Vinyl siding or wood — which is best? Both offer their advantages. To determine which of the two materials is right for your home, consider cost, long-term performance, installation, maintenance, aesthetics, and other factors. Ask your builder or siding contractor which makes the best sense for your new construction or home improvement project. Whether you’re looking to increase your home's comfort and energy efficiency or upgrade your property's curb appeal, the place to start is comparing the vinyl siding and composite wood siding options. Here's a comparison of these two popular home siding materials:

The Composite Wood Siding Option

Composite wood siding for homes consists of small scraps of wood. The wood fragments have been compressed, and resins have been used to bond them together. The material is chemically treated to resist fungal growth and insect infestation.

Composite boards are available pre-primed for painting, or even pre-finished in one of many styles that have the appearance of beautiful real wood. You can select from various widths of composite boards for creative exterior designs, and you can use traditional horizontal, more modern vertical, or even highly stylized diagonal installation. Composite wood siding has a seamless finish, vs the typically unavoidable seam you see on vinyl-covered exteriors.

Composite wood provides a home's structure with exceptional protection from wind, water, and high temperatures. This type of siding is available in a wide range of styles, textures and colors. High-quality composite wood siding can last up to 30 years.

Advantages of Composite Siding

  • Authentic wood look
  • Superior structural protection
  • Durable (more durable than vinyl)
  • Cost-effective
  • Superior insulation value
  • Resists scratches, stains, mold, rotting, and swelling
  • Easily cleaned with soap and water
  • Gorgeous aesthetic
  • Seamless finish
  • Weighs less and is easier to install than regular wood
  • Can be customized
  • UV resistant
  • Low-maintenance
  • Resists splitting
  • Fade-resistant
  • Less expensive than regular wood siding
  • All-weather composite siding withstands extreme temperatures
  • Only needs painting every 5 to 10 years
  • Exceptional long-term value

Disadvantages of Composite Siding

  • Takes a little longer to install than vinyl sheets
  • Requires more maintenance than vinyl siding
  • Costs slightly more than vinyl siding

The Vinyl Siding Option

What is vinyl siding on a house? Vinyl siding is panels of manufactured exterior siding, made from a plastic resin called polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which contains fillers and fibers and bonding materials. Vinyl siding resists damage from weather, wear, and insects. It's fade-resistant and nearly maintenance-free, never requiring painting. It's available in a wide array of colors, textures and patterns. From shakes, to lap siding looks. Vinyl siding has less insulative quality than composites. For insulated vinyl, instead of standard vinyl siding, add about 15% to the price estimate.

Vinyl siding is a practical solution for building or renovating where minimal maintenance is a priority. It's a budget-friendly choice, compared to much more expensive exterior materials, like real wood or stone. Because vinyl siding is impervious to rotting and to insect infestation, it can last up to 40 years. One caveat is that although vinyl siding itself cannot rot or become infested, moisture can enter between siding sheets, promoting rotting and insect infestation of a home's support structures.

Advantages of Vinyl Siding

  • Wide selection of colors, textures, and patterns
  • Durable
  • Very little maintenance
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to clean
  • Resists fading
  • Resistant to hot and cold temperatures, wind, rain, and hail
  • Does not rot, scratch, or dent
  • Does not need repainting

Disadvantages of Vinyl Siding

  • Can crack in extreme temperatures
  • Impacted aesthetic, when vinyl siding panels overlap, causing an unwanted seam
  • Can swell from long exposure to moist environment, increasing potential for structural issues
  • Can leak between siding panels, promoting mold, rot and insect infestation
  • Susceptible to damage by strong winds (not the best option in areas with severe weather)

Compare Costs of Composite and Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding and composite wood siding costs are pretty similar. Both typically cost between $7,000 to $13,000 and up. Your actual cost will depend on the size of your home and the quality of the siding products you choose. For a more accurate price comparison, estimate the amount of material you'll need for your siding project, based on the total square area of the exterior surface space to be covered.

For a finer cost estimate, add local and state sales tax rates for the siding purchase. Add the cost of other materials needed for installation, such as clips for composite siding, and add the total installation cost estimate for each of the two types of siding.

When comparing vinyl to composite wood siding cost, you are likely to discover that the two materials are available at prices that are similar enough that the purchase cost does not have to be a major consideration in choosing between them. Ultimately, you will probably find that it is more practical, all things considered, just to pick the siding you like best, based on other factors, like durability and aesthetics.

So, Composite Wood Siding vs Vinyl Siding — Which is Best?

Vinyl siding offers many highly appealing advantages over other kinds of exterior siding. It's less expensive than wood, composite wood, and other types of siding. It's more resistant to an array of deteriorating elements, such as weather, insects, and long-term wear. It's also easy to install and clean, and it requires no periodic painting and very little other maintenance.

Composite wood siding offers an upgrade from vinyl siding, in terms of natural aesthetic and design options. It's also arguably more cost-effective long-term, due to its more durable material, affording greater resistance to adverse elements and providing a more stable and robust protective shield for a home's structure than vinyl. Composite wood siding has superior insulative properties as well. Overall, composite wood siding provides a more protective covering and, therefore, a stronger added value to a property.

Advanced Window Products, Salt Lake City, Utah

We are the leading Utah vinyl and composite wood siding, doors and windows company. We provide top-grade, energy-efficient vinyl and composite wood siding, doors, windows, sliding doors and French doors at fair prices. Our installers are all AAMA, NFRC, Energy Star and lead-safe certified. We offer exceptional customer service. Manufacturing our own energy-efficient products and selling factory-direct to our customers eliminates mark-up and potential warranty issues. We make it easy to upgrade your doors and windows with:

  • Satisfaction Guarantee
  • 0 down, 0% interest financing (with approved credit)
  • Part of Buy Local First Utah

We are a green business, and we're committed to our community. Your business enables us to continue to support many important causes, including Habitat for Humanity and Make A Wish Foundation.

For More Information About Composite and Vinyl Siding

Our experts can help you select the best exterior siding solution for your new home build or for your home improvement project. New vinyl or composite wood siding can improve your home's appearance, protect its structure, and increase its value.

For more information about high-quality vinyl siding or composite wood siding, visit our showroom in Salt Lake City, or call Advanced Window Products, Salt Lake City at 1-800-246-9355, to schedule a free estimate at your home.

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