If you’re looking into the best vinyl siding for your home, we’ve got the basics and important information to assist in your decision to choose the best siding. As you know, vinyl siding is a popular choice due to its low cost, low maintenance needs and decent durability. In this article, we’ll overview the different types of vinyl siding, discuss how to choose the best quality vinyl siding, and explore various style options.
We’ll end with an overview of the best vinyl siding brands and what each has to offer.
Best Quality Vinyl Siding
The biggest factor in the quality of the vinyl siding you choose is the thickness. Siding thickness can change how a building looks. More importantly, the density will impact how long it lasts in weather and temperature changes and how well it protects your home. The right thickness of siding will allow for expansion and contraction with temperature changes – without the buckling and sagging seen with cheap vinyl and even with the best quality vinyl poorly installed.
Pro Tip: Be sure to get several installation estimates and check the reviews of the contractors you’re considering. Make sure they have a track record of quality installation that stands up over time. Use our Free Estimates service to find the top vinyl siding installers in your area.
Vinyl Siding Thickness and What They Mean
Most homes use siding that is at least 0.04 inches thick. The most dense siding that you’ll find on the market is around .055 inches.
Siding thickness is measured with a 6-leveled grading system. Here are siding thickness options from thinnest to thickest:
- Economy Grade Siding – .038 inches: It’s cheap and best suited to sheds and outbuildings.
- Builder Grade Siding – .040 inches: You’ll find this on spec homes and when homeowners go cheap.
- Average Vinyl Siding – .044 inches: This siding will give you 15+ years of wear, though it will be showing its age.
- Upgraded Vinyl Siding – .046 inches: Now you’re getting into quality vinyl that will look good longer.
- Premium Grade Siding – .048 inches: You’ll pay more – and might have to special order this – but it has long-term benefits.
- Top of the Line Siding – .055 inches and up: The best quality vinyl should last 20+ years.
Since you’ll pay for a thicker product, homeowners often spring for a medium thickness that will meet their needs without breaking the bank.
Vinyl Siding Types / Profiles
There are a lot of options to choose from. Just like the thickness, the type of siding plays a part in how well it functions and how it contributes to the overall style of your home. We’ll give you a quick overview of the different types of siding.
Direction: Choosing the direction and look of your siding is a good place to start. Do you prefer siding that runs horizontally or vertically? Are you looking to match a certain architectural style of your home?
Much more common than vertical vinyl siding, horizontal siding is manufactured in these styles.
Clapboard Siding: The style dates to Colonial times and remains popular. It mimics the look of wood planks of uniform thickness overlapping one another.
The profiles of clapboard siding:
- single 7 or 8
- triple 3 or 6
- Quad 4
- Double 4
What do those profiles mean? A single-7 is a piece of siding 7 inches wide that looks like a single plank of wood. A triple-3 is a single piece of siding that is shaped to look like 3 boards each 3 inches wide, and so forth.
Pro Tip: You’ll use fewer nails to secure wider pieces of clapboard siding. This sounds like a good thing overall, but if you’re likely to encounter high winds, they might be less durable. It’s best to check with a professional if this is a concern for your project.
Lap Siding: Vinyl Lap siding is the simplest profile. It differs from the clapboard profile in that the “individual” planks are thinner at the top than the bottom.
Dutch Lap Siding: This type of vinyl siding is often confused with clapboard siding. Because the two are milled differently, Dutch lap siding is a little more visually complex than the straight lines of the clapboard siding. It includes straight boards with a bevel on the top half for added depth and shadowing. Your most common width options are:
- Triple 4
- Double 4, 4.5 or 5
Beaded Siding: This is flat, smooth siding with a raised, thin “bead” at the top. It provides a more contemporary, “clean” look than lapped siding types.
Vertical Board & Batten Vinyl Siding
This type of siding is made up of wide vertical vinyl planks with narrow recesses in between. You can typically find it in two different widths: single or double, with siding at the edge or in the center of each strip. Board & batten is often the sole siding on a home, but it is also used to accent other siding types such as horizontal vinyl or brick siding.
Shingles and Shakes
These vinyl siding types are both characterized by smaller pieces organized in horizontal lines. You’ll see these most often used as accents around dormers or in gables. Shingles come in a variety of shapes. Shingle edges can be straight, rounded, oval or other various designs.
Shakes have vertical wood grain and raw, authentic looking bottom edges. Like shingles, they are arranged in a horizontal pattern but can vary slightly in length.
Shakes and shingles can be purchased in manufactured panels, making them much easier to install than the one-by-one traditional approach.
You can even find vinyl siding that looks like stones! Manufactured in panels like shingles and shakes, it provides the same look as stone siding but at a lower cost than true masonry work.
Also known as Foam Backed Siding, this adds an extra layer of insulation between the building and the vinyl with an R-value of 3.5 to 5.0. It maintains the same low-maintenance profile as vinyl siding but is more durable and able to withstand blows. You’ll pay considerably more per square foot but the higher cost might be made up in the energy savings in climates with extreme temperatures. Insulated vinyl siding might be the best vinyl siding choice if you have the budget for a long-term investment.
Choosing the Best Vinyl Siding for Your Home
When choosing the overall style of your home, you’ll want to consider both the color and texture of the vinyl siding that you choose.
Color: You’ll find vinyl siding in many different colors ranging from bright white to dark hues. The best vinyl siding colors are those that blend well with the surrounding landscape, are consistent with siding colors used in your neighborhood and, of course, fit your personal style. Many companies offer an online home visualizer so you can choose the best vinyl siding colors for your job.
What are the most popular vinyl siding colors? Neutrals across the color spectrum, from light tan to medium blue and green, are common. But richer hues like rustic red and forest green give a home’s exterior enhanced visual appeal. Theses colors are given names like premium, designer and architectural.
Texture: Smooth textured siding gives a clean, contemporary look. Wood texturing varies in intensity ranging from a faint wood look to a heavier texture that more closely mimics rough-hewn wood planks. Darker colors and more pronounced wood grain texturing might come with a higher price tag.
Did you know? Siding companies use real wood to create siding molds. As the siding is extruded, molds in the form of large rollers impress into the vinyl the genuine wood graining.
Best Vinyl Siding Brands
Finding the best vinyl siding brand for your needs doesn’t have to be complicated.
Insider Tip: Most manufacturers offer similar products including profiles, widths, colors and quality options. The siding contractor you choose will be a good source of information about which brands offer the best durability in your area’s climate conditions. Plus, the installer you choose is as important as the brand, so get multiple estimates and select a contractor with a proven track record.
Here’s a summary of each brand including what they do well and what they’re known for. We’ll focus on what makes each company unique. This guide will help you choose vinyl siding from the brand that best meets your needs.
Alside prides itself on its long history in the industry. The brand produces a more rigid siding using what Alside calls Tri-beam technology for “superior strength”. If you prefer insulated siding, see Alside options with BASF Neopor insulating foam backing.
CertainTeed claims the largest portfolio of vinyl siding color and style in the industry. It is known for premium products at a higher average cost. CertainTeed advertises “fade-resistant colors and a lifetime limited warranty.” The brand’s CedarBoards D6 is composed of at least 60% post-consumer and post-industrial recycled siding material. If sustainability is high on your list of priorities, this may be one of the best vinyl siding brands for you.
The brand also makes an impressive range of vinyl shingle and shake options.
Kaycan Vinyl Siding
Kaycan vinyl siding products include Helios and Duratron technology for superior fade resistance and durability. All of their products come with a limited lifetime warranty. You can browse all 62 colors on their website. As an added bonus, Kaycan’s website has a home designer tool which allows you to upload a photo of your property and trial different designs!
Mastic Siding by Ply Gem
PlyGem’s Mastic Siding line provides next-generation protection from the sun with light reflection and a heat-resistant base layer. It is covered with a V.I.P limited lifetime warranty, is eco-friendly and requires little maintenance. Mastic Siding might be the best vinyl siding option for hot climates and areas with intense sun exposure.
This company is the leading brand across Canada; distribution in the US is more limited. Mitten Siding advertises that their products minimize labor requirements allowing for easier installation. This might be the best choice if you’re looking for an easy, DIY installation.
This company produces a number of different types of vinyl siding. American Splendor siding is rated to withstand winds up to 210mph. Napco XL version comes in 25 foot lengths, which allows for fewer seams, which improves appearance and produces fewer opportunities for moisture and insects to get in.
Norandex siding has a wide range of styles, accent options and finishes with new products recently added. The brand advertises low maintenance and a solid range of siding products. You’re sure to find options that match any neighborhood or home style ranging from historic to contemporary.
Royal Building Products Siding including Crane Board
This company aims to make things simple for you. RBP offers a simple, interactive website to give you a visual of the options, including style tips and pairing siding with trim. They use Neopor insulation, with up to 19% better R-Value than regular foam insulation. Their vinyl siding also includes moisture management ridges to improve water evaporation. They claim to be the only manufacturer with a “life of the home” warranty.