Vinyl vs. aluminum siding : Pros? Cons?

linnea56June 17, 2014

Our 27 year old house needs new siding. The contractor is telling is that vinyl is better than aluminum; thicker, does not fade; plus they can add insulation under the vinyl on top of the foam sheathing that was installed when the house was built in 1986. They said ours is faded, but I can't really tell; so that's not a big selling point to me. The house has a brick facade covering the whole front. The sides and back are aluminum siding, and it has rough sawn cedar trim, painted. They suggest covering up all the trim, but I see it as having visual interest, in breaking up an otherwise monotonous surface of siding.

In general I try to avoid having too many plastics around. Are there negative consequences to vinyl, such as outgassing? Thanks for your help.

This post was edited by linnea56 on Tue, Jun 17, 14 at 19:41

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We have insulated metal siding.

The insulation for vinyl is usually rigid sheet foam nailed to the sheathing and the vinyl installed over the foam.

A big minus for vinyl is it can be damaged by weedeaters/debris thrown from a lawn mower. And it can warp if installed incorrectly.

Metal siding can be insulated, but is usually painted---baked non as a rule. Debris can dent it and age will allow the coating to degrade.

I prefer metal. And have installed vinyl on about 30 houses.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 7:35PM
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Thanks, handymac. Considering the house already has foam sheets under the siding, with vinyl, they just add another layer of it? Is vinyl that much thinner than aluminum, that they can do this? I didnâÂÂt know there was insulated metal siding.

The reason for this prospective replacement is hail damage. I canâÂÂt really see it myself, but the adjuster said there was a lot, mostly on the side of the house that gets the most wind. Does vinyl also dent, or does something like hail just bounce off?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 7:51PM
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Vinyl does not dent like metal. In very cold weather it can crack, which is worse than denting in my opinion.

If the siding is now vinyl over foam board, they will simply replace the siding. No need to add more foam board.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 2:02AM
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Thanks again. Existing siding (which has never been changed since the house was built 27 years ago) is aluminum. I asked the contractor again about how/why they would add a new layer of foam board if using vinyl, but not aluminum, but didnâÂÂt get a clear answer. They have done a lot of houses in this neighborhood, so they must know what is under the aluminum.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 12:12PM
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They have made significant improvements in the quality of the vinyl siding. It is not as susceptible to UV degradation or temperature as the early materials were. It is tougher and not as brittle as it once was. Thin metal will still dent and the applied coatings are susceptible to scratches and degradation from the elements.

They can mold the vinyl to mimic clapboards or shingle finishes.

Personally I like it better than aluminum

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 1:05PM
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I've spent more than a year reading about vinyl vs aluminum and agonizing over the decision. Currently, I have aluminum. Am not a fan of wrapping my house in plastic. What I found was:
- aluminum would be more expensive (at least in my area)
- aluminum takes paint far better, if you want to change the color
- aluminum can dent, vinyl can sag
- vinyl has more brands and levels of quality available (even CR ratings)
- vinyl has more far color choices available
- fewer installers have experience putting up aluminum
- could not find good data comparing color fading in vinyl vs aluminum

Just decided, 2 days ago, to go with vinyl - because of cost & color choice. Sure hope I don't regret it.

Good luck. Please keep us posted as to what you decide.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 2:04AM
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This is the aluminum siding that I was going to use (PlyGem, Mastic, Envoy[which is thicker than the endurance]). I THINK it is the best choice of aluminum siding that is available.

After so much time researching aluminum siding, I am embarrased to admit I picked the brand of vinyl siding, in large part because of the color (ironstone). It had good CR ratings, but was not their top pick.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 2:16AM
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