Why We Stopped Selling Vinyl Siding
We Used To Install Vinyl Siding… Now We Flat-Out Refuse
To Let It Touch Our Customers’ Homes.
BY JASON QUILLMAN, CO-OWNER
Junk. Garbage. Second-rate rubbish.
That’s what I think of vinyl siding. And it’s why I absolutely will NOT install it on my customers’ homes.
To understand why I hate vinyl siding with the burning rage of a thousand suns, let’s back up a bit.
When I opened XteriorPRO in 2011, I agreed to a two-year non-compete with the company I left not to sell James Hardie fiber cement siding. As such, I had to offer my customers vinyl siding for those first two years. I had bad experiences with vinyl siding in the past, but I didn’t have much of a choice about installing it.
When the non-compete expired, I started offering James Hardie in addition to vinyl siding. I didn’t drop vinyl siding for two reasons:
1) It was a cheaper alternative to Hardie, so more people could afford it.
2) Since many contractors in the area offered vinyl siding, I felt like I had to as well in order to compete.
There’s a reason vinyl siding is cheaper than James Hardie fiber cement siding in the St. Louis metro area… it’s a massively inferior product! Vinyl doesn’t last as long, it doesn’t look as good, and it’s susceptible to a whole host of problems. Warping, cracking, fading… you name it.
Vinyl siding manufacturers know they make an inferior product, too. That’s why you’ll find all sorts of exclusions and disclaimers in vinyl siding warranties.
For instance, you typically get some sort of fade guarantee when you buy vinyl siding. In theory, the company is supposed to replace any piece of your siding that fades within a certain timeframe.
Here’s the catch: Vinyl siding manufacturers will only replace faded siding once it reaches a certain threshold on the Delta E scale.
Delta E is essentially the measure of how the human eye perceives color. Many fade guarantees kick in only when the fading creates a color difference of three or more Delta E’s. For reference, fading that creates a color difference of four Delta E’s will turn deep red siding to dull pink.
Now, imagine a fade guarantee that doesn’t cover your siding until it basically turns a completely different color. Does that sound like any kind of guarantee at all? This is especially aggravating because vinyl siding can start to fade in as little as five years. And since siding can fade at different rates, this can lead to a home exterior that’s all sorts of different shades and hues.
I have seen homeowners try to paint vinyl siding as a solution to the fading problem. But vinyl siding needs a lot of room to expand and contract. When you paint vinyl siding, it glues the seams together, which can damage the panels. The other issue is that dark colors have become a popular choice for home exteriors. But when you paint vinyl siding a dark color, it absorbs heat and warps the vinyl.
But fading isn’t the only reason I ditched vinyl siding; it has many other performance issues, as well.
Not even the much-hyped foam-backed vinyl siding is impervious to problems. Foam-backed vinyl siding has become popular recently because it’s supposed to provide increased energy efficiency and resist hail damage. A common problem with foam-backed vinyl siding, however, is that the glue holding the foam in place can (and often does) delaminate. This can cause issues like buckling and blistering, which can destroy the aesthetics of your siding.
The Final Straw
Like I mentioned a moment ago, vinyl siding manufacturers are all too aware of the problems that come with their product. That’s why trying to get them to honor their warranty was like pulling teeth.
Whenever I had a customer who needed a product-related warranty issue—of which there were many—I had to beg, plead, and pressure the vinyl siding manufacturer to provide me with the materials and funds to fix their crappy product.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was one particular vinyl-siding manufacturer’s response to a warranty claim a customer filed. They had installed vinyl siding five years prior, and there was some serious fading.
Here’s a photo…
The manufacturer’s response: Since the color was within four Delta E’s, this amount of fading was acceptable.
My response: You’ve got to be kidding!!!
After that, I finally said enough is enough. While I lost count of how many problems my customers had with vinyl siding, I had NEVER had a customer complain about James Hardie fiber cement siding.
So I did the only logical thing I could—kick vinyl siding to the curb and become a Hardie-only siding installer.
Does James Hardie fiber cement siding cost more than vinyl siding? Yes—but only up front. Here’s why James Hardie fiber cement siding is a substantially greater value… and actually costs less in the long run:
- It lasts at least three times as long as vinyl siding
- It provides you with a MUCH higher return on investment
- Its rugged durability means you won’t have to spend money on costly repairs and premature replacement, which is a common occurrence with vinyl siding
- It’s made for the climate in which it’s manufactured; in other words, James Hardie fiber cement siding sold in the St. Louis metro area is optimized specifically for the Missouri climate
- It’s ultra-easy to paint, unlike vinyl siding
- It’s fire resistant and protects your home so well that it can reduce your homeowners insurance rates
If you want more reasons why James Hardie fiber cement siding is superior, visit our Why Fiber Cement page. But here’s the bottom line: I wouldn’t wish vinyl siding on my worst enemy.
Vinyl siding looks cheap, performs poorly, and causes way more problems than it solves. As a result, I will never, ever install it on my customers’ homes again.
Maybe that sounds harsh. But as a contractor who is preoccupied with providing superior results, it’s how I feel.
If you’re as passionate about getting true quality as I am about providing it, we’re going to be a good match. Get in touch, and let’s discuss your James Hardie fiber cement siding project.
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