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Vinyl Siding

A Guide to Energy-Efficient Vinyl Siding

7 min read

Whether you’re looking to increase your home’s curb appeal or you want to increase your home’s energy efficiency with eco-friendly products, updating your siding is a great solution to achieve both!

If it’s time to replace the siding on your home, you have several options. Our Window World experts are breaking it all down and discussing the types of siding available, the advantages of vinyl siding, and how to choose the most energy-efficient (and stylish) vinyl siding for your home. Keep reading to learn more!

Why Choose Vinyl Siding?

There are quite a few options when it comes to siding for your home: vinyl, wood, aluminum, brick/stone, stucco, and cement are the most common.

These options give your home very different looks, but the differences don’t stop there. They also vary in their insulating properties. A siding’s insulating capability determines how energy-efficient it is, so it’s important to choose a siding that provides enough insulation for your home.

Insulated vinyl siding is among the most energy-efficient options for your home. It’s also low-maintenance and available in a variety of colors and finishes, making it easy to give your home a new look.

What Makes Vinyl Siding Energy-Efficient?

In the home improvement industry, we use a material R-value, which measures how effective an insulating material is at resisting heat flow. Most building codes require that the total R-value home’s walls, including insulation, have a total R-value of 13. This means each building material that goes into the construction of your walls, from the drywall to interior insulation to siding, has a different R-value and they should all add up to 13. The lower your siding’s R-value, the higher the R-value of the other materials needs to be to reach 13.

Here’s a look at the approximate R-value of each of the most popular siding options:

Stone Veneer (1 inch thick) .11
Cement .37
Stucco (2 inches thick) .40
Brick .44
Non-Insulated Aluminum/Steel .61
Beveled Wood Siding .87
Insulated Vinyl ≤ (up to) 4

With an R-value of up to 4, insulated vinyl siding is by far the most energy-efficient option.

It’s also among the most durable options. Unlike wood siding, vinyl doesn’t rot or swell, and it isn’t susceptible to pests like termites. And unlike metal options, it won’t rust, corrode, or get dented. Vinyl siding also offers superior weather resistance. From hurricanes to hail, harsh UV rays to ice storms, vinyl siding can handle it all. That’s why Window World is proud to offer homeowners a variety of durable vinyl siding options!

But the thing homeowners appreciate most is the fact that it’s a low-maintenance option. You’ll never have to repaint or stain it, and all it takes to clean it is a good rinse with a garden hose or pressure washer. The lifespan is also tough to beat: most vinyl siding lasts 20-25 years before it needs to be replaced!

What to Look for in Energy-Efficient Vinyl Siding

Not all vinyl siding is created equally. Some options are inexpensive because they don’t provide the protection and energy-saving benefits of their more expensive counterparts. To avoid paying for siding that doesn’t deliver, here are a few things to consider.

Energy Efficiency & Insulation

We’ve established that insulated vinyl siding is the most energy-efficient, but let’s look at why. Insulated siding helps prevent thermal transfer (heat loss and gain). This allows your HVAC system to work more efficiently—keeping your home temperatures consistent year-round which translates to savings on your energy bills each month.

The most energy-efficient insulation will be contoured to both your home’s walls and the siding itself. This ensures every nook and cranny is insulated, maximizing both energy efficiency, comfort and utility savings.

When you choose Window World, our experts will help you determine the level of insulation you need. Homes in areas that have harsh winters or brutally hot summers should opt for thicker insulation, while homes in moderate climates can stay comfortable with a little less insulation. At Window World, we offer vinyl siding with insulation up to 1.5” thick. This is plenty for Connecticut!

home with vinyl siding 4000 series reinforced finish

Aesthetics

Since you can’t paint vinyl siding, it’s important to find a look that you truly love. Vinyl Siding comes in a variety of colors, styles, and textures, each of which can transform the look and feel of your home. Window World vinyl siding is available in over two dozen modern colors, with accents to match. We also offer clapboard and Dutch lap styles with oak, cedar, or matte finishes.

Style

Vinyl siding can mimic the look of painted wood, without any of the upkeep wood requires. For a traditional look, choose clapboard style siding with oak or cedar finish. If your style is more modern, you’ll probably love dutch lap siding. You can even choose shakes to give your home a coastal feel or scallops for the classic Queen Anne look.

Panel Length

Another thing to consider when it comes to aesthetics is the panel length. Traditional siding panels are around 12’ long. This means you may end up with several seams where two panels meet, interrupting the smooth lines of the siding. If this is a concern for you, ask your Window World expert about longer panels, such as 16’ or 20’. Depending on the length of your home’s walls, longer panels can dramatically reduce, or even eliminate, the number of seams.

Durability & Weather Resistance

Since siding is exposed to all of the elements, it’s important that it’s durable. While vinyl siding is naturally durable, there are some things to look for to ensure your siding will last through anything nature throws at it. From extreme temperatures and heavy rain to ice and hail, your siding should be able to withstand it all.

Homeowners that live in hurricane-prone areas should look for vinyl siding with very high wind resistance, like Window World’s 4000 Series Reinforced siding.

Double-Hem Nailing

During your vinyl siding shopping process, be sure to look for siding with a double-hem nailing to ensure the panels are securely attached to the sheathing. This type of hem, visible in the photo below, also ensures the panels fit together securely enough to keep wind and rain out. This is especially important in areas that experience hurricanes or tornadoes. Low-quality or poorly installed siding can have gaps that allow heavy winds to get under the panels. If the wind is strong enough or the gap is left long enough, it may pull the panel right off of your home!

A tight seal is also important because if moisture gets past your siding and into the insulation, it can cause rotting. You may not realize anything is wrong until it’s too late because everything will look fine from the outside.

vinyl siding 4000 series reinforced finish

UV-Resistance

You’ll also want to make sure the siding you choose has UV protection to avoid fading. Some siding has UV-resistant coatings while others may have UV-resistance baked in with the color. Either one will provide the protection you need.

Maintenance

Vinyl siding is among the most low-maintenance options on the market, but it’s still important to understand the maintenance that will be involved. Most vinyl siding, including all Window World Vinyl Siding, simply requires a thorough rinse with a garden hose or a good pressure washing once or twice a year. (Before pressure washing, be sure you check the manufacturer’s instructions to see the recommended PSI for your siding.)

It’s also a good idea to look at any trees and shrubbery near your home. If a branch were to fall, would it scrape your siding? Do you have shrubs around your home that could scratch it if they went untrimmed? It’s best to address these issues before installing your new siding so maintenance is easier in the long run.

An Experienced Installer

Even the most energy-efficient vinyl siding won’t live up to expectations if it’s not installed properly. Unless you are an experienced professional yourself, installing insulated siding isn’t a DIY project. And not all contractors who say they’re experienced are really up to par. Be sure you thoroughly vet your installer so you know they’ll do the job right the first time.

At Window World, our installers are factory trained and have the experience to install your vinyl siding properly. We thoroughly review the siding before installation, remove and discard of old siding, and install the insulation and new siding. We’re happy to answer any questions during any step of the process and will review the finished product with you to ensure you’re happy with the results. And if there’s ever an issue with the workmanship, it’s covered by our lifetime warranty.

window world employee

Make Window World Your First Choice for Vinyl Siding

At Window World of  Connecticut, we have a variety of energy-efficient vinyl siding options for every home and budget. During your consultation, your Window World representative will help you determine which style and insulation level best suits your needs and budget. The color and accents are up to you!

Get started by scheduling your free estimate today!