Vinyl exterior cladding for homes and buildings is the most common choice among American and Canadian property owners. Vinyl has a notorious reputation for being dangerous to human health, which naturally leads to the question if vinyl sidings are risky to use or not.

Vinyl sidings are plastic casings used to weatherproof a building and is an alternative to fiber cement or aluminum sidings. It first came out in the 1950s and over the years has gone through many improvements and changes propelled by its increasing popularity because of easy maintenance and versatility.

The so-called “dark side” of vinyl siding is easily debunked. Here is the updated truth about this material:

Vinyl Sidings are Safe

Even firefighters will attest to the fact that residential fires are rarely caused by vinyl sidings. This material is more than adequately covered by the country’s building codes and has been for many years. The amount of vinyl chloride in the PVC used for vinyl sidings is small and there is no existing credible research that this amount is dangerous to human health. In the first place, the vinyl siding is installed over wood clapboards or shingles.

Vinyl Sidings Don’t Burn Easily

Vinyl sidings don’t catch fire easily and is tougher to ignite than many other building materials because of the PVC which has a flame retardant in its chlorine base. It will ignite from another flame only at 730 degrees Fahrenheit but will only self-ignite at 850 degrees Fahrenheit.  In comparison, wood burns at 500 degrees Fahrenheit and self-ignites at 770 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once it starts burning, it will spread slowly. To continue burning on its own, there would have to be unusually high amount of oxygen because the PVC has a high limiting oxygen index. This means that without the high amounts of oxygen, vinyl sidings will extinguish easily.

The National Fire Protection Association has determined that vinyl sidings rarely start fires. About 98% of residential fires start from the inside – usually from the kitchen, living room, or bedroom. Plus, with usual quick response to fire, about 69% of indoor fire is isolated in the room of origin.

Finally, under the updated 2015 International Building Code, vinyl sidings can be certified and safe to use, provided you get it from an approved quality-control company like Castle Impact Windows, that adheres to industry standards as well as state and local regulations.