Should I Choose Steel or Vinyl Siding?
With a wide array of siding materials on the market, it can be stressful to weigh all the pros, cons, costs and long-lasting capabilities of each one. Two of the most popular types of siding are steel siding and vinyl siding. How do they stack up against each other?
When deciding between steel and vinyl, there are pros and cons to each. Below, we dive into all the differences between the two materials and leave you with a verdict on which is the better option and why.
An Overview of Vinyl and Steel
Vinyl siding was introduced to the exterior siding market in the late 1950s as a replacement for aluminum and wood when the costs started to go up. Vinyl siding is an engineered product, manufactured primarily from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin.
Steel siding became commercially available and prominent in residential design in the 1940s. Before that, steel was primarily used in rural America in pole barns when farmers realized just how durable the material was.
At first, homeowners didn’t necessarily like the metallic roof-life appearance, but in the 1980s, manufacturers began experimenting with embossed coatings to the metal and a variety of siding styles and designs became readily available. The introduction of seamless steel siding completely innovated the residential construction industry.
The Pros and Cons of Vinyl Siding
One of the biggest pros that homeowners appreciate about vinyl siding is its affordability. Vinyl is one of the cheapest options on the market, so if you have a limited budget, it’s a great option for a first-time homebuyer.
Vinyl is low-maintenance and requires little to no cleaning, other than a quick spray with the garden hose. There are many options and colors to choose from, and once you choose your color, it does not need painting.
While vinyl is an affordable option, it isn’t the most durable option. It’s estimated that vinyl siding should be replaced every 10 – 15 years, and it’s not resistant to most types of damage. Siding panels often break due to the contraction and expansion caused by normal temperature fluctuations, and moisture can leak below the surface, causing mildew or mold.
If your home is hit with a hailstorm or if a lawnmower sends a rock flying, you may be in trouble. The worst part is vinyl siding cannot be patched — you’re going to have to replace the entire panel, which is costly and time-consuming.
The initial installation and replacement process is also not so simple. It is technically DIY, but most people rely on a contractor because the effectiveness of vinyl siding is 100% reliant on proper installation. If the siding is nailed too tightly, it can expand, crack, bulge or warp. A shoddy installation job can cause a lot of trouble in the long run.
Vinyl is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to sustainability. Vinyl siding is made with polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, whose production creates harmful greenhouse gases and can even contribute to acid rain in some communities. It is incredibly hard to recycle, so if you are looking for an environmentally-friendly option, look elsewhere.
Lastly, the polymers and pigments in vinyl are unstable, which results in color fading much faster than in other siding materials. And not only does it fade, but it fades in an inconsistent manner, leaving the walls of your home looking patchy.
The Pros and Cons of Steel Siding
Steel siding is one of the most popular siding materials on the market because it comes with a long list of benefits. Steel siding is highly resistant to most types of damage, including fire, hailstones and debris from high winds. It is easy to clean and maintain, with no issues with pests or sun fading. You also don’t have to worry about priming, painting, caulking or staining your steel siding.
Steel siding is much more durable than vinyl siding and can last for up to 50 years. Steel is the most recycled material on the planet, making it a more environmentally-friendly option than vinyl which fills the air with harmful greenhouse gases with limited recyclability.
Just like with all materials, steel siding has a few downsides. In cold and frigid climates, additional insulation is needed below the siding to ensure peak comfort and temperature control. In comparison to vinyl siding, steel siding is more expensive when it comes to initial cost. But, due to its longevity and durability, the lifetime costs are much less in comparison.
Steel can rust over time, but it takes multiple decades for rust to accumulate. However, if you choose steel siding from a reputable manufacturer, it will be manufactured to be rust-resistant, mitigating the concern of rust.
Comparing the Two — Why Steel Siding Is the Better Option
While steel has higher costs upfront, it is a worthwhile investment and undoubtedly the better option when thinking about longevity and home protection. While vinyl is more affordable initially, your home could potentially decrease in value, especially if your home is historic or if you ever plan to sell. Steel siding increases the value of a home and lasts 2 – 3 times as long.
Vinyl siding’s harmful impact on the environment is impossible to overlook, and if sustainability is a priority for you, steel siding is the way to go.
How Klauer Solutions Can Help
Klauer and our wide range of steel siding solutions are your go-to for all of your siding and accessory needs. Klauer offers a range of siding options that are durable, low maintenance, aesthetically pleasing AND sustainable. Paired with an industry-leading warranty and a successful track record of 150 years in the business, Klauer steel siding is a great choice for your home.
Protect your home with Klauer and rest easy with high-quality steel siding with a 35-year limited warranty. Want to learn more about Klauer and our extensive product line? Check out Klauer’s Steel Siding page for more information, or click here to contact us.