01 Jan A Consumers Guide to Vinyl Siding
A Consumers Guide to Vinyl Siding
If you are considering siding for your home or other property, I would like to offer some guidance in your search. With over 40 years of siding under my belt and a willingness to try new materials and installation techniques, I am happy and qualified to do so.
After all, I was happily putting up a lot of aluminum siding when I started out in 1974. And then along came this newfangled vinyl siding…and the rest is history.
So, the first question you have to ask yourself as a homeowner readying to replace your siding – what TYPE of siding is it that you want to use?
If it is vinyl, as is usually the case these days, you will have many choices to filter through.
If you have to be budget conscience, then you will be considering the standard, entry level grade types of clapboard and Dutch lap designed panels. 12 foot panels made .040 or .042 mm thick are the most basic and inexpensive materials made today. But you should know that working with this gauge of material is likely to expose a rushed installation by anyone less than a true “siding applicator”.
If you wish to get an upgrade to the “builders-grade”, you will find .044 mm panels available at a reasonable upcharge. Make no mistake, as you climb the ‘gauge-ladder’, you go up in quality and price. But it should be a reasonable, if not minor, difference in cost at this stage. Moreover, this jump usually includes a beefier locking system, as well as authentic looking woodgrains or totally smooth panels, along with deeper profiles to better emulate thicker wood clapboards.
The next step is to the premium vinyl siding lines, typically .046 mm in material thickness. These panels will often have even more bells and whistles attached in the terms of technical advancements, along with different styles (i.e., southern colonial beaded, vertical chamfer board, insulated/foam-backed, and more), and their most exotic, vibrant, and darkest color options. They are also offered in extended lengths, cutting down on the number of unsightly seams. Since there are a lot of variables just within the .046 mm choice of panels, of course there is a considerable amount of cost difference here. The costliest of the premium lines lies with the insulated vinyl siding clapboards.
Introduced in the 1990’s to overcome a weakness in standard vinyl sidings, they are now offered in an array of colors and profiles. Besides its ability to reduce energy transfer, it also allows for profiles greater than 5” to hold up under the elements. Before insulated sidings, any exposure over 5” would almost always show signs of “oil-canning”, a term used to describe bubbles and waves you sometimes see with vinyl sidings. If you see it with smaller profiles, it is probably due to a faulty installation. But it was almost inevitable even when installed correctly, when manufacturers crossed the line, trying to make wider clapboards. That is why when you look around, the predominate size you see has always been 4” vinyl siding.
This was also a major reasoning in the development of insulated sidings: offering a larger reveal. The demand was such that manufacturers had to find a way to make wider clapboard. With our history of 6 to 8 inch clapboards found across the entire country in different materials, engineers finally came up with a way to make vinyl with a larger exposure and not have it warp in the sun. By fusing the foam to the back of the panels, they added the necessary rigidity to create a large profile without the worries of any cupping or waving. In fact, the first few years it was only made in the wider sizing. Now, it is available in almost every profile made.
Stay tuned, there is so much more to come…like vinyl shake siding!
And ANOTHER newfangled siding that just came out!