The history of vinyl siding begins with the history of home building. At first people just lived in caves. Then they wanted more cave room. So they ventured out into the forest and thought about cutting down some trees and stacking them one on top of each other. Houses made from trees or logs. If you wanted a big house just cut down some really big trees.
When the first colonist came to America from Europe, they had already developed home building skills from hundreds of years experience. They had learned to make stone houses, log houses, castles and many other types of structures.
The early settlers needed housing quickly they turned to the most common building material in the area, trees. They just chopped the trees down and made log cabins.
The settlers needed to clear the land so they could plant their crops. So cutting down the trees to make houses also created new ground to plant crops. Two problems solved.
As more and more people came, they needed more and more trees. The first log homes used large trees cut down and stacked on top of each other. Vinyl siding professionals would call it crude but it worked very well.
As the settlers used more and more of the trees, they decided that they could saw the trees into planks and get enough planks from just a few trees to build several houses. By sawing trees into long thin boards they could build twice as many houses from the same amount of trees.
Some of the people coming to America were from England where ship building had been around for centuries. Ship builders were very good at using planks of wood nailed to a frame to make strong ships.
So they adapted the ship building techniques to home building. They used boards to make the house frames and then nailed long planks of wood to the frames. It looked like the side of the old wooden sailing ships. This became know as the ship-lap technique. And the nailing of long horizontal boards on houses became known as ‘ship lap’. This became the most common type of exterior cladding for hundreds of years.
As more and more houses were built, some people wanted to do something extra or special to make their house look different from all the others. Cedar siding has been the wood cladding of choice for hundreds of years because of its natural beauty and low maintenance.
It has a high resistance to insects, decay, weather, and is superior to all other woods when it comes to warping.
It has outstanding insulating qualities and is considered to be one of the best thermal insulators of any available woods.
About 50 years ago, wood cladding had become very expensive to buy, and required a lot of maintenance such as painting, and repairing water and insect damage.
Then in the early 1960’s, vinyl came out and quickly replaced its predecessor- wood.
There was such a demand that the manufacturers recreated the many different types of wood cladding such as clapboard, Dutch-Lap and yes even cedar. Today you can get a wide range of different types, colors, and styles. Choices that are almost unlimited in color, textures and styles.
Vinyl siding can be made to look like cedar, pine, or many other types of wood. It can be painted most any color if needed, and is relatively maintenance free, insect repellent, water resistant, will not rot, fade, or splinter. It is adaptable to most any climate and is one of the best methods of weather proofing you home.
And it costs a fraction of what real cedar, and cedar logs would cost. Much easier to install, and you avoid all the staining, sealing, and yearly maintenance required for real wood.