Coastal conditions are unique in that they present exceptionally harsh weather which can cause havoc with any building materials. The siding of any building will have to be made of exceptionally strong and high quality materials in order to withstand the harsh climate on the coast.
Vinyl siding is extremely long-lasting and able to withstand harsh weather conditions. It is possible, however, that as vinyl siding ages, it can become brittle and therefore more susceptible to being damaged by debris which may fly around during storms and hurricanes on the coast.
In order to understand how well vinyl siding will stand up to coastal conditions, it is helpful to understand the nature of the material and how it functions as a siding, as well as its pros and cons.
Advantages of Vinyl Siding
Despite becoming brittle with age, vinyl siding is able to withstand wind conditions up to 110mph. This is possible only if it is properly installed, and extremely strong hurricane winds will still manage to pull the siding off.
Vinyl siding can last between 20 and 40 years at the coast, and this is dependent on the conditions of the environment. Available in multiple thicknesses, vinyl siding becomes stronger the thicker it is.
Due to its structure, vinyl siding is able to create a layer of insulation for the building, and it is also able to add to the structural strength of the building.
Vinyl siding does not peel or corrode, making it a desirable choice for use on the coast. Old vinyl siding had numerous problems which caused the material to have a bad reputation, but new technologies have allowed for the creation of vinyl siding which is extremely durable.
Vinyl siding does not require painting. This is because it is manufactured with baked-in color, meaning that the color runs right through the material. It cannot be peeled, scratched or stripped off.
Vinyl siding is also relatively affordable when compared to other siding materials. For example, it is around ¼ of the price of fiber cement siding. Another advantage of vinyl siding is the fact that it is low maintenance.
Because its surface is smooth, dirt is able to slide off of vinyl siding with a simple spray of a hose. It is also less susceptible to problems caused by extreme weather conditions. The sun will not cause it to crack, nor will cold temperatures.
Moisture and insects are prevalent in wood siding, but this is far less of a problem with vinyl siding as long as the installation has been performed correctly. Rotting and warping are also not an issue when it comes to vinyl siding.
Disadvantages of Vinyl Siding
Despite its numerous advantages, vinyl siding does possess several disadvantages which cannot be ignored. It is important to understand these in order to fully understand the material and where its limits lie.
While the installation of vinyl siding is relatively simple, it is not completely foolproof. The efficiency of the material relies completely on correct installation, and so incorrect installation will cause major issues long term.
For example, vinyl siding nailed too tightly will end up cracking, bulging, and warping. Faulty installation will also result in the warranty being voided.
Vinyl siding can also cause other issues when it comes to home maintenance. Manufacturers tend to say that siding can last up to 30 years, but this is often not true in harsh climates, where the siding can start to age after a mere 10 years.
In particularly sunny climates, vinyl siding can start to fade. Painting will not fix this as the paint will inevitably peel and crack. If pressure washing is used to clean the siding, problems can ensue if water begins to make its way into the house through cracks around the siding.
Siding planks can also split and crack due to expansion and contraction, and small rocks thrown by lawnmowers can create holes in the siding. This is especially problematic when it comes to repairs, as the entire plank has to be replaced.
Another factor to consider is the fact that vinyl siding may cause the value of your home to drop. This is especially true if your home has historical significance, and you are covering the old timber siding with vinyl siding.
Unfortunately, potential buyers see vinyl siding as inferior. This means that they will potentially offer less for a house covered in vinyl siding.
How To Know When to Replace Vinyl Siding
There are numerous ways in which it becomes obvious that vinyl siding needs to be replaced. Firstly, you’ll want to look out for rotting. This rotting does not occur in the vinyl siding itself, but in the wood siding which is often found underneath the vinyl.
This can cause fungus to develop which can in turn cause dry rot in the wood and the siding itself. If the siding is rotten, it will start to crack, and it can be pulled apart easily.
If there is evident moisture inside the house, this is also a sure sign of issues with the siding. Interior paint that is peeling can mean that moisture has moved from outside the building into the plaster or the drywall.
If the siding is loose or cracked, this is a definite sign that the siding needs to be replaced. It can be as a result of wear and tear from multiple factors, including hail, rocks, heat, and age.
If the siding is warped or buckling as a result of settling or changes in temperature, it should also be replaced. The same goes for cases where there are holes in the siding from whatever cause.
If the heating and cooling bills in your house have dramatically increased, this is another sign that the siding might need to be replaced. This is because damaged siding can interfere with the insulation of your home, thus causing heat to escape, thereby increasing your electricity bills.
Provided it is installed correctly and observed for any issues, vinyl siding can withstand coastal conditions relatively well. It will naturally not last as long as it would away from the coast, but will provide sufficient protection for your home for years to come.