Insulated Siding: Is It Worth It?
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:
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.
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.
Insulated Vinyl Siding Improves the Look and Feel of a Property
While looks take second place to efficiency in home improvement projects, insulating your vinyl siding will do more than keep things comfortable. While vinyl siding is durable on its own, it can be considered hollow without the support added by insulation. Because there is space between the siding and structure, siding can be at greater risk of denting if impacted hard enough. The panels can even be subject to rattling in high winds.
Insulation eliminates any extra space behind the siding panels, which improves their resistance and keeps them in place. Lastly, the reason homeowners add insulation is to retain warm and cold air. For full transparency, insulated vinyl siding’s main role is more for the reinforcement of existing panels than it is for reducing thermal bridging (the escape of warm air through uninsulated layers).
The added R-value is minimal, estimated to be about a 2 to a 2.7. The R-value is the score of how effective materials are at resisting the loss of heat.
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. The seams between panels can start to rattle in the wind as well. All of these disadvantages are significantly reduced or prevented with insulated vinyl.
Insulated vinyl siding bridges over contours in the wall structure. This 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 depend on the precision of installation in order to eliminate holes in the insulation backing. Added thermal performance, along with the improved appearance and overall feel are examples of a few benefits. Improper installation can hurt the insulation value and the overall look of the final product.
Insulated vinyl siding that isn’t installed properly may eliminate any of the benefits. If you’re going to spend the money, make sure that it looks its best and is fully functional.
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