By Stephanie Andre
RISMEDIA, October 8, 2010--Given its durability, vinyl siding is more popular today than ever before. According to some statistics, approximately 50% of homes now use the material. That said, this is one product that experts say you should not skimp on when looking at quality vs. cost. Cheaper-made siding will fade, warp and sag much quicker than a better quality product.
Here are five tips for homeowners on how to choose high-quality products, courtesy of VinylSiding.net:
Thickness - Vinyl is made from chemical combinations, which vary greatly. Thicker options will be stiffer and more durable. Thinner ones may be low quality and could sag or warp. According to building codes, vinyl siding must be at least 0.035 inch thick. Premium choices are 0.044 to up to 0.055 inch thick.
Fading - Cheap vinyl siding is more likely to fade. Homeowners should find products with UV protection and be sure the exterior can handle direct sunlight. To lessen the appearance of fading, lighter colors can be chosen.
Wind Resistance - Homeowners will want vinyl siding that can resist wind up to 150 mph. Some high-quality options have warranties that cover winds of 180 mph. Homeowners should be aware of wind codes in their area as they do vary.
Installation - The installation is just as important as the materials. Panels are not attached tightly. Rather, they "hang" on the side of a house because the material expands and contracts with heat and cold. When getting vinyl siding estimates, homeowners should ask about the installation process and warranties. Double hem mounting typically provides better attachment than a single hem. If installed too tightly, there will be poor ventilation, which is needed. If installed too loosely, it can be noisy.
Rain Resistance - Vinyl siding also "hangs" on a structure to provide better ventilation by allowing air to flow behind the panels. There are also small holes in the butts of each panel to release water. If poorly installed, it can trap moisture or cause water leaks into the house. To avoid this, the installer must add proper flashings, house felt or builder's wrap.