Why Vinyl Siding Innovations Matter
Over the years vinyl siding has evolved, advancements in engineering and technology. Technological advancements and deliberate engineering have heightened durability, sustainability, and its realistic appearance. Vinyl siding locks tighter to your home, better withstands the weather, is easier to install and is available in a startling array of fade-resistant colors,
When you’re choosing vinyl siding, it pays to look not just at the outside, but what goes into each panel. Let’s take a look at how innovation has made siding better so you can make the best choice for your project.
How siding panels attach to your home greatly affects their resistance to tear offs in high winds. A “nail hem” locks one siding panel to another and allows the panel to be securely nailed into place. There are three different types of nail hems:
Single nail hem
Found on economy panels and offers adequate attachment. Comprised of a single layer of material with nail slots, it is the weakest option against nail withdrawal and wind load strength.
Partially curled nail hem
Found on better panels, this option reinforces the areas most prone to breaking under negative wind load pressure.
Full roll over nail hem
You’ll find this on premium panels – it’s the strongest form of attachment. Because the thickness of the entire upper hem is doubled, pressure during negative wind load is dispersed.
Homeowner’s Note: if you live in an area you experience high winds, selecting a full roll over nail hem is your best option.
Upper and lower locks
Locks work with the nail hems to keep panels in place. Under the nail hem is the “upper lock”. At the bottom of each panel is the lower lock. Upper and lower locks create strong interlocks between panels. If durability is important to you, make sure you select the most strongly secured panels.
Larger channel locks
Channel-type locks are best, as they run straighter on the wall and snap into place. This creates a strong interlock, keeping panels tight under high winds.
Some manufacturers offer more complexly designed locks which increase locking strength and panel straightness.
Bottom lock/return legs - reinforced curls
Similar to a channel lock, these have an increased curl that has been reinforced, which adds more strength to the panels and the attachment points.
Homeowner’s Note: Projection, which is how far panel projects from the wall, is key to the strength of your siding. The bigger the projection, the stronger the interlock.
Wind sucks - literally
Wind resistance as it applies to Vinyl Siding is not so much about how hard the wind is blowing outside, but about the negative wind pressure flowing through your home, which creates a vacuum effect between the siding and the exterior walls. Many panels meet VSI Vinyl Siding Product Certification Program guidelines, and are rated to withstand high winds from 110 mph - 150 mph or even as high as 190 mph, and the pressure that results.
Color that wows and lasts
Never having to paint is a good thing: Enjoying a lifetime of vibrant color, despite extreme temperatures and weather conditions, is even better. Many vinyl siding manufacturers offer products in a wide range of popular colors with a durable, fade-resistant finish. But all finishes are not the same. Here’s what to consider:
More than skin deep
Deep, vibrant color that lasts and won’t show scratches is only possible if the color runs all the way through the panel.
Extreme performance testing
Have the products you’re considering been tested to perform? Was it actually tested out in the elements (desert, tropics, extreme cold) or in a lab? Other than weather, what else did they do to test the resilience of the pigment? The Vinyl Siding Institute requires an outdoor weathering study to be conducted for every color manufactured before they will certify its fade resistance. Today, there are over 350 certified colors.
Siding industry innovations
Becoming eco-friendly has created new opportunities for manufacturers, homeowners and environmental groups to make informed decisions about the products they choose to buy when products like insulated vinyl siding and thermal windows were introduced, manufacturers saw increased sales, homeowners saw lower heating and cooling bills, and groups like NAHB Research Center and the U.S. Green Building Council were able to track real projects to improve how and what they certified as energy efficient or “green”. In short, everyone benefitted, including the environment.
The exterior siding industry has also seen advances in building codes, manufacturer’s guidelines, certification processes and installation training programs. Thanks in part to the diligence of the Vinyl Siding Institute these areas have greatly improved. For more information, watch VSI's "America Sides with Vinyl" video series on their YouTube channel.