How siding affects your home’s energy efficiency

January 12, 2021   By Terri Williams

How siding affects your home’s energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is gaining traction among homeowners. It’s always been a popular topic, but now, as people are spending more time at home and using more electricity, they’re searching for ways to save energy and cut down on their monthly bills. Your choice of siding could provide an opportunity to increase your energy efficiency.

For those considering purchasing a new home or remodeling an existing house, it’s important to consider the materials used during construction.

According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2020 Cost vs. Value Report, fiber-cement and vinyl siding replacements rank among the top of the remodeling projects that retain their value when reselling the house.

But how does siding effect your home’s energy efficiency?

These are some of the factors you should consider when thinking about siding as a way to create an energy-efficient home.

Prioritize the right type of siding

“Siding comes in a number of different materials including vinyl, wood, brick, stucco, fiber cement board and stone veneer,” said Eamon Lynch, director of warranty service at Power Home Remodeling. Lynch explained that brick and stone veneer can offer a classic look to your home but warned that they can be quite expensive – and these materials can also be difficult to install.

“Wood and fiber cement board options are popular looks, but require regular maintenance,” Lynch said.

Admittedly, each type of material has its own set of pros and cons. However, Lynch said he prefers vinyl because it is the most energy-efficient choice.

According to Lynch, “Vinyl siding allows for fullback insulation, which is the foam that fills the hollow space between the wall sheathing and the exterior siding.”

Color matters, and not just for aesthetics

One advantage of vinyl siding is that it comes in a variety of colors. In fact, vinyl siding is available in almost any shade you can imagine: reds, blues, green, browns, etc. Anti-fading technology does not guarantee that siding will never fade, but it will be colorfast for a very long time.

However, your color choice may depend on where you live, if you want to maximize energy-efficiency. “Similar to how black asphalt gets hotter than the lighter concrete sidewalk, darker colored vinyl siding absorbs more heat,” Lynch explained. “Your home’s insulation should help to keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter, but it’s also important to consider where you live.”

So, for example, if you lived somewhere such as Denver, CO, and you wanted to retain heat, a dark-colored siding would be ideal. But for residents of Texas, it’s more important to keep your home cool. Lynch recommends lighter-colored siding to optimize energy efficiency in warmer regions.  

Check your siding vents

“Oftentimes, vinyl siding has louvered or gable vents to help improve your home’s air quality and ventilation,” Lynch explained. “These vents also have energy-efficiency benefits because the air circulated from the vent reduces the pressure on the home’s HVAC system, and helps to maintain the overall interior temperature.”

Other benefits of vinyl siding

Vinyl siding is also a good choice for several reasons. For example, it tends to be a green product. Vinyl material doesn’t need to be painted or stained, and it doesn’t have to be caulked. It’s also a recyclable building product.

What’s more, vinyl is very durable and can hold up – and look good – throughout continuous rain and extreme heat. According to VinylSiding.org, it can withstand winds of up to 110 miles per hour and resist impact damage. Another important feature to note is that insulated vinyl siding can reduce noise by 40 percent.

If you are looking for a maintenance free material, vinyl wins out over wood because it doesn’t crack, swell, or warp and is not susceptible to insects such as termites and woodpeckers. It is also advantageous to fiber cement because it does not require continuous maintenance. You can use a garden hose and soap to keep it clean and looking good.

 

Terri Williams is a freelance journalist with bylines at The Economist, USA Today, Yahoo, the Houston Chronicle, and U.S. News & World Report. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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