What is vinyl?
Vinyl is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a plastic resin that is a known carcinogen. However, vinyl has become the most popular siding material in the US. PVC vinyl became popular in the 1960s and grew in popularity when other plastics containing PCBs, CFCs and chlorinated solvents were eventually banned. PVC vinyl is one of the world’s leading sources of dioxin, according to Greenpeace.
The Benefits of Using Vinyl Siding
Vinyl siding can be placed over wood clapboard or cedar shingles. Vinyl siding does not need to be painted, but usually needs to be washed at least once a year. It comes in a variety of colors and can mimic wooden architecture and styles.
Alternatives to Vinyl Siding
Okay, so you are concerned about possible health dangers of vinyl siding, but still would prefer to not have to paint your house. There are several options, which vary in cost.
- Aluminum siding has similar benefits to vinyl siding. You can more often find recycled aluminum siding products. The downside is that aluminum siding can dent and is very hard to work with, in terms of construction.
- Steel or enameled steel siding: The plus is it can come pre-painted; the minus is the greater expense.
- Bark shingles: According to Caplan, bark shingles are economical, are a salvage product, and are great for someone who wants a natural look. “After all, nature made them to cover a tree for 100 years,” he said.
- Cement siding: The look is similar to clapboards and also can come pre-painted.