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How Vinyl Siding is Made in Maine

Since the 1950s, when it was introduced to the world of siding, vinyl has become the material of choice. The industry has undergone a lot of change during the past 60 years, adjusting the composition, manufacture, and regulations of vinyl siding. Today, most consumers only see the final product being cut, sized, and nailed to their house's exterior, but it goes through a fascinating process before finally arriving at your home.

Raw Materials used in making Vinyl Siding

There are quite a few chemicals and other substances that go into the manufacture of siding. Vinyl is made from PVC, a plastic that is inexpensive and becomes flexible when combined with other chemicals. This raw material is then combined with other substances. These substances both strengthen the final product and enhance its color retention through years of direct sunlight. Titanium dioxide is the main color preservative, and limestone added to the mix helps reinforce the final product.

How Vinyl Siding and other products are Made

These components are mixed together in two separate batches-one with PVC and titanium dioxide, and one with PVC and limestone (plus a few other substances that help everything hold together firmly) that will eventually become an entire section of siding. Vinyl siding's exterior layer comes from the batch with titanium dioxide, which workers squeeze through an extruder machine to achieve the desired shape and texture. They do the same with the interior layer, then bind the two layers together and allow the finished siding to harden.

Manufacturing Issues with Vinyl Siding

One of the main problems that siding makers confronted during its development was the discovery that cancer-causing chemicals appeared during the process of mixing PVC with the other materials. To protect workers from these chemicals, manufacturers modified their processes so that all of the mixing took place in tightly sealed containers.

Another issue is that it is difficult to recycle siding. Vinyl siding is only recyclable when it is brand new, left over from building jobs. Once it has been on a house for years, recycling centers refuse to accept it for processing.

Differences in Siding Styles and Colors

All vinyl siding is certainly not the same, and manufacturers differ widely on the kinds and qualities of raw materials they use in their products, as well as the processes they use to make them. It seems that the most important feature of siding that affects its quality is the level of UV protection that it offers. Since UV rays break down the PVC over time, they weaken siding and make it more likely that it will crack when the weather is cold or it is struck by weather or impact.

Because of its affordability, durability, and other advantages over other types of siding, vinyl has become the clear leader in the U.S. home building industry. While it has come a long way since its invention in the 1950s, the makers of vinyl siding are still looking to improve it, primarily in the areas of reducing flammability and making it more recyclable. However, it is one of the "greenest" exterior coverings available, since it requires no paint or other materials once it is installed.




Read a related article on Metal Roofing or fill out our Free Vinyl Siding Estimate Form, online!

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