Nearly one-third of American homes use vinyl siding as an exterior cladding material because of its affordability and durability, leaving a question to homeowners: how do you maintain the shine and luster of your vinyl siding? What steps do you need to take to keep your vinyl siding looking brand new for the years to come?


Despite being a synthetic material, Vinyl exterior siding has become a popular choice for most homeowners because it has been known to be low maintenance and affordable. 

Vinyl Siding Composition

Vinyl siding is a synthetic material molded from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin. Since it’s made of plastic, it can be created with a wide array of textures, shapes, and colors, giving homeowners many design options. 

Vinyl Siding Manufacturing 

PVC is derived from a compound called a Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM) in its pure form. It is a colorless compound used as a precursor to developing a PVC resin. In simpler terms, VCM undergoes a chemical reaction due to exposing it to high temperatures, causing it to bind together, creating a chain of chemical compounds known as PVC resin.

The polymerization process causes PVC resin to crystallize into a white powder. PVC resin is the raw material turned into various PVC products by adding other chemicals, also known as plasticizers. These plasticizers dictate the end product’s material properties—flexibility, softness, pliability, brittleness, etc. 

In manufacturing vinyl siding, these powdered pellets known as PVC resin are heated in high temperatures via plastic extrusion. Once the liquid cools, it turns into a solid vinyl siding panel. The resin is added in with various plasticizers and the color pigment of choice, forming a liquid-like consistency that is then injected into the mold, which is why PVC materials are solid in color.

Vinyl Siding Pigmentation Process

PVC naturally expands and contracts when exposed to extreme heat and extreme cold. Because of this expansion and contraction, Vinyl siding is often pigmented before the extrusion process to ensure that the whole plank is one solid color. By making it one solid color throughout, the expansion and contraction do not influence the plank’s colour when exposed to extreme weather conditions. 

How various Vinyl Siding brands differ from one another

The manufacturing process for Vinyl Siding is all the same when it comes to plastic extrusion. What sets each manufacturer apart is the formulation and the unique additives they incorporate into the mix. 

We know that PVC has its disadvantages when exposed to extreme weather conditions. Various vinyl manufacturers have discovered ways to make their products stand out by providing solutions to overcome the common material weaknesses of vinyl siding. Some brands are priced at a premium for extra warranties and UV protection, while some remain cheap and affordable without any added value. It all boils down to how long you want your siding to last and the available budget.

Vinyl Siding Advantages

As previously mentioned, vinyl siding comes with a lot of advantages. One of the known advantages is that it’s pretty cheap compared to its other counterparts, primarily because it’s easy to come by. PVC is pretty easy to synthesize, unlike wood and fiber cement boards manufactured from limited raw materials. 

Another advantage of vinyl siding that sets it apart is that it comes pre-colored, eliminating the need for paint jobs causing you to save on finishing costs.

Vinyl Siding Maintenance

The good news is, you are only required to maintain your vinyl siding sporadically. You can either do it yourself or hire a professional cleaning company. Annual cleaning with a gentle soap solution usually does the trick. You also can use chemicals specifically designed for vinyl siding panels. In this scenario, pressure washers are your best friend. 

What causes Vinyl Siding discoloration?

Usually, around the 10th year mark, you will start seeing discoloration on your vinyl siding characterized by chalking caused by continuous oxidation by UV exposure. Notice that you would observe oxidation in areas of your house exposed to the sun throughout the day. On the other hand, you would observe mold growth in the surfaces of your home that are blocked by the sun’s rays, creating the perfect ecosystem for mold and mildew to thrive. 

No material is entirely perfect, and everything comes with its pain points. In vinyl siding, the central pain point that comes with it is that the color may fade due to exposure to the sun. The sun’s ultraviolet rays are inevitable, but there are ways around this problem. 

Scientifically speaking, UV rays break the chain of polymers creating free radicals. These radicals are elements from the original equation forming the PVC polymer, breaking free from the chain, which manifests through chalking, warping, and discoloration. 

Can you apply wax to your Vinyl Siding? 

Applying wax onto your vinyl siding adds shine and prevents the polymer chain that makes up the whole PVC material from breaking down. It seals the surface and adds an extra layer of protection, pretty much like a film. It all still depends on the micro-climatic conditions in your house. For some people, adding wax may be too much since they regularly have their homes pressure washed, but waxing is an excellent solution for those who don’t have the time to maintain their homes annually. 

Applying wax usually lasts for 3-5 years. The wax creates a hydrophobic film that repels water and dirt in this period, preventing dirt from accumulating on the surface of your siding and creating a barrier that prevents the vinyl from oxidizing. 

Editorial Contributors
Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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