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Insulated Siding

If you are looking into replacing your home’s siding, adding insulated siding is a worthwhile investment that better protects your home, reduces moisture, and improves your overall level of comfort indoors. Deciding on the right type of insulation for your type of siding and climate is important. This siding insulation guide from Modernize will help you choose the right type of insulated siding for your needs and ensure your home is insulated properly.

Importance of R-Value

Understanding R-Value and its role in insulated siding is important. The R-Value for siding insulation is the measurement of the insulation’s resistance to heat flow. The higher an insulation product’s R-Value, the better it is at resisting heat from flowing through your home. 

The reason for this is that insulated vinyl siding helps to combat thermal bridging, or hot and cold air easily transferring through a house’s wooden studs. Foam insulation makes it more difficult for hot and cold air to pass through a home’s barriers, keeping the inside of the home cooler or warmer depending on the season. In turn, homeowners can expect to see more energy savings with siding types that have higher R-Values.

When investigating the R-Value of your new siding, make sure to look into whether it is a good fit for the climate in your area. For instance, it is recommended that homes in colder climates seek insulated siding with an R-Value of 2.0 to 3.5. Check the Energy Star insulation map to see which R-Value is suggested for your area.

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Types of Insulated Siding

When deciding on the best type of siding insulation, the choice should depend on several factors. Consider the type of siding being installed and whether the siding is on new construction, placed over existing siding, or replacing the current insulation once the old siding is removed. Listed below are common types of siding insulation.

  • Foam insulation: Adds thermal resistance, moisture and pest control, and noise reduction.
  • Foil-backed insulation: Slows heat transfer, making it ideal for cold climates.
  • Rigid foam insulation board: Provides moisture control, better air filtration, and thermal performance.
  • Thermal wrap: Also known as “house wrap,” provides better air filtration, prevents leakage, and offers better thermal insulation.

Insulated Vinyl Siding

Insulated vinyl siding, also known as foam backed siding, is the most popular type of insulated siding. Adding a layer of insulation beneath your home’s vinyl siding boosts the R-value of your home, consequently reducing energy and utility costs especially in the summer and winter. The R-value you can expect with insulated vinyl siding is about 2.0 to 3.5. Compare this to a mere 0.61 R-value for vinyl siding with no insulation.

The reason for this is that insulated vinyl siding helps to combat thermal bridging, or hot and cold air easily transferring through a house’s wooden studs. Foam insulation makes it more difficult for hot and cold air to pass through a home’s barriers, keeping the inside of the home cooler or warmer depending on the season.

In addition to energy savings, homeowners can expect noise reduction and more durability with insulated vinyl siding. To double down on your energy-efficiency efforts, you might consider triple pane windows in addition to insulated vinyl siding. 

How Much Does Insulated Vinyl Siding Cost?

All in all, insulated vinyl siding will cost more to install compared to vinyl siding without insulation. While vinyl siding costs between $1 and $8 per square foot to install, insulated vinyl siding may cost as much as $4 to $12 per square foot of installed siding. The price may differ depending on the quality of the insulation (for instance – basic, better, or best) and the costs of labor and installation in a particular area. Keep in mind that any siding repairs that need to be made during the insulation will add to the total cost. 

The added cost for vinyl siding with insulation is often worth the investment. Most homeowners can save as much as 20% or more on monthly energy bills with effective siding insulation.

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement is another type of siding that is often installed with a layer of energy-efficient foam insulation underneath. Because it is an extremely durable siding material on its own, it naturally protects the layer of insulation underneath from the elements.

As mentioned, the higher the R-value for insulated siding, the better the siding will be at preventing the transfer of hot and cold air through your home’s walls. Keep in mind when opting for fiber cement siding that despite its superior durability, the R-value will likely fall around less than 1.0. This is significantly less than the R-value of insulated vinyl siding.

At the same time, fiber cement siding alone is one of the most practical types to install, as it is known to be extremely durable, weather-resistant, and to yield a high ROI for homeowners. In fact, it can yield over an 80% return on investment when installed on older homes in need of a siding replacement. Opting to add insulation when installing fiber cement siding can boost your home’s value even more. You can expect to pay between $6 and $13 per square foot to install insulated fiber cement siding.

Preparing For Unexpected Issues When Installing Insulated Siding

If you are looking to replace your current siding with insulated siding, the first step is for the contractor to remove your old siding. This process usually takes about one week to complete. Once the professional tears off the old siding material, it’s possible that they may find some underlying issues that need to be repaired.

For instance, if the original insulation or siding was improperly installed or the insulation has deteriorated, there may be an underlying moisture problem. Other issues that can arise when removing siding include rotting and termite or other wildlife damage.

Before installing siding insulation, any repairs will need to be addressed and this will incur an additional fee. With this in mind, when budgeting for your siding project, add 10 to 20 percent to the overall expected cost to account for these unforeseen situations. Of course, it could be more depending on the extent of damage and the repairs needed.

Finding a Siding Contractor

It’s smart to tap into the knowledge of your siding contractor to help guide you through the buying and selecting process for insulated siding. New insulation can be a significant investment and choosing the right materials for your climate and home design is important. With all the right pieces in place, you should see an increase in your home’s value, enjoy better efficiency, and add curb appeal.

It is recommended that you request between 3 to 5 estimates from siding insulation contractors for comparison. The most expensive quote does not always ensure the best service nor does the least expensive mean inferior work. Check each contractor’s business with the Better Business Bureau for any negative reviews.

Here are a few additional tips to help you navigate the contractor selection process:

  • Each contractor’s bid should be all-inclusive. This means it should include pricing for materials, labor, on-site inspection of the home, permit fee(s), underlayment, flashing, door and window trim fittings, fasteners, caulking, and adhesives.
  • Be aware of seasonality. Location, seasonal rates, and installation during peak times of the year may be factors that cause higher costs. 
  • Budget for possible additional costs. If old siding is being removed, the cost of removal, transport, and disposal of the materials may or may not be included in the installment cost.
  • Contractors should cover permits. If a building permit is required from the city before removing, replacing and/or installing new siding insulation, generally your contractor will take care of this step as proof of the necessary license to do the project may be required.

If you are looking for a quality contractor to complete your siding insulation project, Modernize can help. Our network of siding professionals are well-equipped to guide you on the right decisions for insulated siding and install the siding on your home.

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