Winyl siding, pro and con

Q. What are the arguments for and against vinyl siding? M. Kass Long Beach, N.Y.

A. Siding comes in vinyl, aluminum, steel, wood, and maybe even other materials as well. Each has its own virtues and limitations.

Sidings vary in cost, availability, colors, configuration, insulation capability, ease of installation, aesthetic appeal, and style. Since what may be dandy for an owner in New York might be a drag for someone else in Phoenix --sion may rest more in judgment and opinion than in arguing for one or another.

If it were my decision to make, I'd call in two or three experienced subcontractors, each handling his favorite material. I'd compare cost, availability, colors, configuration, insulation capacity, ease of installation, aesthetic appeal, and style.

Armed with competitive facts, I'd select the siding material that best suited my circumstances.

Don't hesitate to ask some tough questions of competing contractors as well as manufacturers. Then you can ask for written proposals from several companies. Compare contracts, word for word; guarantees; and, of course, costs.

Find out how long a firm has been in business, verify its financial soundness , and get some idea of its potential strength 10 or 15 years from now.

As in everything else, individual taste governs the choice in siding.

* The arguments for vinyl siding are these: It comes in both vertical and horizontal units, at least two widths, and six or more colors. It is low in upkeep and cannot peel, blister, flake, or rot. It doesn't show scratches or ever need painting. Also, it is of no interest to termites or insects.

Vinyl siding is flexible and easy to handle and is available with acoustic and thermal underlayments. It will not split, warp, or corrode, and will not conduct electricity.

* The arguments against vinyl siding lie mostly in its local availability and labor charges, the frequency of nearby usage, distance from source, and its cost compared with other siding materials.

One source is Bird & Son Inc., Washington Street, East Walpole, Mass. 02032, but there are others.

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