Vinyl siding ratings are certainly one factor to consider when you are in the market to buy new vinyl siding. While a rating can’t help you decide which vinyl siding to purchase in and of itself, vinyl siding ratings will at least help you determine which siding offers you the quality you seek. Then, once you’ve reviewed the various vinyl siding ratings and have determined which factors are most important to you from among those meeting your minimum rating requirements, the selection process should be easier.
How Are Vinyl Siding Ratings Determined?
Vinyl siding ratings are determined based on factors that affect the overall look, durability and quality of the siding product. This includes factors such as thickness, profile, color retention, wind resistance and fire resistance. Each of these factors is evaluated to determine overall vinyl siding ratings, helping consumers to determine which products offer the best quality for the money.
What Affects Vinyl Siding Ratings?
As mentioned earlier, the primary factors that go into determining ratings are thickness, profile, color retention, wind resistance and fire resistance. This is how each will factor into the final rating:
Typically, the thicker the siding, the better the quality and durability. Most consumers opt for thickness between .040″ to .045″. Vinyl siding can be as thick as .055″, and these thicker siding options usually offer higher quality (they also come with a higher price tag). Within a similar thickness range, however, some siding can be rated higher than others.
This refers to the style of siding and will ultimately affect the look and durability. For example, you can choose between double course siding with 4″ (D4) or 5″ (D5) boards, Dutch Lap (DL), and three course panels (T3), among other options. Deeper profiles will typically look less wavy than narrower profiles and will result in a better “real wood” look. They are also more rigid, increasing vinyl siding ratings.
Most exterior cladding is manufactured with the color baked right into the vinyl material. This makes the color last longer. Light colors are less vulnerable to fading than darker colors, but the degree of color retention or resistance to color fading will leave your vinyl siding looking better, longer. If you are opting for a darker color, color retention should be a major consideration in your selection process. Darker colored siding products with higher vinyl siding ratings often contain a protective ultraviolet coating to increase resistance to fading. Discover more about vinyl siding colors.
The degree of wind resistance can be determined for any vinyl siding product and will affect vinyl siding ratings. Double-hem mounting typically offers superior wind resistance than single-hem siding. If you live in an area prone to excessive wind, you should make this factor a high priority in your decision making process.
Vinyl is by its very nature a relatively fire resistant material. There are some minimum fire resistance requirements that must be met, however. ASTM E119 indicates that the vinyl siding is comparable to other materials used for cladding. Another standard, ASTM D3679, indicates that minimum fire resistance requirements have been met for the product.
Ratings To Choose Siding
Ratings are only one factor that go into a consumer’s decision about which type to purchase. Of course, high ratings can indicate superior quality, but this may only be one factor in choosing a siding option. Since many types of siding will tout good vinyl siding ratings, the decision usually comes down to other factors as well.
Vinyl Siding Institute
The Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI) is an industry trade group that sets specific industry standards for vinyl siding products. They also offer a voluntary certification program. In order for vinyl siding to be certified, it must meet certain minimum requirements for thickness, color fading and wind resistance.
Installation And Ratings
The rating of a vinyl siding product is only as good as the installation of the product. If a high quality product is not installed property, it will diminish the benefits that high ratings offer. So, be sure that you ensure that your vinyl siding is properly installed to achieve the best looks, function and durability.
Some of the installation factors that will affect the overall quality include:
Underlayment – ensure that the proper underlayment and moisture barrier is installed to prevent leaks.
Flashing – proper installation of flashing will also prevent unwanted leaks.
Fasteners – it is important that your siding is attached properly for lasting durability. It should be attached to studs, not just sheathing, and fasters should not be spaced more than 16″ apart. Each fastener should be placed in the center of the hem slot with a bit of space left to allow for expansion and contraction of the siding.