Let’s be honest: Vinyl siding often gets a bad rap. You’ve likely heard a few negative things about this versatile cladding material, but do you know what’s fact and what’s fiction? There are going to be pros and cons with any type of material, and vinyl siding is no exception. Let’s cut through the fluff and get down to the truth about this affordable option.
Vinyl siding: Just the facts, please
Vinyl siding is much maligned for a variety of reasons. Here are the most common issues you might have heard about, and the real story behind all of that negative spin.
Myth: Vinyl siding creates dioxin, and that’s bad for your health.
Truth: Dioxin is a toxic gas created through when certain things are burned. The industrial process used to create vinyl siding does create dioxin. But here’s the truth: The amount of dioxin put into the atmosphere every year by vinyl siding is less than one-half of one percent of the total dioxin released into the atmosphere. That’s a very small amount! The vast majority of dioxin actually comes from natural places — forest fires, volcanoes and burning wood in fireplaces.
Myth: Dioxin or not, synthetic materials are bad for the planet!
Truth: Any material is going to have some impact on the environment around it. The question is how that product will fare over time. Vinyl siding lasts for a very long time, requires minimal maintenance and needs no harsh cleaners to keep it looking good. Because it can last for decades, it prevents the use of contaminants, such as the paint your wood siding might require every few years. Materials that last for a very long time are the ones that will keep the environment in very good shape.
Myth: Old vinyl siding clogs up landfills because it doesn’t get recycled.
Truth: This is one of the most common falsehoods about vinyl siding, and it is definitely false. More than one billion pounds of vinyl siding are melted down and recycled each year. Old vinyl siding can be turned into new plastic products that usually wind up in another home, such as pipes, fencing, garden hoses and vinyl window products. If you’re concerned about where your old vinyl siding might go when you’re done with it, make sure your contractor knows that you want it to be recycled.
Myth: Vinyl siding can turn a house fire into a deadly inferno.
Truth: Any fire is going to burn hot, and this is especially true in a house fire, where there are so many things that can fuel the flames. But vinyl siding doesn’t contribute to making the fire hotter — if anything, it can help slow down fire because it is very resistant to combustion. Much of this myth is about the concern of HCL, or hydrogen chloride, which can be released when vinyl burns. Though HCL is a toxic gas that can hurt you if you inhale it, the concentration of HCL is very slight compared to the concentration of carbon monoxide in a fire. CO is created by almost anything that burns, and it can kill you long before you even smell the smoke.
The truth is out
Vinyl siding is one of the most versatile, maintenance-free exterior cladding products on the market today. From vinyl siding colors that are as rich as any paint to costs that are very affordable, it’s easy to see why so many people are turning to this product. Now that the myths have been cleared up, perhaps you could put vinyl siding on your “to do” list for your next exterior remodel or new construction project.