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How Long Does Vinyl Siding Last? How To Tell When It Needs Replacing?

Photo collage of different types of vinyl siding.

Vinyl siding, as reported by the Siding Authority, has a lifespan of two to four decades. It generally requires the least upkeep to stay in good shape for roughly 20 years or more, while other types of siding can last as long with regular maintenance. When it comes to vinyl siding, many property owners have no idea what the recommended replacement interval is.

Should you wait until it cracks, or is there an age at which you should be concerned? Understanding the durability of your chosen vinyl is also important. In this article, we’ll talk about vinyl siding, including the numerous kinds available, how long they last, and when you might need to replace them.

What Is The Expected Lifespan Of Vinyl Siding And When Should We Replace It?

Simply said, vinyl siding is not wood. We can purchase exterior vinyl siding in single or double panels. The first panel is suspended from the floor and fastened to the top rail by brackets on either side.

During World War II, DuPont researchers were looking for ways to reduce waste and maximize the use of plastic materials by inventing vinyl siding. Since it has a non-porous exterior, vinyl siding will not absorb water like conventional paint does, preventing rot damage from moisture seeping through fractures in walls beneath vinyl sheeting. This made vinyl siding a popular alternative to traditional painting for covering up existing wood boards.

Varieties and Durability of Vinyl Sliding

The durability of vinyl siding is conditional on factors like type, climate, and maintenance. Some vinyl siding options and how long they last are shown below.

1. Horizontal Siding

Vent on horizontal siding.

Among vinyl siding options, the horizontal installation seems to be the norm. This unadorned façade isn’t cutting-edge, but it will stand the test of time. Horizontal siding is never out of style, no matter how often fashions shift.

Furthermore, there is a wide selection of horizontal siding types to choose from, including Log-style Siding, Clapboard, Traditional Lap, Beaded, and Dutch Lap. However, over time, horizontal siding is more likely to deteriorate because of precipitation. However, this is typically seen with horizontal wood siding and never with vinyl.

Vinyl siding doesn’t rot or attract insects as wood does, and it also won’t splinter or grow mold. When compared to vertical vinyl or shaking vinyl, horizontal vinyl is both more affordable and simpler to apply. It’s one of the most common kinds of siding in use today and goes by a few different names.

It’s a thin, long board or panel that runs horizontally from one end of the home to the other. It requires nothing in the way of upkeep and is both renewable and efficient.

  • Smooth: Shadow lines do not appear on smooth lap siding as they do on beaded styles and dutch lap. This is designed to mimic the look of newly painted wood.
  • A Dutch Lap: This aesthetic was developed to simulate the impression of natural wood. The panels’ upper edges have ornamental shadow lines and grooves. The result is that it appears as though each panel was made by hand.
  • Beaded: This horizontal cladding has a rounded bead at the bottom of the panels that creates a stylish shadow line. Comparable to the dutch lap, but with a beaded groove at the base of the panels instead.

2. Vertical Siding

Weathered wooden vertical siding.

Vertical siding, often only seen on agricultural structures like barns and farmhouses, is increasingly becoming a popular choice for modern business buildings and even some private residences. When compared to the more common horizontal forms, vertical siding is sure to grab passersby’s attention. The vertical siding’s elegant appearance is a big draw due to its board and batten design.

However, the installation takes a little longer than that of horizontal siding since additional preparation is required. The advantages are numerous, including its ability to pass as real wood while also being low-maintenance, resistant to dampness and insects, and not require any painting. It is frequently combined with other siding types, such as shakes or lap siding. 

The width of both the board and the batten used to construct a standard profile is measured. Standard sizes and profiles include ten-inch boards with two-inch battens, yielding a twelve-inch width.

3. Shakes

Shakes siding on a building exterior.

This type of siding, known as shingles, mimics the classic look of weathered wood without the expensive cost or upkeep. They are stunning and can withstand the elements with little effort. Straight or staggered edges are the distinguishing characteristics of shakes.

Shakes with straight edges and bottoms provide a clear shadow line between the tiles. Staggered edge shakes have rougher edges at the bottom, making it look as if each shingle was set by hand. Shakes are versatile enough to be employed as both primary siding and accents.

4. Scallops 

Blue scallops siding background.

Not only are these employed everywhere in a house, but they also serve as decorative embellishments on the dormers and gables. Some common scallop shapes are hexagons and half circles, although there are many others. Uniquely made, these designs often measure between five and seven inches in height.

5. Shingles

Yellow exterior shingles siding.

Genuine shingle and shake siding is a favorite material of architects and interior designers. Vinyl choices will be available that look, feel, and have a similar color to real shakes and shingles, but cost much less. Historic homes and gables frequently feature this siding because of its unique and endearing appearance.

These vinyl shakes and shingles can have a variety of different profiles, such as half-round, hand-splint, or staggered edges, and are laid down vertically. Moreover, they feature a low-gloss surface that is eerily similar to the real deal. Vinyl shingles, in contrast to cedar, can provide a home with the desired appearance without the problems of uneven weathering, high maintenance costs, and difficult installation.

All of these vinyl siding options can be purchased with an additional insulation layer for the benefit of the home’s energy efficiency and the siding’s durability.

How often should vinyl siding be replaced?

Close-up shot of vinyl siding damaged.

There are numerous elements to think about besides the vinyl siding you have when deciding if and when to replace it. A few examples are as follows:

1. Based on How Long the Vinyl Siding Lasts

Among the many reasons, it’s crucial to know when your siding was put in is that it affects how long it will last. Vinyl siding has been around since the 1950s, and with technological advancement, it now has a lifespan of 30 to 40 years. Knowing when your vinyl or wood shingles were put in is the first step in determining their age.

If you can’t place a specific date on the home’s construction or last major renovation, a range of ten to twenty years seems reasonable.

2. When Damage, Wear, or Missing Sections of Vinyl Siding are Visible

High winds have damaged the siding of your home.

Your home’s vinyl siding has the potential to be both a beautiful addition and an eyesore. When the siding’s formerly vibrant yellow paint turns a dismal gray, no amount of elbow grease will get the grime off. Vinyl siding may deteriorate over time if you live in an area with severe winters, intense summers, and other extremes in climate.

Therefore, you may want to think about replacing it well before its expected lifespan ends.

3. Water is Easily Penetrating the Vinyl Siding

Protecting your property from moisture, which can cause mold growth, is one of vinyl siding’s primary functions. If you find a leak on the exterior of a wall or condensation on the interior of one, act quickly to fix the seal with new vinyl siding to prevent the problem from getting worse and costing you more money.

Does it Make Sense to Replace the Vinyl Siding?

Vinyl siding allows you to have an attractive home with no effort. Vinyl isn’t going to rot or rust as wood or aluminum would, and it can withstand harm from insects like termites. Putting in new vinyl siding to replace old, worn-out siding has been proven to have an average investment return of 76 percent.

Can we say it was worth it? Definitely!

Does Vinyl Siding Qualify as a Covered Loss Under a Homeowner’s Policy?

If anything outside is damaged, you should check your policy to see if it provides coverage. The insurance company will pay to repair or replace damaged property on your property, like metal siding, if the damage was caused by one of the hazards specified in your policy.