Siding or wall cladding in conjunction with siding services is the protective material attached to the exterior side of a wall of a house or other building. Along with the roof, it forms the first line of defense against the elements, most importantly sun, rain/snow, heat and cold, thus creating a stable, more comfortable environment on the interior side. The siding material and style also can enhance or detract from the building’s beauty. There is a wide and expanding variety of materials to side with, both natural and artificial, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Masonry walls such as do not require siding, but any wall can be sided. Walls that are internally framed, whether with wood two by fours, or steel I-beams, however, must always be sided, for obvious reasons.

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Most siding consists of pieces of weather-resistant material that are smaller than the wall they cover, to allow for expansion and contraction of the materials due to moisture and temperature changes. There are various styles of joining the pieces, from board and batton, where the butt joints between panels is covered with a thin strip (usually 1 to 2 inches wide) of wood, to a variety of clapboard, also called lap siding, in which planks are laid horizontally across the wall starting from the bottom, and building up, the board below overlapped by the board above it. These techniques of joinery are designed to prevent water from entering the walls. Siding that does not consist of pieces joined together would include stucco, which is widely used in the Southwest. It is a plaster-like siding and is applied over a lattice, just like plaster. However, because of the lack of joints, it eventually cracks and is susceptible to water damage. Rainscreen construction for siding services is used to improve siding’s ability to keep walls dry.

Insulated siding has emerged as a new siding category in recent years. Considered an improvement over vinyl siding, insulated siding is custom fit with expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) that is fused to the back of the siding, which fills the gap between the home and the siding.

Products provide environmental advantages by reducing energy use by up to 20 percent. On average, insulated siding products have an R-value of 3.96, triple that of other exterior cladding materials. Insulated siding products are typically Energy Star qualified, engineered in compliance with environmental standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

In addition to reducing energy consumption, insulated siding is a durable exterior product, designed to last more than 50 years, according to manufacturers. The foam provides rigidity for a more ding- and wind-resistant siding, maintaining a quality look for the life of the products. The foam backing also creates straighter lines when hung, providing a look more like that of wood siding, while remaining low maintenance.

Manufacturers report that insulated siding is permeable or “breathable”, allowing water vapor to escape, which can protect against rot, mold and mildew, and help maintain healthy indoor air quality.

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