These days when faded vinyl siding comes down, homeowners looking to re-side have far more choices than they did when it went up. Not only materials choices — vinyl, steel, fiber cement, wood, or composite boards — but far more profiles and accessories as well. There’s also the option of adding insulated vinyl siding, which looks long, straight, and sturdy, and therefore shows well to homeowners compared with those old non-reinforced panels.

Energy-Saving Effect


1993: Progressive Foam Technologies builds first machine to start laminating insulated vinyl siding

1997: Progressive Foam officially files a patent for insulated vinyl siding

1998: Other manufacturers enter the market


We love it,” says Ken Moeslein, CEO of <a href=">Legacy Remodeling, in Pittsburgh. “That’s the only vinyl we sell.” But the biggest selling point now may be the product’s ability to help reduce heating or cooling costs by adding an extra layer of insulation to the envelope.

In the last two years the Vinyl Siding Institute, a Washington, D.C.–based industry group, has won recognition from code groups for the product’s energy-saving properties. That recognition includes securing International ASTM specifications for insulated vinyl siding as an energy-saving product with a minimum R-2.0 value that contributes to reduced energy use in the home.

VSI’s senior director of code and regulatory Matt Dobson says that those specifications enable siding contractors to say that whatever product they use has a minimum of R-2.0. “It has to meet the same standards as insulated sheathing,” Dobson says.

Green building expert and educator, and REMODELING columnist, Carl Seville — who claims he is “not a huge fan” of vinyl siding — cautions that to get the value of the insulation, it must be fixed tightly against the wall but that this can reduce the siding’s rain-screen properties and increase the potential for moisture intrusion.

“To avoid liability,” he adds, “you need to make sure the wall has a complete weather barrier, which may require removing all existing siding from the floor to the roof before re-siding.” —Jim Cory is a contributing editor to REMODELING who is based in Philadephia.