As the winter slowly approaches, you might be considering a vinyl siding installation for your home improvement project to help enhance the value and appearance of your home, not to mention its energy efficiency and insulation performance at a fraction of a cost.
But there are a few factors that should be taken into consideration while addressing this project to ensure you’re making the right choice and not regret it down the road.
In this article, you’ll read about every aspect you have to look into when installing vinyl siding in the winter, including the vinyl siding types, their pros and cons, and tips to help you have a great installation process.
What is Vinyl Siding and How is it Made?
Vinyl Siding is a durable, lightweight, and engineered plastic, which is primarily made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Resin. It’s commonly used as an exterior cladding product for weatherproofing and enhancing the value and appearance of both residential and commercial buildings.
Vinyl Siding is usually designed to replicate the appearance of natural wood siding and manufactured in a wide selection of designs, styles, and color options. This type of siding is made of two layers—with its top layer, also referred to as capstock, is comprised of 10% titanium dioxide and 90% vinyl.
The top layer takes up ¼ of the total vinyl siding thickness, and the amount of titanium dioxide determines how light or dark the final color of the vinyl siding is.
The lower layer, also called the substrate, is made of 15% ground limestone (calcium carbonate) and 85% vinyl resin, and it takes up ¾ of the total thickness of the vinyl siding. The limestone balances the titanium dioxide incorporated in the top layer to keep both layers fluid throughout the manufacturing process.
The two layers are fused through a continuous process called extrusion, which is done by forcing the material under pressure through a predefined die to create the desired shape or a cross-section profile.
Types of Vinyl Siding
Vinyl Siding comes in three main types available, namely Horizontal or Clapboard Siding, Vertical or Board and Batten, and Cedar Shake Siding. Under each general type are the various styling options available in different thicknesses, colors, textures, and length variations.
The other types of Vinyl Siding include Insulated Vinyl Siding and Vinyl Log Siding.
- Horizontal or Clapboard Siding
Horizontal, known as Clapboard Siding, is sometimes referred to as Traditional Lap Siding. This type of vinyl siding runs horizontally from end to end across your house, hence the name Horizontal Siding. It is composed of long, horizontal planks that are designed to overlay over one another, creating a clean and neat siding.
The different main types of Horizontal Siding include Smooth, Lap, Dutch Lap, and Beaded Horizontal Siding.
- Vertical or Board and Batten
Vertical Vinyl Siding is referred to as Board and Batten Siding, which is a type of vinyl siding that runs horizontally or up and down the house. It is also sometimes referred to as barn siding because it’s commonly used in barns and farmhouses.
It is made up of wide boards and battens (smaller boars) that are alternating. These boards seal the gaps or seams in-between the boards, making them a popular vinyl siding type to homeowners due to their weather-tight properties.
Due to its design, a vertical vinyl siding is great at keeping the cold out of the house and can withstand harsh weather and climate conditions.
- Cedar Shake Siding
Vinyl Cedar Shake Siding comes in two styles, namely straight-bottom and staggered bottom. It is designed to resemble the look of authentic cedar wood shakes and is available in various profiles or heights.
This type of vinyl siding is very popular for homeowners who prefer a rustic look for their house.
Pros and Cons of Installing Vinyl Siding in the Winter
Installing vinyl siding during winter may seem challenging at first due to all the factors you have to take into consideration. Go over the pros and cons of installing vinyl siding in the winter to help you decide if it’s worth doing or not.
One of the benefits of installing vinyl siding in the winter is the convenient scheduling of installation as contractors during this time of the year are more available. Winter is a much slower time for them compared to springtime or warmer months when they are more likely to be overscheduled.
The turnaround of the installation process is likely to be much faster and easier too. Since there’s a decrease in the demand in the winter, you’ll also likely enjoy cost-effective services as contractors are more willing to negotiate cheaper rates.
Moreover, you avoid the effects of summer heat on vinyl siding during springtime or warmer months, which can cause damages and a tough installation process as vinyl is prone to expanding when exposed to extreme heat, causing the vinyl siding to buckle during installation.
Another benefit of installing vinyl siding in the winter is enhanced energy efficiency and insulation of your house, as it helps maintain a consistent temperature by keeping the heat inside. It also helps lower your utility bills and energy consumption.
One of the disadvantages of installing vinyl siding in the winter is the challenges the contractors might face as they are required to wear gear, such as jackets, thermal wear, gloves, and boots to protect themselves from frigid temperatures. If there’s also an excessive buildup of snow, the installation can be delayed by hours or even days until it’s safer to work.
Moreover, cold temperature affects the vinyl siding, making it brittle and more prone to cracking upon nailing. Installing vinyl siding also requires an ideal temperature for optimal performance—about around 40 to 50 degrees to prevent damages to the material.
Vinyl siding also contracts or shrinks in the cold, which can cause issues as it expands in warmer months.
Tips for Installing Vinyl Siding in the Winter
Before installing the vinyl siding, make sure to cut to size about half an inch to three-quarters of an inch short to allow additional expansion space for the material when the summer months arrive and avoid problems, such as warping if it’s too tight.
There must be enough movement or play when you lift the vinyl siding to check if it’s the correct size. Before nailing the vinyl siding, you can use a heat gun with a spreader attachment to warm the siding evenly. It will also reduce the chances of breakage or cracks when nailing it.
During the nailing process, your very first nail must sit right at the top of one of the ring or nail channels so that the vinyl siding is in place when you pull it up.
The other nails should be in-between the nail slots and make sure they have spacing to allow movement as it expands and contracts during temperature changes. It will also reduce the risk of warping and binding up down the road.
One of the most common questions often asked when the colder season is approaching is, “Can you install vinyl siding in the winter?” And the answer to that is: Yes! You can!
But there are certain parameters and restrictions to keep in mind, such as a much more lengthy installation process since there is less sunlight and working hours during winter.
Snow buildup and the frigid temperature can also affect the contractors, making the installation harder. Also, the cold temperature can make the vinyl siding brittle and more prone to cracks.
Overall, installing vinyl siding in the winter may have its challenges, but it can still be done with proper care of vinyl siding materials and hiring a knowledgeable and professional siding contractor.