The thermal resistance properties of siding are an often overlooked, yet still a crucial component, aspect of choosing an exterior cladding material for your home or business. It makes sense why this feature is ignored. Most people first off choose a siding based on looks, and then narrow that down to if it fits into their budget or not. Other factors such as durability, maintenance requirements, etc. ultimately factor into which siding you choose to apply on your property.
Thermal property is still an important component in the grand scheme of things regarding your home or business siding. This is especially true in Minnesota, where we will take any extra insulation we can get. Here is a tale of the tape on how the most common types of siding keep air in – and keep air out depending on what time of year it is:
Vinyl is a very affordable siding material and the savings on the overall price can be put towards boosting insulation – therefore making vinyl a very thermally positive cladding choice. The vinyl itself doesn’t offer much resistance to the elements. Even building grade siding is only about .04” thick. The thin material can be an asset however as vinyl can be installed over an existing cladding, thus giving you a fresh new aesthetic while also maintaining a thermal barrier.
Steel / Aluminum Siding
One of the biggest assets of steel and aluminum siding is that it does not rot, therefore energy loss does not occur through holes and deterioration. Metal siding will outperform vinyl in extreme cold as well in both durability as well as thermal resistance.
Fiber cement is made up of a composite of sand, cement, and cellulose fibers which is one of the most durable siding materials on the market. Fiber cement is long lasting and resistant to moisture exposure which means it will not break down for decades – thus maintaining a solid energy efficiency for years. The material itself however is not incredibly energy efficient which is why it should be installed over foam insulation panels.
Wood stands great on its own as a thermally resistant siding material. Unfortunately wood is also prone to warping, cracking, and absorbing moisture; all factors that can lead to energy loss.
Thermal Siding Overview
Siding properties are measured in R-value, here is how they stack up:
Wood siding (.81 to .87)
Standard steel or vinyl (.61)
Stone and brick (.44)
Fiber cement (.37)
When you opt for a material such as insulated steel or vinyl the R-value can reach up to 2.0 which offers incredible energy efficiency. If you’ve got a particular style of siding you want to install, how you insulate will also contribute to the thermal barrier the material provides.
Overall – you have a variety of options when it comes to home siding. If you’d like more information about all the possibilities available regarding siding give us a call today.