Vinyl and wood are both useful materials for house siding. And while they share the common purpose of protecting the inside of a home from the effects of weather and wind, they have separate advantages and disadvantages. Consumers should weigh the pros and cons of the two types of siding before making a large investment.
Wood siding is very durable, easy to install and environmentally friendly because it is biodegradable. It is also relatively affordable and it can be painted to change its look. However, wood siding requires regular treatments and painting and the wood can be a target for termites. When left untreated, the wood can rot and deteriorate as well as grow mildew.
Vinyl siding is relatively easy to maintain and requires low maintenance. It is very cost-effective and available in many colors. Some disadvantages to vinyl are that it provides no insulation and may damage and dent easily in storms. Vinyl siding is tough to repair and releases toxins into the atmosphere if burned.
In general, wood siding requires more maintenance than vinyl siding. Wood siding needs treatments every five to 10 years, unlike vinyl. Wood provides some level of insulation to a home, while vinyl provides a negligible amount. Vinyl is naturally much less likely to rot or promote mildew growth, but if treated properly, wood can resist rot and mildew growth just as well as vinyl.
Both wood and vinyl are relatively inexpensive materials for siding. However, the project of siding a home is not cheap. The biggest factor in determining the cost is the size of the home. Wood siding can cost anywhere from $6,500 to $10,000 to install in an area of about 1,250 square feet, depending on the type of wood that is used. Vinyl siding can run as little as $1 per square foot if installed by the homeowner and anywhere from $2 to $7 per square foot if professionally installed. Prices for vinyl vary by quality and type.
Unlike vinyl siding, wood siding has been used for centuries. The most common type of wood used in colonial times was Eastern white pine. Early New England homes used wood shingles made of cedar.
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