Vinyl siding promises to last as long as 50 years with little or no maintenance. That's made vinyl the most popular kind of siding. Homeowners usually let their contractor decide which kind to use. But Consumer Reports says you're better off picking the siding yourself and then getting a contractor to install it. Consumer Reports tests found some vinyl siding is much better than others.
These days nearly half of all homeowners who are getting new siding get vinyl. It now comes in a wide range of colors. And newer styles have a deeper profile that contractors say make vinyl siding look a lot more like wood.
"They've got more of a contour to it so it gives it a more shadowy, wood-look versus a vinyl look."
Consumer Reports just tested more than two dozen kinds of vinyl siding and found significant differences.
One test checks how well siding can resist a strong wind. Testers pump air into a bag behind the wall and measure how much pressure the siding can take before it starts to break loose.
Rico De Paz
(PRON: REE-coh Duh-PAHZ) found one type of siding would tend to resist wind better.
"This is a double hem. You can see the material is folded over and it makes it a lot stronger. This is a single hem, which is a single and it's not as strong."
A second test checks how well siding resists cracking if an object hits it.
Some of the siding ran into problems
Several of them cracked and broke.
Still another test checks how well siding stands up to
long-term weathering. Small cutout sections are subjected to high temperatures, water and sunlight.
"You can see here that this product faded quite a bit. It got lighter, much lighter than the material around it."
While no siding did an excellent job in every test, the kind going up on this house did well in the weathering test and was very good in resisting wind. It earned top ratings. It's Norman Rockwell siding made by LP.
It also has a deep profile, which makes it lie flatter and look more like wood.
You can get advice on how to find a good contractor and how to make sure your vinyl siding is installed properly at consumerreports.org. Look for the link on the home page to Home Improvement Guide.