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Vinyl Siding vs. Insulated Vinyl Siding: How They Differ

Apr. 10, 2024

Choosing the right siding material for your home is an important decision that can impact both its appearance and energy efficiency. Two popular options available in the market are vinyl siding and insulated vinyl siding. While both offer advantages, understanding the differences between the two can help you make an informed decision that best suits your needs and preferences.

Composition and Construction

Before delving into the differences, it's essential to understand the basic composition and construction of vinyl siding and insulated vinyl siding:

  • Vinyl Siding: Traditional vinyl siding is typically made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin. It consists of panels with interlocking edges that are installed horizontally along the exterior walls of a building. While vinyl siding provides a durable and low-maintenance exterior cladding solution, it offers minimal insulation properties.

  • Insulated Vinyl Siding: Insulated vinyl siding features a layer of foam insulation attached to the back of each siding panel. This additional layer of insulation helps improve the energy efficiency of the home by reducing heat transfer through the walls. Insulated vinyl siding is available in various thicknesses to provide different levels of insulation.

    Insulated Siding Systems

Insulated Siding Systems

Key Differences

Now let's explore the main differences between vinyl siding and insulated vinyl siding:

  • Insulation: The most significant difference between the two is the presence of insulation. While traditional vinyl siding offers minimal insulation properties, insulated vinyl siding provides enhanced thermal performance, helping to reduce energy consumption and maintain indoor comfort levels.

  • R-Value: Insulated vinyl siding typically has a higher R-value compared to traditional vinyl siding. R-value measures the thermal resistance of a material, indicating its ability to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation performance.

  • Energy Efficiency: Insulated vinyl siding contributes to improved energy efficiency by reducing thermal bridging and heat loss through the walls. This can lead to lower heating and cooling costs over time, making it a more cost-effective option for homeowners concerned about energy consumption.

  • Thickness: Insulated vinyl siding is generally thicker and heavier than traditional vinyl siding due to the additional layer of insulation. While this may impact installation and handling, it can also result in a more substantial and durable siding system.

  • Cost: Insulated vinyl siding tends to be more expensive than traditional vinyl siding due to the added insulation material. However, the long-term energy savings and potential increase in home value may offset the initial investment for some homeowners.

Benefits of Each Option

Both vinyl siding and insulated vinyl siding offer unique benefits depending on your specific needs and priorities:

  • Vinyl Siding:

    • Cost-effective option for homeowners on a budget

    • Durable and low-maintenance exterior cladding

    • Wide range of colors and styles available

  • Insulated Vinyl Siding:

    • Enhanced energy efficiency and thermal performance

    • Improved indoor comfort and temperature regulation

    • Potential for long-term energy savings

    • Increased sound insulation properties


When choosing between vinyl siding and insulated vinyl siding, consider factors such as energy efficiency, cost, durability, and aesthetic preferences. While traditional vinyl siding may be suitable for some homeowners, others may benefit from the added insulation and thermal performance offered by insulated vinyl siding. Ultimately, selecting the right siding option depends on your individual needs and priorities.

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