By Matt Gallo
Vinyl siding has long been one of the most popular home exterior products in the United States. It’s durable, low-maintenance, affordable, and beautiful. However, vinyl provides little to no additional insulation for your home (some R-value estimates are as high as 1 but many are as low as 0.15). That’s what makes the new insulated vinyl siding so attractive-it’s vinyl with the added benefit of thermal insulation, a win-win for many homeowners.
Insulated vinyl siding is a solid-core home exterior product. First introduced by Crane Plastics in 2001, insulated vinyl is now available from any number of manufacturers. This new type of vinyl siding takes a great product and makes it even better. You get the low maintenance, durability, and great looks of traditional vinyl, plus a whole lot more.
Greater Energy Efficiency
Insulated vinyl siding is an easy and effective way to increase your home’s energy efficiency and reduce energy costs. While traditional vinyl has an R-value of somewhere under 1, insulated vinyl has an R-value between 4 and 5.3. And, of course, the higher the R-value the greater the insulating properties and the more energy you save. Just imagine how much money you’d save if your home had 4 times as much insulation-that’s exactly what happens with insulated vinyl siding installation.
Looks and Feels More Like Wood Siding
Even the best constructed homes aren’t perfectly smooth on the outside; this isn’t a problem for the structure, but it does cause a distinctive bow or bend in flexible traditional vinyl. With insulated vinyl, the siding is stiffer, meaning that the bumps and bends in the outside of the house are less likely to cause this unsightly bowing. Additionally, because the vinyl is filled with insulation, insulated vinyl siding doesn’t have the typical “squish” of traditional vinyl; if you’ve ever leaned up against a house with vinyl siding, you’re familiar with its give. Contrarily, insulated vinyl is unyielding, a feel similar to wood-siding. Ultimately, insulated vinyl looks and feels more like wood siding because it has a similar inflexibility and firmness, unlike the extremely flexible characteristics of traditional vinyl.
One of the flaws of traditional vinyl has been its vulnerability to impact damage; especially at colder temperatures, storm debris (hail, branches, etc.), golf balls, and baseballs have been known to cause serious damage. However, the rigidity of insulated vinyl siding makes it much stronger, reducing its susceptibility to this type of problem. In fact, some brands claim up to 300% more impact resistant.
Finally, insulated vinyl siding cuts down on the noise that enters your home from the outside. The thermal insulation designed to make your home energy efficient has the fringe benefit of making it more acoustically insulated by keeping road noise, loud conversations, and other sounds out of your home. This is a great advantage over traditional vinyl, especially if you live near a busy road, intersection, or even a park or school.