Certified vinyl siding has been deemed to meet or exceed standards for quality and performance set by the Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI). The institute also has a certification program for professional contractors and installers, ensuring that installation professionals meet or exceed specified building standards as well.
Basics Of Certified Vinyl Siding
The Vinyl Siding Institute is an independent professional association that is focused on elevating the standards of vinyl siding products and installation procedures and promoting the benefits of vinyl cladding to the construction and consumer markets. VSI certifies siding products based on a series of quality and performance standards determined by ASTM International (the American Society for Testing and Materials) so that consumers can feel confident that certified vinyl siding exceeds benchmarks set for quality and performance. The actual inspection process used to deem a vinyl siding product as “certified” is handled by an accredited inspection agency that is independent of siding manufacturers or associations, including VSI.
Certified Vinyl Siding & The ASTM International
ASTM International is one of the largest and most respected organizations in the world responsible for setting standards and benchmarks for the design and manufacturing of siding products, materials and services. ASTM does extensive testing and research to set the highest standards of quality, performance and market relevance.
In order for vinyl siding products to receive a certification, they must meet (or exceed) ASTM D3679. This quality standard is used by many state and city building codes, as well as being the benchmark for the International Building and International Residential codes. Optionally, vinyl siding products can get a certification for color retention by meeting or exceeding ASTM D6864 and ASTM D7251. Vinyl siding installers can be certified against ASTM D4756 quality standards.
To receive the certification, tests are performed to determine a product’s impact resistance, ability to withstand specific wind loads and weatherability. An independent inspector also makes two visits (unannounced) to the manufacturing plant per year. Certification for color retention against ASTM D6864 and ASTM D7251 is achieved based on an outdoor weathering study of each color hue that spans a two year period. All of the color options are individually certified through this process. Certification for installers ensures that the installers are properly trained and that installation companies are properly managed.
ASTM D4756 is the standard used for certifying installers and installation companies. There are three different levels of certification available – certified vinyl siding installer, installation company and trainer. Certification is optional and the program is administered by Architectural Testing, Inc. (ATI), an independent third party. Certification is based on completing coursework, passing an exam, and having a certain level of experience. Requirements vary for each type of installer certification. For example, installers must go through the certification every three years. Installation companies have to go through the certification annually, and must have at least one certified vinyl installer or trainer onsite during any installation. They also have to have a quality control process in place that is approved by ATI. Certified trainers must teach at least two courses annually to keep certification active.
First, it provides consumers with an indication that the products and installers they are considering have met at least a minimum set of international standards for quality. It helps consumers select quality products and also ensures that they choose installers that are well trained and knowledgeable about building standards. VSI maintains an active database of all products, companies and producers and brands that meet their certification standards.