- Siding Warranty Duration by Type
- What Warranties Don’t Cover
- How Long Does Vinyl Siding Last?
- Will the Color in Vinyl Siding Last Forever?
- Factors that Affect How Long Siding Lasts
- Is insulated siding more durable than traditional vinyl siding?
- How Long Does Wood Siding Last?
- How Long Does Cedar Siding Last?
- How Long Does Aluminum Siding Last?
- How Long Does Fiber Cement Siding Last?
- When Should You Replace Siding?
- Duration & Durability Can Vary Significantly
- What to Read Next
- Over to You
Siding protects your home from the elements and it takes a beating from wind, hail, rain and sun in order to do so. Its lifespan is determined by a number of factors discussed below, but your choice of material will ultimately determine how long your home’s siding will last.
Wood, aluminum, vinyl, brick, stone, and fiber cement each have their own pros and cons, last for different lengths of time and vary – at times dramatically – in cost.
One of the challenges with siding is that you have to choose between spending a lot of money at the outset for new siding that requires little maintenance, or getting inexpensive protection for your house that will require more maintenance and repair over time. This can make expected lifespan the deciding factor when comparing your options.
This guide will provide a detailed overview of warranty lengths and coverage for different types of siding, how long each can be expected to last and how to determine when siding needs to be replaced.
Siding Warranty Duration by Type
|Type||Durability||Waranty||Maintenance||Cost Per Sq. Ft.|
|Vinyl||20 to 40 years||50 years to Limited Lifetime||Low||$3 to $7|
|Aluminum / Steel||30 to 50 years||35 to 50 years||Moderate||$5 to $9|
|Wood (Cedar)||15 to 40 years||20 to 50 years||High||$5 to $10|
|Fiber Cement||25 to 40 years||30 to 50 years||Moderate||$5 to $9|
|Stucco||15 to 40 years||Low||$9 to $12|
|Brick||50+ years||Low||$13 to $20|
|Natural Stone||50+ years||Low||$15 to $40|
|Stone Veneer||25 to 40 years||Moderate||$10 to $15|
|Fiberglass||25 to 40 years||Moderate||$9 to $12|
|Log||50+ years||High Maintenance||$7 to $19|
What Warranties Don’t Cover
Most manufacturers will not warranty siding that has been damaged during installation. They also will not generally cover:
- Normal wear and tear
- Normal weathering
- Acts of God
- Siding that has been painted
- Structural defects
- Heat sources not from nature
- Impact from moving objects
How Long Does Vinyl Siding Last?
20 – 40 years, Low Maintenance
Vinyl siding is resistant to temperature extremes and high winds, and will typically last between 20 and 40 years.
It is also resistant to moisture, can look like real wood, but is much less expensive and easier to work with. It needs very little maintenance, since it is resistant to most of the elements that comprise other types of siding. Vinyl doesn’t rot like wood or scratch and dent like metal.
It will get dirty, but usually all you have to do is rinse it off. You can use a pressure washer for stubborn dirt or mildew that may grow in lodged debris. A solution of mild detergent water may be necessary, but that’s about it. The long life, low cost, and low maintenance makes this the most popular siding in the U.S.
However, vinyl siding may lose its visual appeal after two or three decades. It can fade and crack, even leaking if it is exposed to a harsh environment. Extremely cold temperatures can cause the vinyl to crack if struck. It will warp if you have an outside heat source such as a grill nearby.
Manufacturers warranty vinyl for manufacturing defects that lead to flaking or peeling. They also warranty corroding and blistering. Excessive fading may be covered in the warranty, but pre-painted vinyl usually has a 15 year warranty only.
Will the Color in Vinyl Siding Last Forever?
Nothing lasts forever. Vinyl siding fades over time, especially if you live in a hot, sunny climate where UV rays are unrelenting. Heavy gauge vinyl will keep its color longer than lighter-gauge products, and the vinyl color will last longer than a typical paint job.
Factors that Affect How Long Siding Lasts
Grade & Thickness
As you compare siding, look for the thickness of planks and panels. This is called the grade, and may be the key to determining how long your selection will continue to do its job. Vinyl siding will range in thickness between .35mm to .55mm. The grades are:
- Builder’s grade vinyl or thin residential (the most commonly used): .40mm.
- Standard residential grade: .44mm
- Thick residential grade: .46mm
- Super thick grade: .50mm
The grade of vinyl siding you select will affect the cost, both at the outset and throughout the life of the product. Low-grade vinyl will crack and possibly sag in just a decade or so. It will also fade sooner, requiring a paint job from there on out.
Thicker grades of vinyl will be more fade-resistant and durable. It will have a longer life expectancy and often come with longer warranties. Plus, the thicker grades are better looking. If you are leaving the selection of materials to your siding contractor, he will probably choose the lowest grade to save money.
The siding on your home protects the structure from rain, wind, snow, heat, and cold so how long it lasts depends heavily on upkeep. Keeping your siding properly maintained will ensure that it lives to its expected lifespan.
With vinyl panels and planks, you can simply wash them off periodically (typically once a year) to keep them looking nice. Inspect them annually for cracks, damage, and areas of moisture infiltration as these can accelerate deterioration and lead to expensive repairs.
One of the benefits of vinyl is the flexibility. It can take blows that would dent metal siding, yet never show a mark. It also expands and contracts with temperature changes. Extreme temperature changes may cause the vinyl planks to warp and become more brittle over time.
Flying debris such as hailstones or a rock from the lawnmower may break older vinyl. To counter that, select a product that is has a warranty for 150 mph winds.
Vinyl lasts longer than wood siding, but is not as durable in extremely harsh climates. Wind damage, dents, and punctures do occur. A damaged panel should be replaced as soon as possible so that no water damage is done to the internal structure of the home. It is relatively easy to repair or replace panels. You just have to make sure the colors match, so you may need to switch out new panels with older ones on a less visible spot on the house.
Is insulated siding more durable than traditional vinyl siding?
Insulated vinyl siding is vinyl siding with an added layer of rigid foam permanently adhered to the vinyl panel, which is then attached to the house. It is stronger than non-insulated vinyl which helps it withstand heavier impacts and is designed to withstand harsh weather. It also helps to ensure that the panels remain level at the seams, rather than caving in.
How Long Does Wood Siding Last?
15 – 40 years – Heavy Maintenance
Wood has one of the longest lifespans of any siding, but it comes at a cost: it requires a lot of maintenance. Proper maintenance will allow it to last for decades.
Wood siding has to be regularly inspected for cracks in the caulking, gaps in the finish, spots of rot and mold, and holes for pests to access. If you discover a problem, it should be dealt with immediately to prevent the damage from spreading.
In addition, wood is a natural product that expands and contracts with temperature fluctuations and moisture content. This means the caulking around trim joints (typically the door and window trim) will eventually crack and need to be redone.
Wood also has to be either stained or painted on a regular basis to protect it from the elements and keep it looking fresh and vibrant. Depending on the climate, you may have to repaint every 5 to 7 years. Any gaps in the seal that are left unattended will allow moisture to get at the wood and reduce the longevity of the siding.
How Long Does Cedar Siding Last?
One of the most durable woods used in outdoor construction is cedar. Most manufacturers offer 25-year warranties on their cedar siding. However, it does require regular maintenance to keep it in good condition.
Classified as a durable species of wood, cedar only needs a finish coat to keep it healthy and it will last for decades. The planks or shingles should not touch the ground, because while cedar is rot-resistant, it is not rot-proof and doing so will shorten its lifespan. Inspect your cedar siding regularly for the same problems listed in the wood siding section above, and make sure repairs are done promptly.
How Long Does Aluminum Siding Last?
30 – 50 years – Medium Maintenance
Aluminum siding is long-lasting, requires minimal maintenance and it is recyclable. It will last upwards of 30 years as long as it you do some basic maintenance including an annual cleaning with a pressure washer.
While the aluminum lasts for over 30 years, the paint doesn’t. It is good for about 15 years, and then it can start to show its age by getting chalky and flaking off. The paint is enamel that is baked onto the metal, so it’s a strong coat, but it is not eternal. The good news is that you can repaint it after proper preparation.
Aluminum can be scratched and dented, which makes it a questionable choice for high traffic areas. The surface may also become pitted. Some surface imperfections can be repaired easily, but if the plank has to be replaced, it can be difficult to match the colors because the color fades over time. The answer is to remove a plank from a less visible part of the house and put the new plank in its place. Use the older plank for the repair on the more visible part of the house.
Here’s our comparison of aluminum vs vinyl siding.
How Long Does Fiber Cement Siding Last?
25 – 40 – Medium Maintenance
While fiber cement planks are more durable than wood, they do require some maintenance. Unlike cedar and other wood, it is termite and water resistant, flame-resistant and non-combustible.
Warranties against defects on fiber cement products usually run between 25 and 50 years. Some products offer a limited lifetime warranty and allow the transfer of the warranty when you sell the house to a new owner.
The color of fiber cement will fade over time, so it may need to be painted every 5 to 15 years to maintain the look, depending on the harshness of your climate. The factory finish typically has a 15 year warranty that covers fading and flaking.
Once your fiber cement siding is installed and sealed, it requires very little maintenance. Wash it off every year with a garden hose, check the caulk every few years and keep plants near the foundation pruned to allow the siding to fully dry out.
When Should You Replace Siding?
Siding is supposed to protect the internal structure of your house, so it should definitely be replaced when it is no longer able to do so. Otherwise, the answer to “How long does siding last?” depends on when it gets “ugly”. Even if it still protects the structure, shabby, brittle, siding with washed-out color can actually devalue your house.
Here’s how to determine if your home needs siding repair or replacement:
Step back to the street and look at the house. If you see significant fading, missing panels, or if damage is visible from the street, it should probably be repaired or replaced.
Do a detailed inspection of your siding. You may see indications of water problems with the presence of mold and mildew. Try to pull the panels off using your bare hands. If you can, or if the panel bends or warps, you need new siding.
Look for holes, dents, and cracks. If more than half of the planks or panels have damage like this, consider a complete siding replacement.
Duration & Durability Can Vary Significantly
Exposure to weather, sunlight and temperature are the primary factors that chip away at the lifespan of siding and depend largely on where you live. The intensity of sunlight is a major factor in the durability of siding as it fades paint, makes vinyl brittle and will dry out wood and make it crack and split. If you live in a part of the country with temperature extremes, you should also expect your siding to degrade more quickly.
Here are a few comments I found around the web from homeowners reporting their personal experience with siding:
“Depends on the grade of the vinyl you purchase. If you get that cheap stuff from the big box stores, don’t expect much out of it. It will crack easily after a few years. But if you get something like Certainteed Monogram siding, I have personally found it to be a very durable product. It is very color-fast too. The siding has been in full sun for 7 years and it is a perfect match to the siding that has been in it’s box all this time. No fade at all.”
“Our last house was beige vinyl sided and looked bad after about 8 years. It faded and developed a chalky appearance. Our current house had Hardiplank and I love it.”
“We put vinyl siding on about 8 years ago and it looks as good now as the day we put it on. It was a higher end vinyl, though.”
“Here in Michigan vinyl must hold up a lot better than other areas. I know specifically of homes that are 12-20 years old and look as good as new.”
What to Read Next
- 8 Siding Options to Choose From
- Types of Vinyl Siding
- Fiber Cement Siding Guide
- Aluminum Siding Guide
- Cedar Siding Guide
Over to You
How long has the siding on your home lasted? What kind of maintenance or repairs have you done? Tell us about your experiences in the comment section.