Vinyl siding was first introduced to the home improvement market in the early 1960s and steadily grew in popularity because of its durability, ease of maintenance, and beauty. It had a slow start, but in the 70’s its use had doubled. Vinyl siding is manufactured primarily with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a material that gives it impact resistance, rigidity and strength. While it isn’t as impact resistant as steel siding, it is usually preferred over wood siding options.
PVC was first produced in a laboratory in 1872. PVC starts with two simple building blocks: chlorine (57%) from common salt and ethylene (43%) from natural gas. The natural gas utilized to manufacture ethylene is domestically produced, which reduces consumption of imported oil products.
Vinyl siding is manufactured by co-extrusion: two layers of PVC are laid down in a continuous extrusion process. The top layer includes about 10% titanium dioxide, which is a pigment and provides resistance to breakdown from UV light. The lower layer is typically about 15% calcium carbonate, which balances the titanium dioxide to keep both extrusion streams equally fluid during manufacturing. A small quantity of tin or butadiene is added as a stabilizer to chemically tie up any hydrochloric acid that is released into the PVC material as the siding ages. Lubricants are also added to aid in the manufacturing process.
Today, vinyl siding is the number one choice of exterior cladding across the United States and Canada. In fact, U.S. Census Bureau statistics show that more homeowners side their homes with vinyl siding than with any other exterior cladding. Vinyl and other polymeric siding are available in a broad palette of colors, profiles and architectural trim to assist architects, builders and homeowners in customizing their new construction and renovation designs, and can complement historic restoration projects.