Elite Home Exteriors NW

How Long Does Vinyl Siding Last and What Impacts Its Life Expectancy?

How Long Does Vinyl Siding Last and What Impacts Its Life Expectancy?

The neighbors are whispering. The neighborhood kids think your house is the haunted house on the block. It’s time to address the exterior of your home.

You’ve considered your options and vinyl siding continues to come up as a good option, but you’re worried it won’t last very long and you can’t afford to do it all again in a few years.

We’ve got the answers to all of your questions about what affects the life expectancy of vinyl siding and what you can do to protect your investment.


Table of Contents

How Long Does Builders Grade Vinyl Siding Last

What Is the Life Expectancy Of Vinyl Siding?

How Long Does Vinyl Siding Last? Vinyl siding life expectancy is about 20-40 years. While that may seem like a big window, several factors affect the life of vinyl siding, such as:

  • Vinyl brand and grade
  • Weather exposure
  • Physical damage
  • Maintenance 

Good quality, well-maintained vinyl should last for many years.

When you work with one of the professionals at Elite Home Exteriors NW, we’ll make sure that you understand all of your options — and what you can expect from each material — before you invest your hard-earned money. 

We’re here to help.

How Has Vinyl Siding Life Expectancy Improved With Time?

You may have memories of your father or grandfather getting anxious each time a storm was brewing, knowing that he’d be repairing the vinyl siding on your home the next day. 

That’s because vinyl siding of the past was prone to problems like cracking, fading, or sagging. Today’s vinyl siding is far more durable than the vinyl siding that was invented in the 1950s to replace aluminum. 

Not only is the new vinyl material much stronger, giving it greater resistance to winds, but it’s also better insulated.

It used to be that vinyl siding could not be used on homes that were located in areas where high winds or storms were frequent, not just because of the potential damage, but for the lack of insulation.

Modern vinyl outperforms the vinyl siding of the past as a durable option that can keep your home warmer in the winter months and cooler in the summer months. 

6 Factors That Impact the Life of Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding can last for many decades, but there are a few things to consider when choosing and maintaining your vinyl siding.

It can be tempting to spend less for a lower quality vinyl, but it may require far more maintenance over the years and may need to be replaced sooner than you’d like. 

When comparing your options, the factors that affect vinyl siding lifespan will likely affect your final decision.

#1: Vinyl Brand

Like all building materials, you’ll find various manufacturers of the same product. Vinyl siding is no different. 

Many brands of vinyl siding exist, but there are a few things to consider as you’re choosing your product of choice, for example:

  • Weatherproofing – Flying debris from winds, sun exposure, and extreme temperatures can cause damage to your siding. Some brands of vinyl siding can withstand extreme weather and even offer protection to your home.
  • Warranty – Always check the warranty of the siding. A quality brand will offer a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.
  • Cost – While it’s possible to find a reasonably priced quality brand, be wary of siding that seems priced well below most other brands.
  • Appearance – Each brand offers distinct patterns, colors, and textures to choose from. Your preferred look will factor into your brand choice.

#2: Vinyl Grade

The grade of vinyl siding is usually determined by its thickness, though they won’t typically be labeled that way. 

Most manufacturers use terms that describe the grade of the siding, rather than listing the thickness, such as:

  • Builder’s Grade – which starts at about .40mm thick and will be the least expensive to buy
  • Thin Residential Grade – which starts at .42mm thick
  • Standard Residential Grade – this is the average at .44mm thick
  • Thick Residential Grade – which is above average in thickness at .46mm
  • Super Thick Grade – starting at .50mm thick
  • Premium Grade – this will be the most expensive and most durable at .52 to .5mm in thickness

But does the grade of the vinyl matter? 

In short, yes. Consider it an investment in durability and longevity.

How Long Does Builders Grade Vinyl Siding Last vs. High-End Vinyl Siding?

The grade of vinyl siding you choose will not only affect the initial cost of the project but costs you may incur throughout the life of the product as well. 

Builder’s grade vinyl should not be confused with low-grade vinyl. Most commonly used, builder-grade vinyl will come with a standard warranty and will typically last for decades.

Low-grade vinyl may crack or sag within the first decade and can also fade much sooner.

A high-end vinyl will be thicker-grade and therefore much more durable.

Not only are they better looking, but they’re also fade-resistant, durable, and will come with much longer warranties.

#3: Sun Exposure

Modern vinyl siding is manufactured much differently than the vinyl siding of the past. Using new… 

  • Materials
  • Technology; and 
  • Manufacturing processes

…modern vinyl siding is lighter and more flexible than its grandfather product. 

But in addition to these changes, most newer vinyl siding contains titanium dioxide, a sun-blocking ingredient found in cosmetics and sunscreen.

This added mineral works as a natural sun repellent that reflects the harmful UV radiation away from the surface of the vinyl siding, preventing too much damage from occurring. 

If your home is in a naturally sunny climate, choosing a siding with added UV protection will increase the longevity of the product.

#4: Climate

How long does vinyl siding last in extreme temperatures? 

Below freezing temperatures can harm vinyl siding if you’re not careful. The siding can become tough and brittle, like any plastic material, making it easier for the vinyl to crack if you’re not mindful.

Vinyl siding can contract in freezing temperatures, so extra care needs to be taken when installing the boards in cold weather. When the weather warms up, a standard 12’ vinyl board has the potential to expand as much as ⅝ of an inch. 

If cold weather vinyl siding installation or repair is necessary, then be sure to choose an experienced installer. 

The experts at Elite Home Exteriors NW are well-versed in the nuances of vinyl siding. They know how to cut and nail the boards during freezing temperatures to ensure that they won’t bump or buckle against window casings when the weather warms up again.

#5: General Wear and Tear

When choosing your vinyl siding, climate is not the only consideration. The activity surrounding your home can also impact the life of your siding.

Take Amy, for example. As a single parent, Amy tried to stay below her budget when choosing vinyl siding for her three bedroom bungalow. She chose an economy brand but ended up regretting it later.

With three sons, all involved in various athletics, her siding didn’t stand a chance. By the end of the first summer, Amy was replacing multiple boards that had cracked due to the impact from baseballs, soccer balls, and typical rough-housing.

It can be tempting to go with the cheapest option when it comes to vinyl siding, but this choice can end up costing you more in the long run.

#6: Maintenance

If you want your vinyl siding to last — and continue to look great — then implementing a maintenance routine is essential. 

Siding needs to be cleaned annually with a power washer. You can do this yourself, but be careful because pressure washers can cause damage to the caulking and mortar. 

Hiring professional cleaners is recommended to avoid damage and ensure that water isn’t getting trapped between the boards, setting the stage for potential water damage.

how long should vinyl siding last

4 Steps You Can Take to Extend Your Vinyl Siding Lifespan

In addition to extending the life of your siding, regular maintenance will help to uphold your warranty as well.

Take these four steps to improve your vinyl siding lifespan while keeping it looking as good as the day you had it installed.

#1: Clean Regularly

You can keep your siding clean on your own, but for a typical two-story house, it can take two or more people an entire weekend to clean properly.

Trisodium phosphate works as an excellent cleaning agent. Using a long-handled soft-bristle brush, work in small sections to loosen the dirt before rinsing it off with a hose, or for more difficult dirt, a pressure washer.

#2: Perform Routine Inspections

Vinyl siding lifespan is also dependent on routine inspections. Luckily, vinyl siding is not prone to rotting, but it’s still important to check for excess moisture. 

You’ll also want to examine the siding for potential leaks and have any leaks addressed by your siding contractor. Signs that your siding needs attention include:

  • Streaking
  • Staining
  • Loose nails or screws

If you’re uncertain whether or not your vinyl siding requires repairs, then it’s best to call in a professional. Even if your siding seems to be in good shape, an expert will examine the soffits and fascia to ensure the roofline is free of damage.

#3: Prevent Melting

Keep your vinyl protected from high sources of heat, such as grills or outdoor refrigerators. When situated close enough to your siding, the heat can actually melt, warp, or leave burn marks on the vinyl.

UV rays reflecting from windows or shiny metal surfaces can also cause damage to vinyl siding. The sun’s rays bounce off of these surfaces and reflect in another direction, acting like a magnifying glass and effectively melting your siding.

#4: Avoid Heavy Impact

Vinyl siding is generally sturdy, but any heavy impact can easily cause damage — especially if the vinyl is low-grade.

To avoid damage, such as cracks or scratches, keep your siding clear of lawn equipment, bicycles, and tree branches. 

If your siding is damaged from impact, the boards should be replaced as soon as possible to ensure that moisture cannot enter your home.


How Long Should an Exterior Last on Your Home or Building? Let Elite Home Exteriors NW Provide an Informed Estimate

Whether you’re looking at the vinyl siding you had replaced 20 years ago, or you’ve moved into an older home and you’re uncertain of the condition of the existing siding, the experts at Elite Home Exteriors NW can provide a thorough inspection and estimate.

As a family-owned business, we understand the importance of building a quality relationship with our clients and operate our business in total transparency and honesty. We won’t recommend repair or replacement unless your home needs it. 

Rain or shine, we go above and beyond for our customers. Your satisfaction is our mission.



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How Long Does Vinyl Siding Last and What Impacts Its Life Expectancy?

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