In case being super-low maintenance and the most popular cladding material in the country weren't big enough sales tools, the Vinyl Siding Institute in Washington, D.C. has introduced a new color retention certification program for vinyl siding and related products, i.e. trim stock, J-channel, soffit vents, and so on. Products certified through testing will be awarded the new VSI logo for color retention. After all, who wants to install a product that will stay on the wall but will end up looking gnarly a few years down the road, creating a backlog of callbacks?

Field-Tested for Color Retention The good thing is that VSI's certification is performance-based — not some unsubstantiated marketing verbiage that will come back to haunt you. To qualify, the Institute says vinyl siding products must first receive certification for overall quality and performance based on the industry standard ASTM D3679, which covers criteria such as weatherability, wind load, and impact resistance.

VSI's efforts, however, are in addition to ASTM D3679 and focus on color retention. The Institute's secondary certification process, performed by third-party test facility Architectural Testing of York, Pa., requires a two-year outdoor, multiclimate weatherability study for each color considered.

This secondary testing also dovetails with increased attention from the building code governing body, the International Code Council. The ICC mandates that all vinyl siding be certified and labeled by an approved quality control agency. This doesn't mean, however, that you need to reinvent or re-research how you source materials. All approved products are labeled on the carton with VSI's logo, and you can double-check either with your supplier or directly with VSI ( that what you're hanging is certified.

Promises to Keep But, at the end of the day, what matters to contractors isn't the label on the carton; it's the ability to look prospective customers in the eye, and assure them that not only does the vinyl meet or exceed industry standards but that there's laboratory and field testing to prove it. Contractors don't make more money, generate more leads, or avoid callbacks by installing products that will eventually disappoint their customers, and VSI's double-tough certification is one more tool to help ensure quality and close the sale.

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