Vinyl Log Siding - A Low Maintenance, Economical Option
Vinyl log siding is a great choice for the person who loves the rustic look but hates the maintenance that is required with real wood. Real logs and wood log siding are prone to damage from moisture, insects, rodents, and even woodpeckers. Wood must be stained or painted every few years, and any cracks must be filled with sealer or caulk. Neglecting real wood for just a few years can cause damage that is expensive and time-consuming to repair.
Vinyl log cabin siding requires far less maintenance than wood. It costs less to purchase than either real logs or log siding, and is also less expensive to install. Most any company that installs regular vinyl siding can also install vinyl log siding. Vinyl also will not rust like steel siding can, and it is also more resistant to dents. Some of it even comes with a lifetime warranty.
Vinyl can of course be used in new construction, but it can also be installed on an existing structure, over top of what is already there. Most of it comes in single strips, but at least one company manufactures panels that have the contour of three logs in each panel. Most log vinyl siding has a contoured foam underlayment that increases rigidity and impact resistance, as well as providing some measure of insulation and sound absorption.
A home or garage that is built as a stick-frame structure with log-style vinyl siding is much easier to run wiring, plumbing, and ductwork in than a structure that is built from solid timbers. You also don't have the settling issues that you have with real logs. Vinyl will resist mold and mildew much better than most other building materials.
Even though most manufacturers promote vinyl as being maintenance free, this isn't quite the case. While it certainly requires less maintenance than wood, vinyl will still become dirty and dingy looking if it is not washed periodically. You also will need to re-caulk around windows, doors and corners every few years, just like you do with most other building materials.
Vinyl will also fade over time, and will become brittle with age and/or extremely cold weather. If a ten year old panel is punctured or breaks from an impact, it will have to be replaced, and the color of the replacement panel is not likely to match exactly. The general life expectancy of any type of vinyl is roughly twenty to thirty years.
Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of manufacturers to choose from. So far, the only ones I have been able to find are KP Adirondack in Vermont and Timbermill in Oklahoma, but a number of different installers across the country have their products available. If you know of any additional manufacturers, please use my Contact page to let me know about them.
I am actually a little surprised there aren't more companies making log-style vinyl siding. As popular as regular vinyl siding is (at least in my part of the country) because of its low cost, durability, and ease of installation, I would expect vinyl log siding to be more popular than it is. I live near the Smoky Mountains, and there are a huge number of cabins in the area that are primarily vacation rental properties. I would think that log-style vinyl siding would be ideal for a rustic-looking rental property.
Although vinyl log siding is unlikely to be mistaken for real wood up close, it is certainly a viable alternative for someone who wants the rustic look for their home or garage. It requires considerably less maintenance than real logs or wood log siding, and is less expensive than either wood or steel log siding. For more information on other options for a rustic log-style building, take a look at our log garage page. Otherwise, vinyl log siding is a great way to get that rustic look without having to deal with the expense or maintenance issues of a home or garage made from solid timbers or wood log siding.
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