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Insulated Vinyl Siding and Molding Installation

Updated on December 31, 2011

Insulated Vinyl Siding And Molding Is Green And A Good Energy Saver

Insulated Siding

The world of insulated vinyl siding has come a long way since the product was initially rolled out into the marketplace during the 1990s. At that time the rigid foam backing attached to vinyl siding was crude and relatively expensive, but improvements in production methods have reduced the siding prices and improved the insulation factor (R-value) to a point where it does not just make sense for the rich anymore. Incorporating insulated vinyl siding in new house construction or a home improvement project on an existing property can be a great investment in improving the comfort and energy expense of a home. Green building initiatives in various cities have taken a liking to the category of vinyl siding that includes insulation.

One of the most popular insulating materials for vinyl siding product is a layer of expanded polystrene foam (EPS) with an R-value of 2.5 to 3 which allows the manufacturers to offer much better energy efficiency than a bare vinyl application. "R-value" is a construction industry term used to denote the thermal resistance for products used in building projects. Like bundling up to go out into a cold winter day the same idea can be applied to your home. While that R-value alone is not much when combined with other building insulation it can amplify the effect leading to benefits such as thermal comfort, soundproofing, and of course lower energy costs. Proper construction methods and the use of conventional fiberglass insulation, foil, foam, or blown-in insulation as well as house wrap, insulated windows, doors, and roofing can all contribute to this tiered approach of energy saving.

So now that you know that you want insulated siding, what are the differences in the various products as compared to traditional vinyl siding? For one, early products had just a basic slab of foam that was adhered to the back of the siding. Newer innovations have seen the use of molded foam like in the Craneboard® Solid Core Siding® by the Exterior Portfolio company. The advantages here are that the molding allows for the incorporation of channels for air and drainage. This improves circulation by allowing for the removal of water as condensation and improves the life span by better mold resistance and distortion resistance.

Of course one thing many homeowners are looking for is the appearance of a natural wood exterior and improvements in materials has created a category of vinyl insulated molding that is not only as rigid as standard boards, but is virtually indistinguishable from its natural counterpart unless one actually goes up and touches the side of the house. Insulated steel siding such as the Thermal-Pro® from the Rollex company provides another beautiful alternative if a homeowner decides that vinyl is not the choice for them but still wants to incorporate a nice insulated siding into the picture.

However, EPS-backed vinyl provides even further benefits in the area of impact resistance. Where fiber cement and traditional vinyl siding can easily attract chips or dents respectively, the polystyrene foam backing provides support to absorb the blow. Whether it is a child playing outside and impacting the house or a hail storm from the heavens the house has a much better chance of weathering the storm. In fact, the wind resistance measurements on some of these products is impressive. See if an old school vinyl installation can withstand wind gusts of up to 150 miles per hour. Furthermore, the foam backing of insulated siding can be worked into the natural contour of the exterior of the building to which it is being applied. This leads to a straighter and more natural looking finish after installation. and of course this is all almost maintenance-free.

A builder who decides to implement this into a construction projects where meeting an energy code or ordinance is important should look to products that have been certified to meet the various requirements. There are plent of these in the insulated siding industry. The EPA has included the product in its checklist for earning the Energy Star label. So it is certainly a viable choice in that respect.

Ultimately, it probably comes down to a matter of aesthetics. Some people like brick and the strength provided there but if you are not going the route of brick or you are updating old construction then insulated vinyl siding should be very high on the list of choices. There are simply so many advantages with this constantly improving product and the prices are manageable and some companies are offering fantastic warranties such as a life of the home warranty so a little shopping around can help determine the current best solutions. The ability to become more eco-friendly and get a great looking exterior at the same time is an opportunity that should be commended. Insulated vinyl siding will leave you with a home you can be proud of.


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