Homebuyers who relocate to the Atlanta metro area from colder climates are often surprised to find that few builders finish their houses’ exteriors with vinyl siding. While the colorful outside option has a loyal following in other parts of the country, the South has been slower to follow suit.
And for years, there’s been one good reason: the sun. The scorching light has been known to fade vinyl hues, particularly if the colors are dark. But technological advancements in production have addressed that issue, says Dan Parks, a senior product manager for Ply Gem, an exterior building products firm based in Kansas City with plants around the country.
“Mission One for us has been the fade issue,” he said. “That made Mission Two to protect the darker colors coming into vogue against distortion. We now have no-fade and no-distortion warranties.”
Those upgraded vinyl options are priced a bit higher than the standard siding, but since Ply Gem brought them into the market in April 2015, they’ve become among the company’s fastest-growing products.
“The market has embraced it,” said Parks. “With modern materials, we’re designing polymers by color groups, and a lot of the systems we use today are much more advanced than they used to be. For instance, a darker brown needs a certain polymer to make that color last a long time, and we can do that. We’ve gotten to that level of sophistication.”
Homebuyers and remodelers will find about 40 color options in vinyl now, from basic whites and tans to deep blues and grays. While many Southern markets still lean toward lighter shades, Parks said the trend toward dark colors is picking up in areas such as Charlotte and Nashville where builders are mixing vinyl into the exterior profile of their houses.
“We’ve spent a lot of time with architects and designers to see what people want,” Parks said. “You’ll now find vinyl is in a mix of different profiles, styles and textures. It’s not on just the front but all around and mixed with other materials like board and batten.”
Having a broader color palette makes vinyl even more attractive, given its reputation for durability and longevity. Most products boast lifetime warranties and are easy to maintain.
“From a value standpoint, there’s a lot of performance at an economical price,” said Parks. “Compare the cost to having to repaint a house, which can cost several thousand dollars every several years. We’ve been a bit surprised by research that shows a fair number of consumers do not want to paint.”
Though vinyl is a material that’s existed for decades, it’s improved drastically enough that more buyers are giving it a second look, said Parks. “Even though it may seem like an old product line, it’s advanced immensely. It has a lot to offer, and it still sells surprisingly well,” he said. “We’ve made it our job to use the best types of polymers and the science of pigments to come up with a modern product that’s been enjoying a renaissance in the last 10 years.”
To help homeowners and buyers envision what their property would look like with vinyl, Ply Gem has created a web page that shows how color options and styles would appear on a photo of a real home. To learn more, go to plygem.com/visualizer.