Progressive Foam Vice President of Sales Jason Culpepper was featured in the February 2016 issue of Builder & Developer Magazine. Below is an excerpt from that article. Click here for the full issue >
By Jason Culpepper
The phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” can be good advice for life, but not when building a home. While many homebuyers focus on interior details such as countertops or a master bath, a home’s exterior creates a visitor’s first true impression. With advancements in siding options, homebuyers are spending more time selecting colors and materials that boost curb appeal, bring their personal style to life, and increase energy efficiency.
Bold Colors and Varying Materials: Today’s homebuyers are choosing bolder colors and mixed materials more than ever before. Manufacturers are quenching the homeowner’s thirst for products that reflect their personal design ideas and style by expanding product lines and incorporating various colors, textures, and shapes.
Homebuyers are even combining colors on the various surfaces such as siding, garage doors, trim, etc. These add great curb appeal while creating a distinctive look. Darker colors like lakeside blue, stone gray, and barn red are also increasing in popularity and are commonly paired with white trim, textured shake in the gables, and stone facades.
For consumers seeking a more prominent contrast for their homes’ exterior, combining siding with natural or synthetic stone or brick (particularly around the entranceway) is increasing in popularity. Additionally, the latest styles in vinyl siding—which remains the most popular siding material—now include products that resemble the look of other materials like half-round shingles and rectangular cedar shingles in nearly every color.
Siding Insulation: In addition to color and siding material selection, homeowners are invested in making sure their home exteriors looks just as good up close as it does from a distance. As consumers become increasingly educated on and involved in the residential building process, they work to ensure that their exteriors not only look great, but also protect the home from the elements; this is all done in the most cost-effective way possible.
Most are interested in getting the top value from their investment while remodelers and builders are looking for the best ways to bring additional value. By adding insulation behind exterior cladding, builders can help a homeowner’s new dwelling achieve benefits beyond a beautiful exterior. For example, while insulation is not visible to someone looking at the outside of a home, it helps to mask imperfections like wavy or uneven walls, giving exterior cladding a straight, or a flat appearance.
Most exterior cladding products—including vinyl siding, fiber cement, or engineered wood—can incorporate continuous insulation with improved aesthetics as well as advanced energy efficiency. This results in lower utility bills and a more comfortable, quieter interior environment.
According to the Department of Energy’s Insulation Fact Sheet 2008, “when new siding is to be installed, it’s a good idea to consider adding insulation under new siding.” While this is not widely known or adopted, installing insulation on a home’s exterior under new siding addresses thermal bridging, which is energy that escapes across the wooden studs in the wall. Nearly 25 percent of a home’s walls are made of studs that are typically not covered in continuous insulation. This equates to having one entire wall of the home without insulation.
One of homeowners’ top concerns with siding is whether or not it will be long lasting and durable. Investing in the right siding insulation ensures that the installation will look great for years. There are three primary siding insulation options that homeowners are increasingly considering:
Contoured insulation products: These increase impact resistance, provide additional support to the siding panel, and ensure that the siding maintains a straight, consistent appearance over time.
Insulated vinyl siding: This has the low maintenance characteristics of vinyl siding and is paired with contoured foam insulation to fill the gap between the siding and the home. It provides increased energy efficiency and improved durability to give more support to the siding panel and helps to keep the siding seams tighter while maintaining a beautiful appearance.
Siding insulation with moisture management: There are specific insulation products (including some contoured and insulated vinyl siding) that contain grooves on the backside, which provide additional breathability and an extra layer of defense against moisture. If water makes its way behind the insulation, the built-in grooves channel that moisture down and away from the wall, eliminating the potential for moisture damage.
Today’s homebuyers are becoming more adventurous with their siding product selections. By selecting premium products, they get great looking exteriors with additional value and energy efficiency. Homebuilders who stay on top of the various siding innovations can bring more value to their customers and create homes that truly stand out for years to come.
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Jason Culpepper is Vice President of Progressive Foam Technologies.