Insulated vinyl siding is simply traditional vinyl siding with rigid-foam insulation attached behind it. This foam provides several benefits, including better resistance to warping and increased R-value, a measure of the insulation’s effectiveness.
While we believe that insulated vinyl siding is generally the best choice in most situations, there are certain cases where traditional siding may work better for some homeowners. In this guide, we provide a thorough comparison of insulated siding vs. standard vinyl siding by discussing the affordability, attractiveness, energy savings, ease of installation, durability and resale value of each.
How Much Does Insulated Vinyl Siding and Traditional Vinyl Siding Cost?
The upfront cost of your vinyl siding depends on a number of factors, including the benefits and features you choose. Factors include:
- Your home’s size: The larger the surface area, the more siding required.
- Your home’s location: Siding may cost more in more expensive or remote areas.
- The number of doors and windows: The more openings you have, the more complicated the installation.
- The colors: Darker shades tend to cost more.
- The profiles: Premium profiles cost more than standard ones.
- The time of installation: It costs more to install during certain times of the year.
- The siding currently on your home: Some siding materials cost more to remove than others.
- Damage underneath the siding: Sometimes damage can only be discovered once the original siding has been removed.
- Other additional features: These include weather-resistive barriers as well as those that protect against pests and moisture.
- R-value: Insulated vinyl siding with higher R-values cost more.
- The installation company’s qualifications: The costs of the labor will vary. You should consider a company that is bonded, licensed and insured.
We’ll discuss several of these factors in greater detail below.
Generally speaking, insulated vinyl siding is more expensive than its non-insulated counterpart. The higher price is due to the following factors:
- More material: There is simply more to the product.
- Higher shipping costs: Bulkier items are more costly to ship.
- More complicated installation: Installing insulated vinyl siding often requires more steps.
- More color options: Insulated vinyl siding is available in a variety of high-quality profiles and colors, which are more costly to manufacture.
Fortunately, vinyl siding — whether insulated or not — is the lowest-maintenance siding product available, which significantly lowers its lifetime costs. Whereas wood and fiber cement are good options too, they need to be regularly scraped, caulked and painted. Vinyl needs nothing more than a simple cleaning every now and then, which requires only water, soap and a scrub brush.
It is only insulated vinyl siding, however, that can lower your utility bills, thanks to the energy savings it provides. This makes its lifetime cost even lower than non-insulated vinyl siding. Furthermore, the foam behind insulated siding helps to protect your home from impacts, meaning you’ll likely be spending less on your repairs over the course of the siding’s lifetime.
How Attractive Is Insulated Vs Uninsulated Vinyl Siding?
As the exterior walls of a home greatly influence its curb appeal, replacing your old, dated and worn out siding with a new, modern product will do wonders for the appearance of your home. In the past few years, barn red, navy blue, charcoal and other bold, dark colors have been particularly popular.
Whether you’d like your home to stand out or blend in with the rest your neighborhood, both insulated and non-insulated siding options come in a wide variety of colors and profiles, although there are some differences in how these products look.
Insulated vinyl siding includes contoured foam, which provides the siding panel with added support. This allows companies to manufacture their siding in the rich, dark colors that were once susceptible to damage by high temperatures. It also allows them to make flatter, wider profiles than was ever possible before. The foam allows the profile lines to stay crisp and sharp so that they can closely imitate the look of authentic wood.
The foam also helps level the wall behind the siding. Walls tend to shift and homes settle over time, which leads to imperfections that are visible through thinner siding. This layer of foam in insulated vinyl siding is great at hiding the imperfections in walls.
Foam insulation also helps the siding withstand impacts from balls, rocks and any other object that may damage it. Standard vinyl siding leaves space between the siding and the wall, making the siding less resistant to damage.
By improving the siding’s ability to resist impact damage, it will protect your home and keep it looking beautiful for a long time.
Does Insulated Vinyl Siding Help Insulate?
As the named implies, yes, insulated vinyl helps insulate your house. As a result, insulated vinyl siding will save you more on cooling and heating costs than non-insulated siding.
Even if your walls contain traditional pink fiberglass batt insulation, your home will still experience energy loss due to a phenomenon called thermal bridging, which occurs when a poorly insulated area allows heat to easily flow through a thermal barrier. In homes, the most common source of thermal bridging is wall studs.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, insulation should be installed on a home’s exterior when putting up new siding. If you are suffering from any of the following problems, updating your exterior with insulated vinyl siding may provide a solution:
- Moisture damage: If you’ve been unlucky enough to experience moisture damage in your home, you’re aware of how destructive it is. By installing insulating vinyl siding, your home will benefit from an additional protective layer that will help keep water out. If your home is in a humid region or if you’ve noticed any warning signs of moisture issues, including mold growth on your siding, we recommend that you consider insulated vinyl siding.
- Pest infestations: Pests can lead to a number of serious problems — termites can threaten the structural integrity of your home while bees and wasps can endanger your family’s health. The insulated foam found in insulated vinyl siding contains an insecticide that makes that kills termites. And just as important, this insecticide is 100 percent safe and will not harm your family or pets. Because the foam completely fills up the space between the siding and the wall of your house, there is no room for bees, birds, snakes or other pests to take up residence.
- Outside noise: If you’re regularly distracted by the sounds of your neighbors or a nearby busy highway, you are suffering from noise pollution. Surrounding your home with foam insulation can significantly dampen the sounds that make it into your house. To get an idea of the sound-reducing abilities of foam, place two foam coffee cups over your ears. You’ll be able to hear a great deal less — and keep in mind that the foam on a cup is rather thin. Imagine how effective the 1.5 inches of foam will be around your home.
How Easy Is Insulated Vinyl Siding to Install?
The greater thickness of insulated siding presents a few challenges that homeowners must be aware of before installation, including:
- Required cutting tools: You only need hand snips for non-insulated vinyl siding, but we recommend cutting insulated vinyl siding with a saw. As for the blade, it must be siding-specific or fine-tooth, and you must install it backward so cracking and chipping don’t occur while you’re cutting.
- Trimming out openings: Cutting out openings for doors and windows is perhaps the most complicated aspect of an insulated vinyl siding installation. To accept the siding’s and the foam’s entire thickness, use specialized accessories with bigger receiving pockets. Occasionally you must build out the trim before installing the siding to make room for the insulation.
The process of installing regular vinyl siding is similar to insulated vinyl siding installation. However, because insulated vinyl siding is thicker, installers need to pay extra attention to every detail to ensure proper preparation and accessory installation.
How Long Does Insulated Vinyl Siding and Traditional Vinyl Siding Last?
Standard vinyl siding is durable. It has seen a number of advancements in recent years, including improved resistance to cracking, warping and fading — but the empty space beneath still leaves uninsulated vinyl siding vulnerable to damage. Take a look at nearby homes with vinyl siding, and you’ll likely notice some damage. These marks or cracks are typically caused by rocks thrown by lawnmowers, hail, baseballs and various other objects.
While traditional vinyl does have many advantages, including affordable cost, low maintenance and long lifespan, its susceptibility to impact damage is not one of them.
This is actually one of the reasons insulated siding was developed in the 1990s. This additional layer of insulating foam fills the empty space between the wall and the siding completely, significantly improving its resistance to impact. The siding and the foam are fused together permanently, making a single, highly durable panel.
How Does Insulated Vinyl Siding Affect Resale Value?
When undertaking any home improvement project, including a new siding installation, you naturally want to be certain it will boost your home value.
Remodeling Magazine releases an annual report showing how much of your investment you can recoup for installing new siding. According to their 2019 study, homeowners can expect to recoup 75.6 percent of their costs. This is much higher than the 62.1percent recouped by a major kitchen remodel, the 68.2 percent by an asphalt shingles roofing replacement and even the 70.8 percent a wood window replacement. This means that, if you were to invest $20,000 in replacing your siding, you could expect to get back $15,120, which makes the true cost of your investment only $4,880.
The final thing to think about when figuring out your return on investment is your long-term energy savings. If you install non-insulated vinyl siding, you won’t get any of that money back over time. Insulated vinyl siding, however, provides homeowners with a measure of savings on heating and cooling. Your home’s lower energy costs also may also attract potential buyers in the future.
You also want siding that will stay beautiful until you decide to put your home on the market. If you opt for non-insulated vinyl and spend a good amount of the time in the house, you’ll likely end up with dents, cracks and fades, which means it’s unlikely that you’ll recoup the entire 75.6 percent calculated by Remodeling Magazine. By picking insulated vinyl siding, you can be more certain that it will stay attractive for many years.
In summary, while traditional vinyl siding may give you a faster return on investment, insulated vinyl siding will likely have a higher return if you plan to live in your house for many years.
Is Insulated Siding Better Than Traditional Siding?
You should consider non-insulated vinyl siding if:
- You don’t have a large budget for your installation.
- You’re flipping a home and the siding’s long-term durability and appearance is not a major concern.
- You’re planning to do the installation yourself but don’t have much installation experience.
Insulated vinyl siding is probably a better choice if:
- You have plans to live in the house for many years and don’t want your siding to get damaged.
- You can afford the high upfront cost of the energy-saving insulation, which you’ll earn back later through lower energy bills.
- You have a thorough understanding of the extra steps needed to install insulated vinyl siding correctly.
By now, you probably have a good understanding of the pros and cons of insulated vs. uninsulated vinyl siding and which option could work for you.
Choose Sunshine Contracting to Install Your Siding
If you’ve made to choice to install insulated vinyl siding and live in Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun or Stafford Counties, let Sunshine Contracting protect and beautify your home.
At Sunshine Contracting, we pride ourselves on the quality of our installations. Unlike the many companies that subcontract their work, we have in-house, factory-trained and certified installers who perform all of our installations. In fact, we are so confident in the quality of our work that we offer a 10-year Labor and Workmanship Warranty.
For the past 25 years, we have also striven to provide the best customer service, and our reputation speaks for itself — we have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and have won the Angie’s List Super Service Award every year from 2012 to 2018.
We sell primarily insulated vinyl siding because of its durability, attractiveness and energy savings, although we have a selection of non-insulated vinyl siding and non-vinyl siding products as well. If you have any other questions or would like to receive a free estimate, call us at 703-935-4663 or contact us online.