When it comes to pole barns (or more appropriately post frame buildings) most people’s first thought is they are going to have steel siding. There are numerous alternatives to steel siding, amongst them being vinyl.
According to data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction (SOC), vinyl (including vinyl-covered aluminum) was the most common principal siding material on new single-family homes started in 2015 (27 percent), followed by stucco (25 percent), brick or brick veneer (22 percent each), and fiber cement siding (such as Hardiplank or Hardiboard) (19 percent). Wood or wood products accounted for 5 percent and stone, rock or other stone materials accounted for only 2 percent.
Vinyl does come with its own set of challenges, one or more of which may cause a second look at steel siding. These include:
While it’s true vinyl siding has come a long way from when it was first introduced, coming in a range of different colors and styles, the fact remains it is still a plastic product, and looks it. Vinyl does not have the same look and texture of real wood, even from a distance. Because it’s molded, you can usually see the areas where it bends or overlaps the next board pretty clearly, which can detract from the curb appeal. Worst still, it’s not as low-maintenance as it seems, and over time can develop cracks and holes which will make your new pole building look rundown.
You want to ensure whatever you put in or on your post frame building will be good for you and for the environment. While some vinyl siding manufacturers do use some recycled material, most vinyl is not considered a green or sustainable product. Worse still, if you ever need to replace your siding, there are very few places which will accept vinyl siding for recycling, meaning the plastic will end up in a landfill, contaminating its surroundings as it eventually breaks down.
While it’s true vinyl doesn’t peel or chip, it does warp in hot temperatures. Therefore, installing vinyl siding on a post frame building which sees hot summers is not the best idea, as it will lead to the siding changing shape and appearing to melt right off after a few years. And while you can replace those areas which have warped, the same issue will continue to happen again and again. This can be an issue in desert areas where trees and other cover may not grow well and the summer temperatures get up high enough to melt your siding.
Vinyl siding has other issues in cold climates as well. When the vinyl gets cold enough, any impact against it will cause it to fracture or crack. Some of these cracks may not be noticeable unless you get up close, but others may result in large pieces of the siding coming away in the form of a hole. This in turn allows moisture to infiltrate through the siding, which can lead to issues such as wood rot, mold, and mildew beneath the siding where it will be hidden from view until it’s too late.
Vinyl siding is also a non-insulating material. With energy bills continuously on the rise, more post frame building owners are looking for materials which can help hold onto the interior temperatures, while keeping out the cold or hot air outside. Vinyl is not only a non-insulating material, things like rigid foam backing, which can help insulate your post frame building, can be difficult to use with it. This in turn causes other problems, such as moisture build up, and the need to install a rainscreen. While it is possible to install vinyl so it insulates, the added work and material often ends up making this siding prohibitively expensive.
Vinyl siding is itself water resistant, and when it’s installed without backing, it can act as a natural rainscreen, allowing water to drain out from behind it. Unfortunately, many people install it with a foam backing, which then ends up trapping the moisture behind the siding, where it has no place to go. Because the vinyl itself is unaffected, you may not notice water infiltration or the issues it causes – rot, mold, and mildew – until it’s too late.
For tips and tricks on installing vinyl siding, read more at: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/09/vinyl-siding-installation-tips/