Is your home ready to stave off the winter cold? As the winter rolls around, the cold conditions will put your home’s sidings to the test. Upgrading or replacing old sidings can help lower your heating bills while keeping your household warm and toasty.
But can you install siding in the winter? Here’s what you need to know about timing when protecting your home’s siding.
The Winter Siding Dilemma: Balancing Act
The inclement weather makes installing siding during winter a balancing act. The effect of the frigid temperatures on the siding material and work environment makes the process challenging.
Some siding materials, such as vinyl, perform poorly if installed during extreme temperatures. A 12-foot vinyl plank will contract by as much as 0.5 inches during winter and expand to its original length as the temperature rises. You must cut the panels to accommodate the growth and shrinkage, especially when fitting them around window and door casing to avoid buckling.
At what temperature does vinyl warp? Vinyl siding expands when the temperature warms to 80 to 90 degrees and will buckle after encountering an obstacle, such as a window or door casing.
Ideally, the best time to install vinyl siding is spring or autumn—you’ll get the best results when the temperature is 35° F or warmer.
Choosing the Right Material
Your choice of siding material determines your winter comfort, insulation level, and energy consumption. Popular options include vinyl, engineered wood, and fiber-cement siding.
Hardboard and fiber-cement siding are more accommodating than vinyl for winter installations, as you can successfully install them in 20-degree weather or colder.
While wood is a popular siding choice, its durability is reliant on regular maintenance. Engineered wood performs better in inclement weather but is less durable than vinyl and fiber-cement siding.
James Hardie fiber cement siding is the most durable option because it’s fireproof and has 5x the thickness of a typical vinyl siding. However, vinyl and fiber cement siding are low maintenance and weatherproof to give your home years of protection.
While installing regular siding helps improve your home’s insulation capacity, insulated siding is far superior. They feature a solid-ridge foam backing to safeguard your home against heat loss. More importantly, insulated siding helps prevent thermal bridging, a form of heat loss facilitated by the wood studs in your walls.
Since wood studs comprise 25% of every wall in your home, they’re responsible for about 25% of your heat loss. Insulated vinyl siding prevents heat loss, can lower your annual heating bills by $70, and offers up to 80% return on investment.
The best siding will stand up to the elements and protect your home. Vinyl siding is resistant to insects, rot, and water damage and can withstand harsh weather. It’s less prone to fading, warping, and cracking.
Fiber cement can withstand extreme weather conditions and is less prone to shrinking, bending, and expanding. While engineered wood easily resists rot, insects, and moisture, it can only withstand moderate weather conditions.
Wall cladding comes in diverse styles and colors to help you customize your home’s appearance. Dark siding creates a beautiful contrast when your home’s external features are light-colored and vice versa. However, dark-colored sidings may have a shorter lifespan than lighter ones because they absorb a lot of heat. Unlike vinyl cladding, most sidings, including metal, wood, and fiber cement, are paintable. You can paint them any color as part of your home maintenance routine to fit the season and ensure durability.
The Art of Professionalism
Spring and fall are the best times to install vinyl siding in Joliet, IL, because of the favorable weather. Wintry conditions complicate the siding installation process on various fronts, including:
Besides the hazardous working conditions, winter siding installations are challenging because cold weather may damage the panels. Vinyl becomes brittle when temperatures drop below freezing, so they can’t be nailed to your walls. Any attempt to fix a frozen wall cladding would cause it to splinter into pieces, saddling you with huge losses.
Vinyl siding installers must cut the panels to the proper lengths to account for summer expansion and employ proper nailing techniques. Skilled experts leave a 1/16″ space between the nail and nailing fin for summer expansion. Improper nailing technique restricts movement and results in the siding bulging out.
Working in frigid weather can be life-threatening for contractors. If they don’t have proper winter gear, frostbite may set in at temperatures below 31 degrees. Unfortunately, wearing gear is usually heavy and uncomfortable. Workers may struggle to work in winter boots, jackets, gloves, and thermal wear. Ice patches also pose a risk and fall hazard as the workers lug heavy pieces around. They may also not get any work done due to weather delays. Contractors can’t do exterior work during a snowstorm or a snow-rain mix.
The unpredictable winter weather may pose a logistical nightmare and ruin the construction times. Heavy snowfalls may block the roads and deny contractors access to the job site. In such instances, communication during such time helps avoid confusion and inconveniences. Establishing a reliable communication strategy allows contractors to update their clients while tempering expectations. The best communication strategies cover multiple channels to improve customer experience.
Many obstacles may crop up during winter, negatively impacting project execution. Given the nature of the job, siding installers may only work on days with good weather. Contractors may often pause the work when the conditions become unbearable. Therefore, winter projects require flexible delivery times to accommodate unforeseen obstacles.
Weather-resilient planning is crucial to the success of any construction or renovation project. The process entails considering the weather conditions and their impact on the project’s materials, timelines, and overall success. Key factors to consider when planning a winter project include:
Closely watching the weather forecasts ensures better preparation and scheduling. It’s a reliable way to avoid working in unfavorable weather that could hinder or delay the installation work.
Flexible scheduling allows contractors to plan around inclement weather and ensure a smooth project implementation. Winter weather may change unexpectedly for the worse, forcing the team to adjust their plans on the fly.
Working in extreme weather conditions calls for sound contingency plans. It allows contractors to maximize their time while working on your house. For instance, your contractor may switch to interior projects such as window replacement when a severe storm is forecasted. A backup plan may mitigate potential damage to the materials while ensuring workers’ safety.
An open line of communication between contractors, homeowners, and other stakeholders helps ensure a smooth process. It allows contractors to provide regular updates and ensure everyone knows of the scheduling changes and adjustments due to bad weather. It enables contractors to adapt and overcome weather-related challenges.
Insulation and Moisture Barrier
Upgrading or replacing damaged wall cladding improves your home’s insulative capacity and creates a formidable moisture barrier. The sidings cover your walls and improve your home’s energy efficiency, potentially lowering your heating and cooling costs.
A moisture or vapor barrier helps protect your home’s structure from mold, water damage, and rot. It’s a waterproof material installed between the siding and sheathing to prevent moisture from infiltrating the home. Proper siding installation techniques, including taping and overlapping seams, help create an effective moisture barrier.
A thorough post-installation inspection helps ensure a flawless siding installation process (i.e., checking to see if the cladding was installed correctly and is up to building standards). It also allows the contractor to promptly identify and correct any issues or deficiencies with the wall cladding. The process entails visual inspections to identify gaps and assess the quality of workmanship, such as proper sealing around doors and the accuracy of siding cuts. The inspection process also verifies that the siding is fastened securely and optimized to prevent water infiltration and improve functionality.
How Will County Siding & Windows Can Help
Will County Siding and Windows specializes in residential siding and window replacement. We offer diverse wall claddings to protect your home from the elements while improving comfort. Our skilled team of experts handles siding repairs, upgrades, and installations in Joliet, Illinois, to help homeowners protect their investments.
Expertise in Winter Siding Installation
At Will County Windows and Siding, we have extensive experience and expertise in winter siding installation. We are also acutely aware of the hazards it poses. Our team regularly handles repairs during the coldest months. However, we don’t take complete home installation projects during winter.
Full home installations are often multi-day projects, making inclement weather a formidable challenge. If your wall cladding is damaged, we suggest throwing a tarp over the damaged section and scheduling an appointment. Our team will come to your home and assess your needs when weather conditions allow.
Need help with winter siding installation? Contact us today!