How to Understand Vinyl Siding Ratings

Siding installation

When you hear the term "vinyl siding," you tend to picture that two-inch, flimsy material adorning your grandparent's mobile home. Vinyl siding, however, has come a long way from those days and is now being regularly used in new construction.

Vinyl siding is made out of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). A solid product, it is durable, strong, low-maintenance, and appropriate for several different climates. Basically, the most common damage it is susceptible to is scratching. Even when scratched, the structural integrity of the product is not threatened and only requires a little touch-up. Because it is plastic, water and insects cannot penetrate its dense barrier. Although it will burn, it is more resistant to fire, and will not ignite until it reaches temperatures over 700 degrees. However, being composed of a plastic material, it can melt.

Before purchasing vinyl siding for your home, it will help to have a basic understanding of the rating system associated with vinyl siding.

Step 1

Choose the right thickness. Vinyl siding varies in price based upon its durability. Thicker varieties, .055", cost more as they are more durable and last longer. The most commonly chosen size is .040"-.045." All vinyl siding holds up well against the elements. If you live in an area with more severe weather, though, it may be wise to invest in a thicker vinyl.

Step 2

Choose the right profile. Unlike what you observed on your grandparent's home, modern vinyl siding is skillfully made to imitate wood siding. The styles are labeled for clarity. D4 stands for a double course of 4" laps; D5 is a double-course with 5" boards; Dutch Lap is referred to as D5DL; and a three-course panel is referred to as T3.

Step 3

Choose the right color. Vinyl siding typically comes pre-tinted from the factory, although it is possible to paint it as well. Pre-manufactured colors tend to be lighter as the darker colors are more vulnerable to fading.

Step 4

Determining the fire resistance. Vinyl siding is given one of two fire resistance ratings: ASTM E119 and ASTM D3679. ASTM E119 means the siding is comparable to other siding materials, and ASTM D3679 means it met the minimum requirements established.

Vinyl siding may be dependable and a quality product in itself; but if poorly installed, it can still lead to water damage and insect issues. Be sure you only hire a skilled professional who is aware of the proper installation techniques. Request free estimates from prescreened siding contractors in your area today.

I am the CTO for a popular remodeling service that provides remodeling pictures and ideas as well as local remodeling contractors.

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