What is Vinyl Shake Siding?
Vinyl shake siding is a synthetic alternative to cedar shake siding. It seeks to emulate the rustic look of freshly sawn cedar planks, but doesn’t have the hassle of caring for real wood siding. It’s constructed of polyvinyl chloride (or pvc) which is the same material that regular vinyl siding is made of, and its distinctive look can add fantastic curb appeal to your home. Plus, it costs about 30-40% less than cedar shake siding!
Vinyl siding manufacturers make vinyl shake siding in small pieces that are attached next to each other like roofing shingles, instead of long pieces like regular vinyl siding. After installation, shake siding can have a straight horizontal edge or staggered edge, depending upon the desired final look. The straight edge is more modern, while the staggered edge is the old-fashioned option. As long as it is taken care of properly, vinyl shake siding can last for decades!
Issues Behind Common Vinyl Siding Problems
Even though vinyl shake siding is a great, low-maintenance alternative to cedar shake siding, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with its own set of specific issues and concerns. Below are some reasons behind a few of the common problems that homeowners can encounter with vinyl siding and vinyl shake siding.
Not Seeking Professional Installation
The average homeowner needs to do their research before undertaking the installation of vinyl shake siding. Many people end up opting to find a professional with experience installing vinyl shake siding, because improper installation can lead to many problems down the road.
Planks that are installed too loosely will allow moisture in, leading to mildew, mold, or rot. Planks that are installed too tightly won’t allow for the expansion and contraction of the home with natural temperature changes.
Improper Home Improvement Maintenance
Maintenance of vinyl shake siding can sometimes be an issue.
After a while, any home exterior can use a good cleaning. With vinyl shake siding, however, you should never use a pressure washer. This can force water under the planks, and lead to water damage. The best procedure for when your siding needs cleaned, according to the Vinyl Siding Institute, is to use a long-handled, soft bristle brush with a water/vinegar mixture, or normal household detergent.
Vinyl shake siding should also never be painted, because after a short time, the paint will crack and peel off, showing the original vinyl color. Sure, it’s more of a cosmetic issue, but you want your house looking the best it can!
Improper Installation or Weather Damage
Like other vinyl siding products, vinyl shake siding is durable, but not indestructible. If there’s not enough wiggle room when the panels are installed, the individual vinyl planks are susceptible to cracking and splitting.
Extreme weather can also take its toll on your home’s siding. If any of your vinyl shake siding panels become damaged, they will have to be replaced individually. Not doing so will eventually lead to moisture problems, so if you spot any missing planks call a reliable siding contractor as soon as possible.
Fading of Siding Material Due to UV Exposure
Loss of color due to constant exposure to direct sunlight can also be an issue, though less serious than other problems. If one side of your house receives more sunlight than another part, this can, over time, cause an inconsistent appearance that some may not find appealing.
Care should be taken whenever there is a strong heat source near your vinyl siding. Pay attention when using outdoor grills, blowtorches, and electrical devices that generate heat. These devices should never be stored next to vinyl siding when they are still hot.
Combustible materials and trash should also never be stored next to vinyl siding in case of fire.
Wind Causing Siding to Loosen
When wind blows over your vinyl siding, it can create a lot of annoying noise if the siding wasn’t installed right or if it was loosened due to bad weather. It’s good practice to inspect your siding on a regular basis, especially after bad weather or high wind. Rattling noises can indicate loose planks that need to be reattached or replaced.
You may also hear noises when the outside temperature changes. If this is the case, your siding may have been installed too tightly, causing creaks and pops when the walls naturally expand and contract as they warm or cool. The siding may start to warp or buckle because of this, and there’s no saving misshapen siding.
Advantages Over Cedar Shake Siding
Aside from the lower cost, vinyl shake siding has numerous advantages over traditional cedar shake siding.
Termites, carpenter ants, and carpenter bees are three things you wouldn’t want anywhere near your home. But if you have real cedar shake siding, you might just be sending out an invitation.
Cedar shake siding naturally contains tannic acid, which makes it insect resistant for a certain amount of time. However, constant exposure to weather and rain eventually saps the acid out of the cedar planks. When this happens, a water resistant preservative must be applied to slow the deterioration process. With vinyl shake siding, you don’t have to worry about bugs wanting to eat the outside of your house!
Vinyl Siding Deters Woodpeckers
Another nuisance of cedar shake siding is that it can attract woodpeckers looking for food or a place to make their home.
Getting rid of woodpeckers can involve everything from installing reflective tape and hanging woodpecker feeders around the property to installing a woodpecker box for them to live in. But with vinyl shake siding, you get all of the look without any of the pests!
Moss and Mold Durability
Besides animal life, vegetation is also attracted to natural wood products. Once moisture checks in, the red carpet is rolled out for things like mildew, moss, and mold.
Fortunately, if you have vinyl shake siding, things like mold and mildew are easily washed away. But once they have found a home on cedar shake siding, that means that the wood planks are already laden with moisture and should be replaced.
New Siding Color Selection
If you want color added to your traditional cedar shake siding, your only option is to paint. And as with anything painted, soon enough, the paint will crack and peel and you’ll have to do the task all over again.
But vinyl shake siding is available in a variety of colors to choose from. All options are very durable and each one allows the wood grain texture to show through.
The Shake-Style Vinyl Siding is the Best Alternative to Cedar
With vinyl shake, you can have the look of cedar shake siding without the investment of time and money. Plus, vinyl shake siding offers every bit of cedar’s aesthetic appeal without having to worry about the constant upkeep that cedar demands.
When you decide to redo your home’s exterior with vinyl shake siding installation, choose a manufacturer you trust. Factory Direct Siding has been in manufacturing for over 80 years! Reach out to us today to find the perfect look for your home!