Vinyl Siding vs. Stucco Cost and Pros and Cons in 2017

The #1 siding material versus the #2 siding material in America. Think you know which is #1 already? Don’t be so quick with that guess.

Comparing Stucco and Vinyl – Top Factors

While both siding materials offer great variation of styles and profiles, each has two primary applications. For vinyl that includes hollow-back (non-insulated) and foam-back (insulated) siding. Likewise, for stucco, it is usually applied in a single coat (less insulation) or in three coats (greater insulation).

Cost Factor

Cost is generally a determining factor for most homeowners. Insulated vinyl siding is more expensive (at $5.00 to $10.00 per sq. ft. installed) than non-insulated (at $3.50 to $7.00 per sq. ft. installed). Yet, the high-end insulated vinyl costs about the same as the low end of Stucco (at $6.00 to $10.00 per sq. ft. installed). Stucco, on average, goes as high as $14.00 per sq. ft. installed. Being more budget-friendly is a significant reason why vinyl is such a popular siding option.

Durability Factor

Durability is the measure of how tough the siding material is and how well it will hold up over time. Both materials score well. With vinyl, the thickness of the siding matters significantly. — This doesn’t include foam-back, but rather it is about the thickness of material itself. The mid-range options are .042 to .046 inches, while top of the line is .055 or higher. Compare this to a single coat of stucco which hovers around a half inch, or about 10 times the thickness of vinyl. 😉

Both materials are fairly tough. Vinyl can withstand wind speeds up to 110 mph, while Stucco can handle wind gusts up to 130 mph. Vinyl gets mixed results on resistance to hail damage. Obviously, thicker siding means more resistance, but even top of the line is susceptible to some damage. Stucco offers better impact resistance, though large enough pieces of hail or other materials could lead to cracks.

Assuming proper installation and avoidance of disasters, both materials will last more than 50 years. With care, vinyl last between 40 and 75 years before needing replacement. Stucco can go 60 to 100 years before it needs replacing, thus making if the more durable option.

Insulation Factor

Comparing the less insulated versions of either is not all that fair, though surprisingly vinyl would win. Stucco gets .20 per inch R-value, or the standard for measuring insulation. The single coat, half inch is going to be fairly low, while hollow-back vinyl comes in around .60.

The triple coat of stucco raises the R-value to, at most .75. While that is decent, it is not even in the same ball park as the 1.75 R-value that foam-back vinyl achieves. 😉

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How to Clean Vinyl or Fiber Cement Siding – Costs – Maintaining New Siding

Wouldn’t it be great if you’re new vinyl or fiber cement siding could stay new forever? Well, with proper maintenance and regular cleaning, it sure can look that way.

The Problem

Getting dirty, that’s the problem. Okay, that’s a bit simplistic. The elements that lead to dirty siding, be it vinyl or fiber cement, are numerous. It also depends on what’s on your property or type of work you may do on your property near your home. The common notable problems are:

  • dirt and yard debris blowing or splashing onto the siding
  • pollen floating in the wind and sticking to your siding
  • bird or critter droppings
  • spider webs
  • mildew
  • and all sorts of chemicals that may result from work done near or around your house

Addressing the Problem – The Basics

Let’s assume you care enough to maintain your siding on an annual basis. Depending on where you live, twice a year would be ideal. Either way, the steps are about the same. It’s as simple as:

1. Inspect the siding – walk around the home, get a feel for what areas need special attention, make note of that. If it’s been awhile since you’re last cleaning, don’t skip this step.

2. Devise a plan of action – Here’s where Fixing the Problem(s) noted below comes in. A basic cleaning is just that and if that’s all that your siding needs, then you can skip this step. But if there are troubled spots, then take time to decide how you’ll tackle things. Also take a few moments to determine what on your property could use covering up, such as nearby flower beds or gardens and any brick or stone siding you might have in addition to your vinyl / fiber cement siding.

3. Get ‘er done – Execute the plan. The basic cleaning involves removing what you can with a brush, then sudsing everything up, followed by a thorough rinsing and a final wiping. Sometimes though, more is needed.

Fixing the Problem – Beyond the Basics

The materials for any cleaning are fairly simple. This includes

  • a brush of some sort (they make siding brushes)
  • cleaning solution
  • water (of course)
  • ladder(s)
  • cloths (plural) – one for cleaning with the solution, and one, or ten for wiping it dry
  • plastic drop cloths and tape to seal off anything you don’t want to get wet and sprayed with cleaning solution
  • optionally a pressure washer to apply water and cleaning solution. Note though that misusing a pressure washer by applying too much pressure could void warranties for your siding.

via Yawata Company

The cleaning solution is obviously the key to bringing out the color of your siding and restoring it to a like-new condition. The simplest solution is a mixture of 70% water and 30% vinegar. This works for both vinyl and fiber cement.

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