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Consumer Reports tests to find best vinyl siding

New siding can boost your homes curb appeal and protect your home from damage caused by moisture and insects.

We’ve spent a lot of time inside our homes over the past year but maybe now it’s time to think about the outside. If you’re in the market for vinyl siding, Consumer Reports reveals the results of its rigorous tests against wind, weather and other obstacles nature can throw your home’s way.

New siding can boost your home’s curb appeal and protect your home from damage caused by moisture and insects. Compared to wood, vinyl and other siding alternatives are easier to maintain and cost less, too.

While vinyl siding is never going to look exactly like wood, manufacturers are creating new styles and textures for a more wood-like appearance and they’re doing the same with alternative sidings.

Those alternative sidings can cost $200 or more per 100 square feet. Vinyl siding, on the other hand, costs less – starting at about $100 per 100 square feet.

Which ones will stand up to years of weathering? That’s where Consumer Reports’ tests come in.

One tests a siding’s resistance to impact, say from branches and other debris that can hit your home. And because the temperature can affect how a siding performs, the test is done at 70 degrees Fahrenheit and then again at 0 degrees.

Consumer Reports also assesses wind resistance.

For most homes, this top-rated Alside Charter Oak Clapboard Vinyl Siding earned top wind-resistance and warm impact scores and it’s a CR Best Buy at $95 per 100 square feet.

If you’re concerned that in winter your house might get battered by wind-blown branches or heavy objects, you might want to stick with wood or with fiber cement siding.

CR says this recommended alternative siding from CertainTeed costs about three times more than the vinyl; however, it earned top scores for resisting cold-temperature impacts.

Most of the vinyl siding samples Consumer Reports tested in its weathering machine showed a noticeable change in color when compared with new samples after the color change test. The alternative products held their color the best.

For more on the product testing and how each product held up, visit ConsumerReports.com.