Investing in quality siding is a significant decision—one that shouldn’t be made without thorough consideration of the siding options available. Many homeowners make the mistake of settling for the building material that they are most familiar with because it’s such a significant investment in the exterior of a home. However, it’s worth the time to carefully consider all of the siding options available since each type carries pros and cons. Here, we’ll break down the current debate by comparing steel siding vs. vinyl siding.

Factors that Affect Performance

First of all, there are a few factors that you have little to no control over as a homeowner. One of these factors is the weather. Whether you’re tucked away in the mountains or building a home in the Great Plains, there will be certain environmental factors that must be taken into account when considering steel siding vs. vinyl siding. After all, weather can pose a significant threat to your home’s curb appeal, so you’ll want to have a solid understanding of a particular building material’s durability when choosing it for your home.

Moisture damage is one of the most common struggles for homeowners. Unfortunately, moisture damage can result from a variety of events, including heavy rains, snowy winters, or seasonal humidity. Even when the climate is moderate, a home that is heavily shaded with large trees around it can experience moisture damage. When considering steel siding vs vinyl siding, the more durable choice is definitely steel. While vinyl siding can easily experience moisture damage in the form of mold, warping, and cracking, steel is a material that has an incredibly strong resistance to moisture.

Sun and heat can also have severe effects on vinyl siding. Sun damage can result in color fading on vinyl siding, which is particularly noticeable because most panels will not experience the same amount of direct sunlight. This means that some sections of vinyl will fade at a faster rate than others, making it quite obvious that your home’s exterior has taken an unflattering hit. Unlike vinyl, steel simply doesn’t fade. In addition, extreme heat can cause vinyl siding to expand, resulting in warped and buckled panels. When it comes to comparing steel siding vs. vinyl siding for sun damage, steel significantly outperforms vinyl.

Steel vs. Vinyl Siding: Product Performance

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Another aspect that is often overlooked is the variation in flammability of steel siding vs vinyl siding. Vinyl is quite flammable, whereas steel boasts one of the highest fire safety ratings available. Having an exterior that is considerably more fire-resistant can provide peace of mind for yourself and your family.

In addition to extreme fire resistance, steel also outperforms vinyl when assessed for impact resistance. You may think impact resistance is irrelevant—especially if you’ve never had an accident happen at your home before. However, seasoned homeowners know all too well that accidents do happen. Whether it’s a hefty tree branch that snaps off and lands on your home or an elderly relative is trying to back into the driveway without their glasses—you never expect these accidental impacts to happen until they do! In the debate of steel siding vs. vinyl siding, steel is much stronger. Therefore, it is considerably more tolerant to impact than vinyl, which can crack, snap and become scraped quite easily.

When deciding on building materials, there’s more to consider than durability. Style is a large factor that should be part of your decision, too. Vinyl offers an abundance of color options, which is particularly helpful for those who have a specific, unique look in mind. Steel, on the other hand, offers a greater selection of textured options. You can even purchase steel siding that looks just like real wood, with natural-looking wood grain and rounded log-style beams. Steel siding is also available in a variety of enticing color options.

Furthermore, the environmental impact of certain building materials is a component that is becoming increasingly more relevant in home design. While vinyl siding consists of artificial components that make it difficult to reuse, steel siding is produced from recycled materials, and it remains recyclable. Therefore, steel definitely proves to be the better option when considering sustainability within the steel siding vs. vinyl siding debate.

There is, however, one aspect in which vinyl siding may seem to have an edge over steel siding at first, and that is in regards to affordability. Vinyl is certainly the cheaper option on the market. However, this does not necessarily make it the better deal. In most regards, steel siding features a much longer warranty than vinyl siding, and the reason is clear—steel siding is built to last. So while consumers may spend more money on steel siding initially, their siding choice is likely pay off in the long run, since steel has a significantly greater longevity than vinyl.

Making the Best Choice

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All in all, it seems that the debate on steel siding vs. vinyl siding has been settled. Consider the long-lasting benefits of steel the next time you are choosing between these two materials.

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