Vinyl is the #1 material in the U.S. due to its pros (namely low cost, versatility and low maintenance requirements). Warranties are usually life-long and are sometimes transferable. This is truly a pro, but as it varies by contractor, it is more of a consideration.
Vinyl is typically a horizontal lap-type siding, designed to mimic traditional wood-lap. The height of each individual lap (or what would resemble a plank of wood) is generally what distinguishes brand or model types, along with the thickness of material.
Vinyl essentially comes in two types – one which is called hollow-back or is just the siding material, the other which is foam-back, to provide extra layer of insulation. Foam-back adds about 15% more to the cost of siding material, but the cost can be easily recouped via energy savings.
Vinyl comes in a number of thicknesses (which add to cost), and as seams may be a con, it does have a seamless option, but that too adds on to cost.
The material is fairly durable and will last a good 20 to 40 years, usually with a warranty to back this up.
Costs per square foot has a fairly wide range based on factors noted above and brand considerations. Our research shows it as little as 60 cents and as high as $8.00. A perhaps more accurate range is $3.50 to $6.50 for standard vinyl siding, and $5.50 to $10 for deluxe vinyl.
An average-sized house (2,000 sq. ft. of siding) will cost between $7,000 and $13,000 for standard siding, including materials, installation, and warranty.
There is a hot, new trend: BIPV solar shingle roofs. Basically, you replace traditional shingles with building integrated photovoltaic solar shingles that comprise the roof and convert solar energy to electricity.
Architects, designers and builders have already been using some form of solar shingles form Apollo by Certainteed, and Dow Powerhouse, which has recently closed their doors, thus creating an opportunity for new market entrants.
But, with the recent update on the upcoming roll-out of Elon Musk’s Tesla Solar Roof, a possibility of fully-functional and 100% building-integrated (not hybrid) PV solar shingles roof is just around the corner! Let’s talk a bit about the latest developments in the solar roofing market.
How Dow Chemical Paved the Road for BIPV Solar Shingle Roofs
In 2011, Dow Chemical has disrupted residential solar power industry by unveiling their daring and innovative solar shingles product — An elegant, roof-integrated alternative to the “old-school” bulky crystalline PV solar panels for residential roofs.
Dow’s PowerHouse BIPV (building integrated photovoltaics) solar shingles were remarkably appealing, and in some sense, easier to install than traditional PV solar panels. However, after just five short years Dow is getting out of the solar shingles business. They have decided to no longer manufacture and cease selling their break-through PowerHouse solar shingles.
However, PowerHouse 3.0 solar shingles will now be available via RGS Energy who stepped up and acquired Dow’s solar shingle technology.
So, does that leave homeowners with only a single option for solar power; to have the bulky paneling installed on their roof (which often requires drilling holes through shingles to bolt the panels onto the roof, and then relying on lots of caulk around the holes in shingles for water-tightness)? Fortunately, the answer is a resounding no.
First, walk across the street and survey your house from afar. Do any ‘MUST FIXES’ reveal themselves? Now is the time to plan any seasonal projects before the distractions of summer take over and you lose momentum. Also, if you need to bring in outside help for big projects, early spring is the best time to take advantage of contractor discounts and open schedules before renovation season goes into high gear!
Check Your Basement & Foundation
Scan everything in the basement. Check the floor for cracks. Check the water and sewer pipes for leaks, mold and tearing and pests. Address any moisture or water problems immediately either with a water vacuum, dehumidifier, or new gutter drains. Drain all sediment from your hot water heater. Change your furnace filter, which will improve energy efficiency. To reduce any smell of mildew, purchase an odor absorbing product with neutral or no scent.
Fix Up or Replace Your Front Door
Your front door should be an inviting gateway into your home. However, winter storms, wear & tear from adults, kids & animals can leave your door looking dingy and weak. Consider replacing your main entrance with a more energy efficient door that not only looks great but will save you money on heating and air conditioning bills. If you don’t want to spend the cash on a new door now, a simple paint job to the door you have will do wonders!
Painting & The Trim
Carefully scrape, prime and paint peeling spots on trim or exterior woodwork. This will help to protect the wood against summer’s heat and moisture while preventing a more elaborate and pricey paint job come fall. Painting is one of the best ways to transform the look of your home inexpensively. Adding crown moldings, chair rails and other trims can create a custom look on a budget.
Clean Gutters & Inspect the Foundation
Gutters are a breeding ground for insects, mold, mildew and algae spores that can enter your attic and allow biological growths to enter your home. Scoop out debris and run water down the gutter with a hose. Invest in a gutter cap or screen. Scrub out the inside with a gutter brush. Inspect the foundation of your home for large cracks and shifts in the blocks. Seal large cracks and gaps between the foundation and concrete/earth and directly on the concrete. Any remnant snow should be shoveled to drain away from the home.
Clean the Deck
Remove all grime, pollen, fungus and mildew. Scrub the surface with a deck cleanser or this homemade cleaning formula: Add one cup of powdered laundry detergent to a gallon of hot water. Then add 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach to kill moss or mildew.
De-Clutter Your Garage
Hardware stores offer a range of affordable shelving solutions. Throw out junk and place keepsakes in labeled shoe boxes, which will stack nicely on shelves. Shelving, stackable racks and boxes can convert a crammed garage into a functional space as opposed to an eye soar and danger zone.
Get Rid of Mold For Good
Examine your ceilings, attic, walls and bathrooms. If you do notice mold, you must identify the source of the mold before repainting. Ask a local contractor for help. When you are ready to repaint use mold growth inhibitor paint made for high moisture areas. Paints with zinc oxide are more resistant to mildew than paint containing titanium dioxide. Paints or primer with linseed oil, water based paints and latex paints are susceptible to mildew. 100% acrylic semi-gloss, high-gloss latex paints, or oil paints are your best bets!
Reseal & Recaulk
Caulk and other sealants safeguard your home against rain and snow at vulnerable points such as cracks and open joints. Winter can rip caulk apart. Scrape out old caulking by using a painter’s five-in-one tool. Clean and disinfect with one-part liquid chlorine bleach in three parts warm water.