Vinyl is a polymer resulting from a chemical process that produces a compound that is tough and durable. Siding made from vinyl was introduced in the late 1950s and now accounts for about half of the siding sold, and about 1/3 of the siding used in new homes. Vinyl siding is most often cheaper than using wood siding, and the price of installing and maintaining vinyl, which does not have to be painted, is almost always cheaper than installing wood.
Vinyl siding is often less expensive, cheaper to install, requires less maintenance (no painting), doesn't warp or twist, is impervious to water and bugs, and can vent moisture. However, it does have some downsides and dangers, it can be noisy, melt and burn. It can fade, chip, and what is from extremes in weather. Vinyl siding on your home should last you from around twenty-five to fifty years.
There is considerable concern regarding the dangers of vinyl siding, particularly its toxicity in a fire. According to The Environmental Magazine, both acid smoke and the carcinogen dioxin are released when vinyl siding burns or melts in a fire. According to firefighters, it is not unusual for people trapped in building fires to travel of chemically toxic fumes before the flames actually reach them, and according to documentary reports, fire departments have refused to allow firefighters to put out house fires with vinyl siding because of the dangers.