Monday, October 5, 2009

Vinyl siding done not so ugly!

Vinyl siding is hated by most Architects and by many quality home builders. It's bad rep is deserved for the most part - I'll list just a few reasons:
  • limited choice of colors - usually shades of beige
  • looks flimsy
  • seams are obvious
  • all those j-channels around windows and doors look terrible and not authentic
On the other hand vinyl is inexpensive. And nowadays everyone is trying to find a way to construct a house plan less expensively. So in the interest of being fair to vinyl siding I am posting a link to a Fine Homebuilding Article entitled "8 ways to make vinyl siding look it's best" (just click the link). If you use all 8 of the tips I would dare say you can have a vinyl siding done not so ugly!

My favorite tip is on how to eliminate the J-trim. The J-trim I think is one of those things that really makes vinyl stand out as vinyl. If you can eliminate or reduce it's use now you can have a siding installation that looks much more authentic.

By the way I have one more tip that's not listed in the article. Tip number 9 - Don't Use Beige. Next to J-trim, Beige is the biggest thing that makes vinyl look like vinyl. The CertainTeed website has a useful took called ColorView which can help you visualize various color combinations. I did the image below very quickly using that tool. I would suggest keeping the color scheme simple when using vinyl. Keep it all white or do a simple scheme of one body color with a contrasting trim color (such as below).


  1. I am picking out colors for my vinyl siding, CertainTeed. I have a ranch w/ a new darker brown roof. My question is; for a smaller house would it look better to have all the siding and trim the same color, including the garage? MY windows are white and I will also put in a white railing in front. I have my heart set on the sable brown Cedar Impressions Double 9' shakes. I think I want all sable brown trim also, but others have said to have an off white or beige trim with it. I am not so sure since the house is only 1500 sq ft.

  2. Hey anonymous. A picture is better than a thousand words. If you can send a picture to it would be easier for me to comment. My sense is that since you have white windows then the white trim (or off white might be better. Also, is your house in the woods? in the country? or in a neighborhood? All things to consider.

  3. Interesting post and the thing about J trim is so true. I've sold vinyl siding for some 40 years and have seen all kinds of installation from very bad to great. If the colors are carefully selected and the installers know what they are doing it will look good.

  4. Hi,
    There are so many benefits of vinyl siding.. It protects the house from the natural damages and also doe not fade for many years.. The house is looking nice and your experience will help others a lot..

  5. Great post! I love your tips about how to make vinyl work, because it really has some great benefits as people had mentioned above. Also I definitely agree about the vinyl that is not beige- it looks a lot nicer. Thanks for posting!

  6. Hi! Keep on writing stuff like this. This is such a big help especially to businesses like mine. Thank you so much for sharing some information about vinyl siding. You have such a very interesting and informative page. I am so glad to visit your page and get some additional knowledge from your site. I will be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well.
    In addition to that, vinyl siding can be observed in a wide range of product quality realized in a substantial differences in thickness and lasting durability. Thickness can vary from .035" in cheaper grade siding products up to .052" in the highest grade products which vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Today, the thinnest vinyl siding commonly used is .040", and is known as "builder's grade". Vinyl product can vary in thickness even within one manufacturer up to .010" of thickness through varying product lines offered that range from basic to premium-grade products. Thicker vinyl products, usually realized in higher cost, are more rigid which can add to the aesthetic appeal and look of the installed, inherently flexible product and also add to durability and life expectancy. Thicker grades of vinyl siding may, according to some, exhibit more resistance to the most common complaint about vinyl siding – its tendency to crack in very cold weather when it is struck or bumped by a hard object while others feel that a thinner product may allow more 'flex before cracking' and is a subject of debate. However, at "This Old House" website, this assertion about thickness and crack resistance is disputed. They claim to know of test results that indicate chemical makeup has a greater influence on impact resistance than does thickness.
    StayRight vinyl stabilizers help to prevent heat degradation during the manufacturing process and after installation.

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  7. This is great information for homeowners on a way to use an inexpensive material but still making it look good. Vinyl siding does have benefits and it is the right choice for some homeowners. Thank you for writing this informational piece.