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Spray-on vinyl siding? Really?

Jeffrey Anderson | Improvement Center Columnist | October 30, 2012

Low-maintenance: it's a catchphrase mentioned quite a bit these days when you're shopping for an exterior siding product. Manufacturers have done their research -- they know that busy families and an aging baby boomer generation don't wish to spend much time or money on the exterior upkeep of their homes. So what low-maintenance options are available when it comes time to install new siding on your house?

Vinyl and fiber cement siding are probably the top choices, and if you want to spend a little more, brick and stone could make the list as well. But what about the new kid on the block that seems to be getting a lot of press -- does spray-on vinyl siding warrant serious consideration as a low-upkeep option for your home?

Spray-on vinyl: Too good to be true?

What exactly is spray-on vinyl siding? Well, it's advertised to be a semi-liquid product with the protective properties of vinyl siding. The big difference: it can be sprayed or rolled onto your home just like paint. The manufacturers of various spray-on vinyl siding products have claimed that it offers, among other things, these advantages:

  • Eliminates the time and expense of having to remove old wood siding -- the application process takes care of closing splits, cracks, and smaller holes
  • Hundreds of color options -- one manufacturer offers over 1,800 different shade variations
  • Warranties that last as long as 30 years
  • Costs not much more than latex paint
  • A unique PVC-resin composition that allows wood siding to breathe -- thus, preventing rot and potential mold and mildew growth

So with all of these great benefits, is spray-on vinyl siding a good choice for your home?

While there have been many successful applications and happy homeowners, there have also been quite a few problems. At least one spray-on company has been forced to shut down due to issues with the homes where their product was installed.

The wood siding wasn't able to breathe, and that caused dimpling and cracking in the vinyl coating. The product advertised to reduce maintenance actually created a lot of additional costs -- expenses the homeowners were forced to cover when the manufacturer closed up shop.

When the product was first introduced, many manufactures claimed it could increase the R-value of a home's exterior walls. The Federal Trade Commission thought otherwise.

The lesson to be learned: when a product seems almost too good to be true, it often falls short of expectations. While there might be many reputable spray-on vinyl siding products, paying a little more for proven, low-maintenance materials -- such as traditional vinyl or fiber cement siding -- can be the wiser investment.

About the Author

Jeffrey Anderson has a Degree in English from V.M.I., and served as an officer in the Marine Corps. He worked in Residential and Commercial construction management for 25 years before retiring to write full time. He spends his time writing, remodeling his old farmhouse, and in animal rescue.

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