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Wood vs. Vinyl Siding: A Side by Side Comparison (Pros & Cons)

wood vs vinyl siding featured

As experienced roofing contractors, we know you have tons on your mind when it comes to home maintenance. Not only do you have to ensure that everything inside your home works properly, but you also need to keep your roof repaired, gutters clean, and siding in good condition.

If you’re experiencing any of the following issues, it’s time to upgrade the siding on your home:

  • It’s starting to warp.
  • You see signs of mold or other water damage.
  • Your energy bills have increased for seemingly no reason.

You may be wondering whether wood vs. vinyl siding is the better choice when making a siding upgrade. Here, we break down the pros and cons of each of the two materials to help you make the best choice for you.

✅ Wood Siding Pros

Wood is probably the most attractive kind of siding you could choose. With various wood types available for your use, such as:

  • Pine
  • Cypress
  • Cedar
  • And more

wood vs vinyl siding house

You can choose almost any color and grain you want! Wood siding also provides you with many design options, such as clapboard, dutch lap, shakes, shingles, and board-and-batten.

Once you choose your wood type and siding style, you can paint your siding whatever color you want. For more expensive wood types where you want to show off the grain, you can also stain and seal your siding to maintain the natural wood look without exposing your siding to the elements.

Wood is a natural material, so in terms of material manufacturing and disposal, it’s the most eco-friendly choice in siding material. When maintained properly, it’s also incredibly durable:

  • The lifespan of the average wood siding system is 20 to 40 years.

❌ Wood Siding Cons

Despite all its charm, wood siding does have some downsides. First, it does need regular upkeep. Over time, paints and sealants wear down, leaving your siding exposed to the elements. Wood siding pieces require painting or sealing at least once every few years to stay in good condition, so set aside some of your budget for ongoing maintenance costs.

You’ll also need to watch for signs of infestations of wood-eating insects and wood rot. Left unchecked, these seemingly minor issues can turn into significant problems.

Since it’s made of a natural material, wood siding also responds to the elements:

  • Contracts in cold weather,
  • Expands in warm weather
  • Challenging to get a consistently tight insulation seal
  • Can cause more energy usage in your home than vinyl siding

Installing wood siding on a house takes time and expertise. You’ll need to set aside time to cut your siding to the right length and width, prep, paint, seal, and install it. Many siding contractors will help you with the task of installing wood siding, but their services will come at a cost.

Real wood siding also tends to be one of the most expensive siding materials, costing anywhere from 2x to 4x more per square foot than its vinyl counterpart.

✅ Vinyl Siding Pros

When it was first introduced in the 1950s, vinyl siding quickly became known as a less expensive but no lesser quality alternative to aluminum siding.

And this assessment still holds true today. New vinyl siding is incredibly durable, lasting at least four decades under normal conditions. It comes in many of the same designs and styles as wood siding for a fraction of the cost.

Since vinyl is largely weather-resistant on its own, it requires little upkeep. You’ll want to wash your siding regularly to keep dirt buildup to a minimum, but you won’t have to worry about the natural weather patterns of your area wearing down your siding over time, as vinyl provides an effective moisture barrier all on its own.

Vinyl takes much less time and effort to install than wood siding. After the bottom row is fastened to the home’s exterior, the rest of the rows of siding interlock with each other, making them easy to put up on your own. The interlocking nature of these pieces also means that vinyl siding can tightly seal up your home, leading to solid insulation and potential energy savings for you each month.

wood vs vinyl siding vinyl

❌ Vinyl Siding Cons

Vinyl is not an excellent insulator on its own, so if you struggle with temperature fluctuations in your home, you’ll likely need to spray foam underneath vinyl siding during its installation to get the full benefits of its insulating power.

Despite the added energy efficiency you can get from using vinyl siding on your home, it isn’t the most environmentally friendly option on the market. Vinyl requires a lot of energy consumption during its manufacturing, as it’s made from a form of plastic. Once you’re done with it, it’s difficult to recycle if you can even find recycling centers in your area that will accept it in the first place. Some vinyl sidings may also release harmful chemicals if burned.

Vinyl performs well in most temperate climates but has difficulty standing up against extreme temperatures. It can crack in extreme cold and melt or warp in extreme heat.

Wood Siding vs. Vinyl Siding: Which to Choose?

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to the kind of siding you should choose to install on your home. It all depends on your priorities, budget, and where you live.

  • If you’re looking for a low-maintenance, cost-efficient siding option, vinyl siding can’t be beat.
  • However, if you want siding that’s good for the environment and gives you a variety of style options, then wood siding is the right choice for you.

Some deciding factors will be out of your control. If you experience long periods of extreme cold where you live, vinyl siding may be in danger of cracking before it reaches the end of its lifespan. On the other hand, if you live in an area prone to summer wildfires, your local municipality may have restrictions on how much wood siding you can use on your property and how you need to treat it for safety.

Get Help Finding the Right Option for You

As you can see, the debate between wood and vinyl siding isn’t easily solved. Luckily, you don’t have to make this decision on your own.

Want help figuring out the right choice for you? Get in touch with Dreamworx Exteriors today!

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