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When a homeowner or building professional searches for building products, there are many ways to go green. In addition to energy-saving options look for products with green attributes throughout the lifecycle of a product.
Where the product comes from, how long it lasts, and what happens to it at the end of its life can just as big an impact on its performance as any energy it may save.
Building products made with recycled and recyclable materials are a great way to add an extra green element in an exterior product that might not otherwise influence the performance of a home.
Since the 1950s, vinyl siding has been the exterior cladding of choice for millions of homes in all climates, providing weather protection, long life and ease of maintenance.
In fact vinyl siding is the most popular choice for exterior and cladding in the U.S. and Canada, according the Vinyl Siding institute. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, vinyl siding was used on nearly 30 percent of all new homes built in 2012, more than any other cladding material.
Vinyl siding is a great choice for both new homes and remodeling existing homes. As other types of exterior cladding come on the market, it’s easy to be swayed by the latest and greatest product announcement. But vinyl siding has been No. 1 for decades with good reason.
Modern materials and design
It’s not your grandfather’s vinyl siding any more.
Today’s vinyl siding features texture and attention to detail that make high-end vinyl siding nearly indistinguishable from wood clapboard, cedar shake shingles or other traditional materials. With vinyl siding you can find a product to fit with any architectural style, from classic to modern.
There are plenty of colors from which to choose as well. In fact, nearly 350 vinyl siding colors have been certified for color retention, according to the Vinyl Siding Institute. The variety offers homeowners an extensive palette of fade-resistant colors, combined with complementary trim, accents and accessories. Thanks to these advancements in color and technology, top designers on shows such as “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and “George to the Rescue” have recently made vinyl siding a focal point of their renovation and new-build home designs.
Also, many historical societies across the U.S. have turned to vinyl siding for historic home renovations because of the wide selection of period colors, architectural details and low- maintenance benefits.
“After the devastating tornado in Joplin, Mo. in 2011, we built seven houses in seven days using vinyl siding exteriors,” said Kim Lewis, architectural designer of Kim Lewis Designs and former lead designer for ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. “At first I was skeptical, but we were able to bring forward character-driven design on each of the home’s exteriors with vibrant colors and architectural elements. After spending some time with the material, I have a more positive outlook on vinyl siding.”
Vinyl trim offers the look of wood without the work
Many homeowners want the look of wood siding but fear the maintenance headaches of staining or painting every few years. Vinyl siding is a great low-maintenance option, but unfortunately people think the trim options don’t offer a high-end look like authentic wood. That’s not true.
Siding manufacturers have made significant strides in the design of low maintenance, holistic finishing solutions for windows, doors, eaves, gables, columns and more, introducing trim and moldings made from cellular PVC.
These trim packages are designed to function like real wood, accentuating the best features of any architectural home style but eliminating the need to clean, replace or stain in years to come. Although PVC trim looks and fastens like wood, but won’t absorb moisture or insect damage like wood does.
With today’s trim options, even the most discerning homeowners will find there’s no need to compromise beauty to get low-maintenance curb appeal.
Vinyl siding stands up to the weather
If you’re comparing a piece of vinyl siding to a piece of wood siding, don’t let the light weight fool you. Some vinyl siding products are manufactured with technologies tested to resist wind speeds of more than 200 mph. These products have been put to the test and withstood the elements in recent storms such as Superstorm Sandy.
In addition to holding its own against Mother Nature, vinyl siding puts up a pretty good fight against Father Time. Vinyl siding does not need to be painted, and it can be cleaned with simple soap and water. The product has tremendous longevity, in many cases lasting 30 years or more with very little maintenance and low cost of ownership.
Vinyl siding means green building
For eco-conscious homeowners, vinyl siding delivers high performance and environmentally responsible choices. For example, vinyl siding comes to the home site fully finished so there’s no need for paints, stains, or caulks. That meets green building recommendations from the National Association of Home Builders to use building materials that require no additional resources to finish on site. Unlike wood siding and some other options, there’s no need to refinish every few years, either.
The durability of vinyl means it will last decades, without the need for replacement. Reduces material use and waste over the long useful life of the siding.
Finally, vinyl siding is made using very common natural ingredients and recycled materials in many cases. Vinyl siding uses salt and natural gas as the raw materials for the manufacturing process. All of Ply Gem’s plants have a comprehensive recycling program, with manufacturing facilities recycling 95 percent or more of scrap vinyl. Some of the company’s siding products contain as much as 80-percent reclaimed materials.
Vinyl siding will continue to be a leader in home design, delivering value and durability for homeowners and building professionals for years to come
Adapted from an article on Proud Green Home. Reprinted with permission.