at this house for years on walks and I never suspected a thing. I brought my friend by (also an admirer of the house) and she said it's too bad I couldn't afford wood shakes like that house...I guess that clinched it for me :)

I'm thinking of Certainteed since I think that's what they used, (I don't like the really ribbed looks, faux weathered colors or the fake "hand split" looks. I like the most subtle profile possible because that's how most shakes look around here).

I'd love any opinions on brands, colors (especially ones to go with our super dark brown roof) and pitfalls on installation. Since it's so much simpler with vinyl I think we may try to do it ourself.

Thank you SO much everyone, my mind is so much more at ease! I figure that with the shakes you won't see the seams, if it fades it won't make NEARLY as much of a difference, and the same with any warping. Though with a better quality I'm hoping that wouldn't be a problem. I think the texture it will add will be nice on a house our size.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 9:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

the only siding that looks really good is wood siding. with proper installation and maintenance, wood siding lasts a very very long time.

the closest thing to wood siding is hardie plank. vinyl always looks like, well, vinyl. even aluminum looks better than vinyl in my opinion. the most offensive installation method is when they put vinyl over the existing siding and modify or remove the exterior window casing to make it work.

find a reputable installer of hardie plank and you'll have a good looking house. if the contractor "hates it," then s/he likely does not install it right. don't go with the lowest bidder on the job, proper flashing etc is also critical.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 8:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just had my 1950 split level resided last year. The wood clapboards were in terrible condition, but I resisted vinyl for years because all I had seen was the cheap, glossy vinyl. I had it resided with the vinyl that looks like cedar shakes.

The brand I used was Pelican Bay, which is part of Alside siding. I am very happy with the appearance, and am very glad not to have the maintenance of wood.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 3:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have you looked at what's under the vinyl? You might be suprised. Sometimes you get lucky and find decent or at least salvageable wood or shakes under it. Some folks are sold vinyl when all they really need is a good coat of paint or stain.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 1:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Stinky-gardener I REALLY appreciate the link as I have to reside the tiny new home I bought and the vinyl Certainteed shakes in that thread look beautiful.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 11:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Two good alternatives are solid core vinyl siding and pressure treated cedar shingles. They are not cheap but then no good building material is.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 11:47AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Should we try to reuse old windows?
I am not sure how old the windows in our second floor...
prairiemoon2 z6 MA
Strip flooring with unusual cross section
(Cross posted from Flooring forum) I'm renovating a...
Plaster stamped like tile?
My house was built in 1915. I am tearing out some 60s...
Craftsman tile question
I recently visited a friend who lives in a beautiful...
Weird things found in old houses
So I went on a basement rampage this weekend, donning...
Sponsored Products
Skybox Bird House
Grandin Road
Little Cottage 8 x 8 ft. Value Gable Precut Storage Shed - 8X8 VGS-WPC
Little Tikes Picnic on the Patio Plastic Playhouse - 403U
$349.99 | Hayneedle
Little Cottage 8 x 12 Cape Cod Wood Playhouse - 8X12CAPECOD W/O FLOOR KIT
Little Cottage 11 x 10 Pennfield Cottage Wood Playhouse - 11X10PENNFIELD
Little Cottage 24 x 12 ft. Value Gable Precut Storage Shed - 12X24 VGS-WPC
Little Cottage 12 x 16 ft. Value Gable Precut Storage Shed - 12X16 VGS-WPC
Little Cottage 24 x 12 ft. Value Workshop Precut Garden Shed - 12X24 VWS-WPC
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™