Profile picture for New_Englander

Vinyl siding - good or bad?

I know there's no consensus when it comes to vinyl siding.  People seem to either think it's a great low-maintenance option, or hate it with a passion.  I am in the "hate it with a passion" camp, but alas, my current house (which my husband bought before he knew me) has it. The only "good" thing about it is that it's white, so we don't deal with fading and expansion/contraction revealing faded parts, and the risk of having to repair it and not being able to match the faded parts.  It all pretty much looks the same.  Also, the house is set back from the road and mostly concealed by trees, so anyone walking or driving by couldn't tell it's vinyl.  But, vinyl siding would be a dealbreaker for me on any future house, unless we were buying a clear fixer-upper.

Although there's no consensus about it, is there information which points to buyers, on average, preferring it or not liking it?  This may be very market-specific.  I'm wondering if we should re-side before selling the house.  The siding is in like-new shape, and I know there wouldn't be a good return on investment, but I'm wondering if it would be a good idea from the standpoint of generating interest.  I live in an area where almost all the new houses are traditional but with vinyl siding, and all the old houses has wood clapboard siding. 

In my mind, we would ideally have real wood clapboard siding. The house is charming - white with black shutters and a red front door, attractive landscaping, 9 acres with old stonewalls, etc.. The vinyl kills it for me, though.  I know some people like it - my husband, who is a professional with a decent upper-middle class background, bought it and still thinks it's great.  But he also grew up in the suburbs where everyone had cookie-cutter vinyl sided houses built in the 1970s.

If we re-sided in wood, would we turn off as many buyers (due to maintenance issues) as we bring in?
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August 02 2011 - US
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Answers (24)

BAD - especially in California
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May 19 2013
Profile picture for user6184184
I personally don't like vinyl siding BUT I like repairing holes in my wood siding from squirrels even less. The little buggers chew right through wood siding. PLUS I hate the expense of painting every 5 years or so. Untill recently it was easy to tell from the curb wheater or not a house I was considering had vinyl siding, however I just bought a house that is so well done that it is very hard to tell from the curb what type of siding it has. It seems that there is a vast difference in grades of vinyl available and the skill level of various installers. Pay for a quality product installed by a skilled contractor to get a quality result. Go cheap and you'll likely end up with something you don't like.
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May 19 2013
Talk to your realtor before you put up the big expense of changing out the exterior of your home.  The cost may not be recouped and it really depends on the area whether buyers expect vinyl or a different type of exterior.  You need to consult with a local expert they will give you the best advice.  If you are considering selling within the next few years I would really caution a big expense that isn't necessary. 
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August 21 2011
It really depends on your neighborhood......best of luck.....ask your real estate agent
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August 21 2011
Profile picture for Pasadenan
Well, "real wood" can mean a lot of different things, like "soft pine".

Redwood is very pricey presently, and even more pricey if you insist on it being heart wood.

Redwood and ceder have natural oils that kill off bugs and discourage the bugs from wanting to eat it, assuming that the wood is not already damaged.

Big issues in the decision making would including making sure the wood is not even close to the surrounding dirt, and that it was properly protected from moisture.  (No ponding, good site drainage... wood properly primed and painted...)

Having not seen the house, I don't have any specific comments about color scheme at this time.

No, I would not be turned off without having plastic siding; I'm not fond of plastic siding and have substantial reservations about it.  But just any random "real wood" is not going to necessarily impress me, and it is on your dime; as I wouldn't pay a premium for changing the siding.
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August 02 2011
Profile picture for New_Englander
I never said anything about "press board."  I'm talking about real wood.

Curb appeal is, unfortunately, sort of a moot point here because the house is far from the road in a large wooded lot.  Only a small corner of it can be seen if you walk or drive by.  I like the color scheme - it is very in keeping with the area, and I think the house is attractive, with nice landscaping.  I just don't like vinyl and wondered if making the change would really turn off buyers... if the maintenance issue really plays a big role in what people buy.

It's not so much "curb appeal" I'm after, but general interest.  Since I'm the sort of person for whom vinyl would be a dealbreaker, I wondered if that were the case with many other people.
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August 02 2011
Profile picture for Pasadenan
Well, of course I would be happy buying a house with brand new heart redwood siding for absolutely no extra money.

But I wouldn't be happy if I was buying a house with brand new press-board siding.  Although they may look similar after being painted, they don't hold up at all the same.  And for the pressboard, I would be curious what was behind it, just like the vinyl.

Sure, most people will never pay enough attention to notice any difference.

Maybe you could attract a bit more curb appeal by using different colors?

But it is quite an expense just for curb appeal that won't bring in any additional sales value.
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August 02 2011
Profile picture for New_Englander
As I have repeatedly said, I would not be expecting a return on the investment, other than (perhaps) some increased interest in the house.  My big concern was whether, rather than drawing in buyers, wood would turn off buyers.

And Wetdawgs, I'm not responding only to you - I was referring to other posters' comments, so do not worry that I imagine you love vinyl siding.  I did not word the question exactly like, "would buyers prefer brand new wood siding to 8 year old vinyl siding?" but if you read my question, that's the situation I am posing.  I asked about re-siding in wood, so yes, that means the "wood" choice would be brand-new.  I only later mentioned the age of my house, but in any case, the "vinyl" choice would obviously be something other than brand new.  So brand new wood, or older vinyl, were the choices. 

I don't know - is it that odd to make changes so soon?  This was a spec house and the siding was chosen by the builder, not my husband.  Is it that unusual for someone to want to make a change to better suit their taste?  We're making other changes inside - removing vinyl flooring and replacing with tile, removing carpeting and replacing with wood flooring, etc..
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August 02 2011
Profile picture for wetdawgs
It is clear you feel very strongly about the subject.  Enjoy your new siding.   Don't think you can pass any of the costs on to the buyer.

Please note:  You hadn't previously put your question as "would a buyer prefer brand new wood or 8 year old vinyl?"   I would be very worried about brand new siding on an 8 year old house.  I would wonder what was wrong with the house. 
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August 02 2011
Profile picture for New_Englander
Hmm... I have not noticed any rain sound on our siding, but we have a steeply-pitched roof so there isn't a lot of rain hitting the siding.

I guess what's surprising to me is that some people have suggested buyers would prefer 8-year-old vinyl siding to brand new wood clapboard siding.  I'm not talking about selling a 50-year-old wood house with rot.  If I wanted, out of personal preference, to re-side my 8-year-old house with wood, and then sell (with no expectation of a good ROI), would it really turn off more buyers than it would draw?  If given a choice, for the same price, would people really prefer the vinyl?

I think in reality the maintenance issue is very overstated, but that doesn't mean that it isn't in line with buyer's perceptions.  Wood clapboard siding is not high-maintenance.  I think in the long-run it has fewer problems than vinyl.  My parents' house is over 120 years old, and from what they can tell, almost all of the siding is original, and not rotting.  There are some houses around here that are 300 years old, with original siding.  My parents bought their house 35 years ago, and in that time, I think they have repainted 3 times, the third time being this summer.  They live in an area with harsh winters and hot summers, so yes peeling occurs, but it's not like it's constantly in a state of disrepair.  It usually looks good, and when it begins to show its age, it gets a new paint job.  I know this from my experience with it, but I guess that doesn't mean that most buyers don't have a perception of wood being very high-maintenance.

Our issue is this... we think we plan to sell in the next year or two, but are not 100% sure.  We're making changes to make our house more enjoyable and attractive for ourselves, but always with consideration to what potential buyers might like.  That's why the ROI is not all that important.
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August 02 2011
Profile picture for Pasadenan
Well, I do agree with wetdawgs... if it already has vinyl siding, and is in a desirable area, and is priced right, I would not waste my time changing it and would accept it, as would most other people I know.

As the saying goes; "if it isn't broken, don't fix it"; there are plenty of other things to spend time and money on.

Besides, most people I know would rather have vinyl than steel or aluminum siding.  The rain noise on vinyl is bad, but the noise on metal is worse.  Not to mention the heat transmission issue.

But I would like to know what is behind the siding, so likely would rent an infrared camera, or hire an inspector that has one.
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August 02 2011
Profile picture for New_Englander
Okay, then Ralph Gray was the first person to respond by basically saying, "no I would not choose vinyl."

It's a tough call.  I HATE vinyl.  Fading is not an issue with white siding, but yes, it can get brittle.  It can warp.  And the off-gassing issue is getting more exposure.

This is why I suggested it may be a market-specific thing.  And certainly most upscale areas do not have vinyl siding.  Since I live in a rural area in New England, we have an odd mix of housing types - beautiful old mansions, lovingly-restored farmhouses, old mansions and farmhouses which aren't in great shape, mobile homes, new colonials and capes, and a few sort of "in-between" houses - capes or the occasional split-level built in the '60s, '70s, and '80s.  I certainly wouldn't be going against the neighborhood by keeping the vinyl, but it would be more in keeping with the historic homes in the area if I had wood clapboard siding.

Maybe there's no right answer - maybe for every person who likes the ease of vinyl, there is someone who hates it, and we should just go with what we like (although we are a family divided on this issue.)
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August 02 2011
Profile picture for wetdawgs
I've never said that I like vinyl, it is a simply an "oh, whatever" response when in good condition in an area where it isn't going to all apart due to uv.

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August 02 2011
Profile picture for Pasadenan
Out of thousands of houses I've seen in this area, the only vinyl siding I've seen is the samples that some "home improvement" company dropped off to try to sell me on the idea; and that was decades ago.  No one here wants vinyl siding, and no developers want to pay for it.

Heart Redwood siding will last much longer, and those that don't want to pay for that go either stucco, or the press-board fake siding.

Most people I know are concerned about the sun damage to the plastic; both for fading and it becoming more brittle and eventually cracking.

They also are concerned about the outgassing of the plastic and the smell.






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August 02 2011
Profile picture for New_Englander

Aha!  The first person who doesn't like vinyl!  Good points, too.  I had not thought of it from that perspective - mainly just aesthetics.  I suppose any kind of siding could be said to do the same, too, though.  I could re-side in wood clapboard, cedar shakes, fiber cement, etc., and it could conceivably cover underlying wood rot and termite damage so a buyer wouldn't know what they were getting.

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August 02 2011
I do not like Vinyl sidding simply because it hides the real home behind a sheild. if your a buyer you realy dont know what your getting. if you are an owner you do not know what is going on to your home, ie: termite damage, wood rot, etc... You may save in paint jobs, but the cost of Vinyl is not cheap and problems more expensive then paint could occure.
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August 02 2011
Profile picture for New_Englander
Oh, I should mention that our house was built in 2003, so the siding is pretty new.  It's not the highest quality it could be, but it is made to mimic clapboard siding.  It's not overly glossy (another thing I hate about some vinyl.)  It has a "wood grain" and if you're just looking at one small area, it look a lot like clapboard siding.  The big issue for me are the seams between pieces.  This gives it away as vinyl.  Since it's an "okay vinyl," if I were to re-side, I wouldn't re-side in vinyl, but would use it as an opportunity to pick something else - perhaps staining clapboards or cedar shakes.

One thing I am happy with is that we are the only house in the area to have white vinyl siding.  There are so many (post-2000) hideous houses with mint green or yellow - colors most people would not choose in paint.
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August 02 2011
I'm here in New England also. I actually would recommend a quality vinyl siding. It's come a long way and can mimic clapboard or shingles, to the point where you would have to touch it to tell the difference.

I just resided some beach rental units, and vinyl was they way to go.

I am in total agreement with the previous comments regarding resale and value.
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August 02 2011
Profile picture for New_Englander
Fiber cement siding is another option, although I prefer all-natural products.  It's good to know that vinyl is not the deal breaker I was imagining it to be, and may even be a selling point.  (One poster on another thread said that he views it as the asbestos of his parents' generation - something to be removed immediately.)  I guess differing views are based on background - I grew up where most people lived in 100 year old houses with clapboard siding.  I associated vinyl siding with mobile homes or really tacky new houses.  It's hard to wrap my brain around it being a preferred choice.
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August 02 2011
With 60 plus percent of home buyers relying on FHA guaranteed loans for buying, the biggest stumbling block to approval is peeling paint on exterior surfaces. So when a house is vinyl clad with vinyl or aluminum soffits and gutters, the issue of peeling paint is almost non existent.

Probably about 10 plus years ago we sided my moms rambler in vinyl siding. The advantage was no more painting! The disadvantage is the vinyl has faded on the south side of the home and no longer matches the rest of the home. Another disadvantage with vinyl siding is when you pick a trendy color (like her neighbor) and when that color goes out of style the home ends up looking dated.  Which is a good argument for using white siding.

I know a lot of newer homes are using Hardy Plank siding which is a cement product. It's more durable than vinyl and can be painted if necessary down the road.
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August 02 2011
Profile picture for New_Englander
Thanks wetdawgs, too.  Yeah, I know the ROI would be low, but I've been wondering if new siding would increase interest (which I guess results in some return, perhaps an earlier sale, but it's hard to quantify.)  The reason I am wondering about that, beside from my personal dislike of vinyl, is that I have seen some threads in which people can't understand why their charming house is not drawing offers, and people have said the issue is the vinyl siding, which is a deal breaker for some people.

It is good to know that this may not really matter to most people (probably particularly where I live, which is rural with a mix of homes and not consistently upscale.) 
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August 02 2011
Profile picture for New_Englander
This is what I'm wondering about... but at the same time, for some people (like me), the vinyl could be a deal breaker if they were deciding between two otherwise similar homes.  I guess the big issue is aesthetics, and I'm an "old house" kind of person, which is why I hate vinyl.  I grew up in a house built in the 1800s, and yes we had to repaint every 10 years or so, but it just had so much more charm than vinyl.  I think vinyl looks terrible.

Do others agree that the low-maintenance would trump aesthetics for most buyers?  What are people's personal opinions on vinyl?
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August 02 2011
Profile picture for wetdawgs
If you are thinking of residing simply for resale purposes or just because you don't like it, be aware your return  would be close to zero.  

Most people who are purchasing are looking at the big picture, as well as looking at things that will need substantial maintenance in the next few years.  Very few people will reject a house that meets all their other needs, desires and dreams simply because it has "like new" vinyl siding.  It might be in a "I would prefer xxxx" but not a deal breaker for most people.

Siding that is rotten, missing pieces or loose pieces,  in need of serious paint etc would give a different message. 

I've seen awful vinyl siding and okay vinyl siding.  But, the percentage of wood siding that is in awful condition is far far higher than the percentage of bad vinyl on houses that I've viewed.




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August 02 2011
I think most buyers prefer to have a no maintenance exterior so they can spend their money on interior items and not have to worry about the exterior.
Wood wouldnt turn off buyers but it could be a deal breaker if there were two homes that were pretty much the same.
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August 02 2011
 
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