Home Improvement--General/Vinyl Siding

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Question
Can you tell me which lines of vinyl siding would be best in a cold climate (northernmost NYS) - small one story home in a very modest neighborhood?
    Consumer Reports rates only two as average for cold impact (the rest are below average) - Mastic Structure and Heartland CedarMaxx, but the cost may not be wise for the neighborhood (about $200 per 100 sq ft).  Their Best Buy ratings: Heartland Heart Tech and Revere Sovereign. Of course, they don't rate all brands or lines within brands.
   Assume big box stores are not the best?  Local lumberyard carries Georgia Pacific, also not good?
   Assume rigidity important in this climate?
Thank you!
(I am asking you and one other expert - hope that's acceptable.)

Answer
Ann,

All vinyl siding is susceptible to impact damage, but only if impact is an issue.  

If you have an area of your house that will be subjected to frequent impact in the winter, then vinyl may be inappropriate for this particular area.  Here, you may want to install a special area of fiber-cement siding, or something similar.  The remainder of the house can be covered with any mid to high priced vinyl siding.  

Most vinyl lines will have three or more price point levels.  Avoid the low end.  The mid level is generally a solid product meant to last for a substantial time.  Avoid dark colors, they will generally fade on areas with high sun exposure, and the difference between shaded areas and sun areas will show over time.  

Big-box stores will not always carry the range that a siding supplier will. Go to a roofing/siding showroom that is used by contractors in your area and ask to look at the siding choices. They will usually carry siding that works well in the local climate.  When you see them and feel them, the differences between price levels will be obvious.  

I'm sorry that I can't recommend a specific brand.  These products change so often that it is impossible to keep up.  I do just what I describe above.   Be aware that manufacturer's claims are pretty much slanted in their own favor.  

Rigidity in the north is generally not a big concern.  Cold siding is rigid, and if properly nailed, it is a non-issue anyhow.  

Best of luck, and please feel free to ask any follow-up questions.

--Steve Major

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Steve Major (Owner - Major Design Group)

Expertise

I can answer any questions regarding the design and execution of home improvement and remodeling. This includes trade-specific questions (how-to) in all major building trades: framing, foundations, site prep, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, water treatment, interior finishing, trim & cabinetwork, exterior finishing, roofing, siding. PLEASE indicate your state or region, so I can provide the best possible answer. PLEASE provide photos whenever possible.

Experience

30 years experience in home improvement design and construction, all hands-on, including the construction of dozens of single-family homes and hundreds of remodeling projects in the northeastern US.

Publications
Author: "Architectural Woodwork - Details for Construction" published by Van Nostrand Reinhold (now Wiley).

Education/Credentials
BS -- Cornell University

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