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Insulated Siding: Is It Worth It?

Insulated Siding

Insulated vinyl siding is standard vinyl siding backed with solid rigid-foam insulation. By filling the voids behind the siding’s profile, the insulation makes the whole material stiffer and more resistant to bending and movement than regular vinyl siding. The insulation can also add some R-value to the siding. These features make insulated vinyl seem like an easy upgrade to regular vinyl, but with insulated vinyl also comes a significant cost increase, and many homeowners are wondering if the price is worth it.

While the initial cost can be higher for insulated vinyl siding, there are many benefits of the added insulation, such as better:

Energy Efficiency 

Adding insulated vinyl siding is like wrapping your whole house in a warm blanket, which means it keeps hot air inside during winter and outside during summer. This reduces the burden on an HVAC system to keep comfortable interior temperatures all year round, which can help lower your monthly energy consumption costs.

Appearance 

Insulated vinyl siding features contoured foam that supports the siding panel and gives sharp profile lines. Since the foam levels the wall under the siding, the imperfections that can happen when homes start to settle and walls start to shift over time can be hidden.

Siding Strength

Foam insulation protects insulated vinyl siding from impact. In contrast, non-insulated vinyl siding leaves a hole between the siding and the wall, allowing the panel to be vulnerable to impact damages, such as those from rocks, baseballs, and other projectiles.

Since insulated vinyl siding can help you save significantly on heating and cooling costs and is also impact-resistant, minimizing the amount you will spend on repairs, insulated siding can definitely be worth the initial investment.

Some of the other benefits are that the insulation strengthens the siding, so it feels harder and more solid. Uninsulated vinyl is also called “hollow vinyl,” referring to the hollow spaces behind the vinyl layer. The material is also pretty flexible and easily adjusts to any waves in a wall. 

Standard vinyl can also press in easily when pushed on, and the seams between panels can start to rattle in the wind. All of these disadvantages are significantly reduced or prevented with insulated vinyl.

Insulated vinyl siding bridges over contours in the wall structure, which gives the siding and other edging materials a solidity that standard vinyl just doesn’t have.

Disadvantages of Insulated Vinyl Siding

The main disadvantage of insulated vinyl is its relatively high price. Adding insulation can raise the cost of the siding by 20% to 50%. The procedure is similar to a standard vinyl installation, so the labor costs shouldn’t be much higher with insulated vinyl. 

However, it’s important to choose a contractor who is experienced with such siding. The benefits of insulated vinyl—such as the added thermal performance, along with the improved appearance and overall feel—depend on the precision of installation in order to eliminate holes in the insulation backing. Improper installation can hurt the insulation value and the overall look of the final product.

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