LESLIE: We’re about to talk vinyl siding with James in New York. What’s going on and how can we help?
JAMES: Hi, Tom and Leslie. This is Jim from New York.
LESLIE: Hi, Jim.
TOM: How can we help you, Jim?
JAMES: Hi. Yeah, listen. I’m just curious. I have a question; like your opinion on – I’m considering a remodeling project on my home. And considering refacing the outside of the house with vinyl siding.
JAMES: But my real question is the – I’m considering the new – this new solid core vinyl siding material; you know, versus the traditional siding material that, you know, that includes the backer board …
JAMES: … or the foam board.
JAMES: Just wondering, really, what your opinion was on the solid core vinyl siding and if there were any advantages or disadvantages of that versus, you know, the traditional hollow core siding material.
TOM: Well, when you say solid vinyl siding are you talking about one that has an insulation product built into it?
JAMES: That’s correct.
TOM: Alright. Well, generally speaking, I don’t have a high opinion of insulation as part of the vinyl siding project. And the reason for that is because the insulation in the siding, even when they use those backer boards, adds so little to the overall energy efficiency of the wall that it’s generally not worth the expense. Now, having said that, there could be any other benefits to this more solid product and that is you may have a bit less warping and twisting and some of the other things about vinyl that, you know, don’t make it look so hot sometimes.
TOM: But in terms of insulation, I would take the energy efficiency out of the financial equation. If you like it for all the other reasons, buy it. If you’re liking it because you think it’s going to save you money, forget it because it probably won’t. The added cost usually doesn’t make sense.
LESLIE: A little bit of what I’ve seen about the differences, as well as that, this new solid core ups the impact resistancy as well by sometimes up to 300 percent. So if you ever get any hail or, you know, kids playing with balls around the property – and I think they’re also more low-maintenance; whereas with traditional siding you would have to replace it over time, the newer solid core tends to be a lot more durable from what I’ve read. The solid core also carries the Energy Star label which, again, if you do this work to your home within ’07, you can file for the tax credit at the end of the year.
TOM: How much more expensive is this over traditional vinyl?
JAMES: You know what? It’s about a wash. I’m comparing it …
TOM: Oh, really?
TOM: If it’s a wash …
JAMES: It’s a wash.
TOM: … then I wouldn’t – then I don’t think there’s any reason to not do it. If they were charging you a lot more money because of the insulation elements, that’s what concerns me because a lot of the siding contractors are really marking this up to the point where it’s not possibly going to be cost effective. You would never get a return on investment. But if it’s the same price as regular vinyl, then do it. Like we said, there are other advantages to it. You know, it’s different. It has more impact resistance.
LESLIE: Well it’s going to lay nicer as well. And it’s then easier to install if you don’t have to worry about any sort of unevenness with the exterior.
JAMES: Right. Now certainly a concern of mine was the look of the material on the house. So right now I have real wood cedar shake on the house and I’m really trying to find something that’s as close to at least, you know, the real thing or looks like wood as possible and this seems to be the closest.
TOM: Well, I will tell you that if you’re looking for something that looks like wood you ought to look at hardy plank. I put hardy plank on my home and I have a very old home with wood siding and we built a garage and we put hardy plank on the garage. And the siding there looks just like the real wood shingles. It’s hard to really tell it apart, James.
JAMES: OK. Good advice.
TOM: Alright, James. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.