The only real benefit of vinyl siding is that it’s cheap. The trouble is that it also looks cheap. This brings us to the second problem with vinyl siding on old houses.
When viewed from any closer than the curbside, vinyl siding has a flimsy, sterile look. In reality though, we don’t just experience our houses from the curbside. We experience our homes up close, every day, and we enjoy the details that make them special, and very different from new houses. It’s hard to put your finger on what attracts some of us emotionally to an old house, but too many old house owners find out too late that their decision to vinyl side has unwittingly destroyed a big part of what attracts them to their old house. Visit a historic district that does not allow fake siding and you’ll quickly understand the difference it makes. Then go take a good, close look at houses that have already suffered the installation of vinyl siding. The more you look, the clearer it is that visually, it makes an incredibly big difference.
The first impulse of people new to restoration and old house living is often to attempt to turn back the hands of time in order to achieve a state of perfection that, if it ever existed at all, was probably very short lived. Old houses are made of real, natural materials, and, like their owners, they age. People who appreciate and understand old houses, however, develop an often hard to describe attraction and attachment to these signs of venerability. Among the words old house owners commonly use to describe this feeling are patina, character, charm, and ambiance. But one word that is seldom used to describe their old house, or their restoration efforts, is perfection. In addition to the special connected feeling they give us, a big part of the attraction of old houses is their appearance and sense of age. If we want perfection, there are thousands of new home developments trying hard to create the illusion.