Here's the Real Deal on Vinyl Cedar Siding

Cedar siding has been used for centuries, and there's a good reason: It has wonderful anti-rot properties that make it perfect for home cladding--that is, nearly perfect. With improvements in vinyl siding, new styles like cedar shingles are quickly becoming the cladding of choice for many American homeowners. Let's look at the pros and cons of vinyl cedar siding vs. real cedar to see which is right for your home.

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Cedar Siding

  • Durability: The natural oils and the special aroma of cedar make it resistant to rot, fungus and insects, including termites, giving it longevity uncommon to most wood.
  • Beauty: For some, nothing beats the look of natural cedar. The timeless warmth that the wood provides is hard to reproduce.
  • Environmental Considerations: Wood is a renewable resource, but over-harvesting has become a huge issue these days. Look for sustainably harvested cedar when shopping for siding.

Vinyl Cedar Siding

  • Durability: Nothing beats the durability of vinyl. Known for its long-lasting resistance to pests and rot, it's also practically maintenance-free.
  • Beauty: Vinyl manufacturers have come a long way when it comes to their styles and vinyl cedar siding is no exception. Today you can buy vinyl in the form of planks, logs, shakes and shingles.
  • Environmental Considerations: There are environmental concerns about the production of vinyl products: The creation of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the main component of vinyl siding, releases toxins including dioxin, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide. However, vinyl siding is lightweight and uses less energy to ship than wood. And vinyl can be recycled again and again.

When it comes to affordability, vinyl has cedar beat, hands down. Though prices change with the manufacturer and contractor you use, here is a rough estimate to give you an idea: Siding a 1,000 sq. ft. home with lap cedar siding could run you about $7,000, whereas vinyl siding could be as low as $5,000.

Each product has its pros and cons, but when durability, maintenance and cost are considered, it is easy to see why vinyl is the most-used siding product in the United States.

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