How does log cabin vinyl siding compare to real logs?

Do you dream of a log cabin, but don't know what to use? Perhaps you envision a structure of solid logs, but lately have heard of the option of vinyl siding that simulates the log-cabin look. Here is a comparison in six key areas.

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How log cabin vinyl siding stacks up to real logs

  1. Cost: Vinyl siding of all kinds is cheaper than real wood. You need to know specific grades of all the products to nail down exact differences, but it would not be uncommon for vinyl to be from half to 70 percent the cost of real wood.
  2. Durability: This almost is a toss-up. Log cabin vinyl siding is going to last ages, even the cheaper grades. But logs, especially cedar, also will last ages, if they are maintained. Vinyl probably can't take the utmost abuse that real logs can; if your 13-year-old son wants to practice throwing fastballs against the back side of the house, logs probably are best.
  3. Construction: Vinyl log siding will go up more quickly. Construction with real logs is labor intensive, hence more expensive. Real logs will give you a very sturdy structure. They also act as an insulator, though many vinyl logs have some insulation built into them.
  4. Maintenance: Here vinyl logs have a big advantage. Whereas real logs need occasional stain or paint to protect them, vinyl does not need painting.
  5. Appearance: From a distance, vinyl will look like real wood. But the closer you get, the more likely you are to notice the difference. But modern vinyl logs, especially the better grades, look very realistic, even up close.
  6. Environment: Cutting trees is not green, but the production of vinyl also is environmentally harmful, as it releases many toxins, including dioxin, into the environment.

Some people will always want real logs. But if you are open to change, then log cabin vinyl siding is a wonderful option, especially when price, maintenance and durability are considered.


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