Vinyl Siding vs. Wood Siding: Which is Better?

house with vinyl sidingIf you’re considering replacing your existing siding with either vinyl siding or wood siding, we’re here to help. You’re not the first person to compare vinyl to wood siding and you won’t be the last.

The truth is that each have some distinct advantages but we think there’s a clear winner here and we’ll explain why.

Wood Siding

house with wood sidingWood siding was the premier siding material in the country up until about the early 1920’s. The early settlers used wood to clad their homes and buildings because it was natural, in abundance and it just worked for its intended purpose. Many vintage homes from this era still have wood siding today. If you want to buy wooden siding in modern times, much of it is made of plywood.

Downfalls of Wooden Siding

If you’re looking for an authentic cedar shake and shingle look, real wood siding may be a very attractive option (even though it can be expensive). However, most of the wood siding sold today is made of plywood and susceptible to problems that commonly plague wood.

For instance, untreated wood siding can crack, split, warp and rot over time. Wood is also the main course for pests such as termites which can really chew up a home. In fact, these are common problems found in early 20th-century homes with original wooden siding.

Vinyl Siding

yellow vinyl sidingVinyl siding is a very popular  house cladding material. Today’s vinyl siding is super-durable, barely requires any maintenance over time, doesn’t fade, split, crack or warp and is generally affordable.

Vinyl is the perfect replacement to old wood or aluminum siding. Vinyl siding creates a very attractive look for your home in many colors and styles.

Vinyl Siding That Looks Like Wood

Similar to wood cedar shake siding, vinyl also comes in shake and shingle. It even looks the part of the original with wood grain and all.

You won’t get any color fading either with vinyl. It’s colored in the factory as it’s getting manufactured. There’s no painting or staining with a piece of quality vinyl siding.

Energy Efficiency of Vinyl and Wood Siding

Wood is a natural insulator but can’t stand up to vinyl siding in terms of energy efficiency. Wood is a natural material that expands and contracts with temperature and humidity changes. Because of this, wood siding can’t keep a tight, energy-saving seal like vinyl siding can.

Vinyl doesn’t warp, rot or expand and contract with the seasons. When properly installed, vinyl siding creates a tight seal against the exterior walls of your home and won’t allow moisture in like wood can.

When buying insulated vinyl siding, you are adding additional R-value, or insulating power, into your siding.

Appearance: Vinyl vs. Wood

Real wood that is finished properly can take on a stunning appearance. In particular, wood shake siding (usually made with cedar) can be exceptionally beautiful.

Vinyl siding can also be very attractive. Vinyl’s advantage is that it will look much better than wood over time because of its inherent durability over wood. No fading, staining or cracking.

Another benefit of vinyl siding is the fact that you can choose from many different colors and styles. They even make vinyl siding that looks just like wood.

Is It Tough Enough for Your Chicago Home? Wood vs. Vinyl Siding

winter in ChicagoDurability is always a key factor when choosing an exterior product for your home including windows and doors. Siding is no exception.

Vinyl can take a beating and resist even extreme temperatures without losing it’s original appearance. The same just can’t be said for wood.

In addition to the possibility of warping and cracking over time, wood siding is also susceptible to insect infestation. One such insect is the dreaded termite.

Over time, a small termite infestation can grow and lead to major structural damage to your home, not to mention wooden siding.


power washing sidingVinyl siding requires little to no maintenance other than an occasional washing with a hose. Wood siding will require regular maintenance including re-painting or staining. Vinyl siding is colored at the factory and extremely durable and fade-resistant, resulting in a virtually maintenance-free product.

Which Siding Material is Best? We Say Vinyl

Vinyl siding has been around since about the 1950’s and has steadily gained in popularity since then. Homeowners love vinyl because it’s so easy to maintain, has a great appearance and is generally a high-quality product when installed properly.

We recommend going with an insulated vinyl siding product that will lower your heating and cooling bills for years to come.

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