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From Brick to Vinyl: The History of Vinyl Siding

Since colonial times, traditional U.S. home exteriors were typically clad in wood, stone, or brick.  But with the advent of manufacturing and technology, new choices entered the market during the 20th century, including aluminum, asbestos shingle, stone veneer, and engineered wood.  But it is vinyl siding that is seen on more and more homes throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC.  In fact, the Vinyl Siding Institute says that vinyl siding is the number one exterior cladding choice in the United States for new construction and remodeling.

Back in the 1950’s, a plastics manufacturer in Ohio was the first to manufacture vinyl siding.  First attempts at producing vinyl siding had inconsistent results.  The color blending for the vinyl was done by hand, making it very difficult to achieve a uniform color.  The vinyl formulations themselves were also inconsistent, and were not good at retaining color.  Over time, these early vinyl siding formulations would fade and become chalky.

But manufacturers realized the potential for vinyl siding.  They began to use a powdered base rather than pellets, which made the final product more durable.  Color technology also began to improve, creating a vinyl siding product with very consistent color.  Throughout the 70’s and 80’s, the evolution of vinyl siding manufacturing led to vinyl formulations that could withstand weather, heat, and impacts much better than earlier versions. Popularity of vinyl siding continued to increase because of its easy installation, low maintenance, and value. 

Today, vinyl siding is the number one choice for new homes and replacement siding for good reason.  Vinyl formulations found in today’s siding create a product that is very impact and fade resistant.  Electronic color blending creates an almost unlimited number of color choices.  Smooth finishes create a product that doesn’t have any of the harsh light reflection of older vinyl siding versions.

With these continuous advancements in technology, using vinyl siding to replicate older architectural styles is very popular.  Vinyl siding can be produced with surface finishes that mimic different types of wood grain.  Manufacturers are also offering more options besides straight-run horizontal boards.  Vertical board and batton styles, and shingle styles like half-round, staggered, and hand-split can give any home that old-world wood look but with all the benefits of vinyl siding.  Many decorative vinyl trim pieces also allow replacement vinyl siding projects to be undertaken on Victorian-style homes.

From its earliest days, vinyl siding has evolved from an inconsistent product to become the most popular house siding choice today.  Consistent quality, durability, impact resistance, flexibility, and beauty have been achieved through the research and development that today’s vinyl siding manufacturers produce.