Vinyl/PVC Containing Products

I have had some concerns about the extensive use of Vinyl/PVC containing products in various building materials. Vinyl gutters may be easy to install but tend not to last. Vinyl siding is not as "fool proof" as its marketing suggests.

My real concerns with the vinyl/PVC containing products has to do with the toxicity of the products and the dangers during the manufacture and disposel stages. Philip Dickey of the Washington Toxics Coalition has now written a very informative piece about the subject - Vinyl Exam: Eliminating PVC in your home (PDF). He is the expert!

I agree with most of the recommendations for alternative products but would add the following comments:

  • For water supply lines, I am a fan of copper. Yes it is more expensive to install but lasts much longer and has far fewer problems than any alternative.
  • In over 25 years of work in this field, I have not run across ABS waste line problems. I have seen some articles on the subject but must conclude that the problems with ABS are very few.
  • I love wood windows but the good ones are much more expensive than vinyl. I wish that I had a good alternative for "builder basic" windows. My findings are that vinyl windows are the least expensive window product that has good temperature and sound insulation qualities. They are also quite trouble free.

My thanks to Philip for another great job and a very useful document. -George

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