Vinyl Siding Grades Explained

Many siding companies, like CertainTeed or Gentek have multiple brands and multiple products under each brand. Most companies have vinyl siding grades in each price range--value, mid-range and premium.

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Companies will have their own brands, but here are some general descriptions for each grade.


Also known as builder-grade-- your least expensive vinyl siding grade--might be only $0.45 per square foot, according to Consumer Reports. This grade is the thinnest vinyl siding and although it is very economical, it is basic.


As you move up the price ladder, you will find vinyl siding grades that look more like wood. The panels begin to be wider and can be longer--16-foot-long compared to 12-foot-long panels.


What you will find listed as premium on many vinyl siding Web sites are darker, richer colors. The reason is that to have the same level of color retention in a dark brown as you do in a light tan, you need to protect the vinyl siding from the powerful rays of the sun. The premium vinyl siding grades--those darker colors--include a layer of UV protection to help keep the dark, rich color in tact.

Premium is also the more ornate vinyl siding choices with styles beyond having a wood grain. Premium styles look like cedar shake or half-round shingles. The panels are wider, as well--6 inches compared to just 4 inches for the value level.

There is likely a vinyl siding option that is right for you that will meet the look you want and is available in your area and within your budget. Call a contractor and start the planning!

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