Siding itself is not a good insulator
Siding and wall cladding is the exterior material applied to the walls of a house or other building meant to shed water, protect the walls from the effects of weather, and is a key in the aesthetics of the structure. Some walls such as solid brickwork and masonry veneer are not covered with siding, but some buildings such as log buildings can have siding added. In addition siding can be installed over brick to completely change the appearance of the home. As you can see in the photos below most homes had some type of wood exterior that was painted to protect it from the elements. But over time the paint would chip and fall off exposing the wood. So many homeowners were looking for an alternative to painting their homes every few years.
Siding may be formed of horizontal or vertical boards, shingles, or sheet materials. In all cases, avoiding wind and air and rain infiltration through the joints is a major challenge, met by overlapping, covering or sealing the joints, or by creating an interlocking joint such as a tongue and groove or rabbet. Since building materials expand and contract (especially vinyl) with changing temperature and humidity, it is not practical to make rigid joints between the siding elements as they often leak.
Siding may be made of wood, metal, plastic (vinyl), masonry, or composite materials. It may be attached directly to the building structure (studs in the case of wood construction), or to an intermediate layer of wood (boards, planks, plywood, oriented strand board) called sheathing. An intermediate air/moisture barrier such as house wrap or felt paper may be applied to the sheathing or a modern sheathing material also serves as an air/moisture barrier.
Does siding act as an insulator?
Most products used to insulate do so by having lots of small air pockets. For example, wood is porous and has air pockets so it is a good insulator
Conversely, vinyl has no air pockets. Therefore the vinyl siding itself is a poor insulator. Commonly a thin sheet of foam is installed underneath the vinyl. This was the attempt made by contractors to add some type of R value to the siding.
Typically siding is not chosen based on its insulating qualities. Siding is usually chosen based on its ability to keep water out of the house, style, cost, and maintenance.
In many older homes the siding material was simply installed directly to the plywood or sheathing on the home. Contractors were not concerned about longevity of the product or about insulation and lowering energy bills.
Is exterior beauty and water protection all we can expect from siding today? Green Eco Solutions has many options to beautify your home and protect from water problems and leaks while adding a much higher R value to the exterior of the home and lower energy bills.
For more information contact Green Eco Solutions for an exterior and interior energy check up with the main focus on lower energy bills to pay for the siding. Our experts have helped many people accomplish this goal.