The most destructive elements of a home are the sun and moisture. The exterior materials in the home have to be designed and maintained to withstand these destructive forces of nature. We have seen different materials come and go that have been less then satisfactory at standing up to the job. One example is the vinyl windows most of us have in our homes. The older vinyl became brittle when exposed to the sun and often cracked if you touched it. There are thousands of these windows still in homes in the Midwest and most are no longer lockable or effectively stopping the cold winds. Todays vinyl windows are UV protected and last much longer while providing far superior insulating value.
Even wall cladding must be specifically designed to withstand the elements. The majority of the homes from the 1970’s had a hard board siding product such as x-90 installed. These products have stood the test of time but are now breaking down and in some cases rotting the walls of the homes they were intended to protect. Many of these products incorporated plastic splines that were designed to keep them on the walls, these plastics became brittle just as the vinyl windows have. The result is that much of this siding is falling off. Some products held up better then others when they were kept well sealed with paint. If you are considering buying a home or own a home with older windows and siding you need to evaluate their condition closely and determine what if any action may be required to keep the exterior wind and water tight.