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  • Writer's pictureMatt Weber

Polymeric Siding for the Win

The HIR staff received a press announcement about a prestigious award won by a home clad with "polymeric siding and trim."

Two things caught our attention. First, we actually toured the house in person last January at the 2020 International Builders' Show in Las Vegas, where it was on display to exhibit new trends in home construction.

Second, what does "polymeric cladding" mean? We've seen this term used with increasing frequency by manufacturers, although not by contractors or homeowners who still tend to stick the with the traditional terms "vinyl siding and trim." For clarification, we turned to the experts at the Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI).

We learned that "polymeric cladding" is an industry term--call it an "umbrella" term--which refers to a variety of materials, from traditional vinyl to solid polyash siding that cuts like wood. The category consists of recent introductions, including injection-molded polypropylene shakes and insulated siding that provides significant R-value. Vinyl siding includes hundreds of fade-resistant colors and shapes that reproduce almost all the traditional siding profiles, from beaded to vertical.

Home builders can use the wide range of available styles and shapes of these exterior products to design houses in broad array of architectural designs, including Craftsman, Folk Victorian, Mission, Foursquare, Georgian, Neo-classical and more.

The award was given to a Mid-Century Modern Home, "The Modern House," designed by Andrés Duany, an American architect, urban planner and founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism. The display home was awarded a 2020 Urban Guild Award in the Design Exploration category. Duany’s Mid-Century Modern Home consists of two modules combined into 1,650 square feet of living area, with a flat roof profile that accommodates 10-foot ceilings.

Sustainable elements include enhanced insulation and energy-efficient mechanical systems and appliances. Natural light streams through five sliding glass doors placed along parallel walls to create openness. Four precast concrete T-rails set on a gravel bed provide the innovative foundation.

According to Duany: “One challenge for today's designers and builders is finding durable modern materials that authentically reproduce the traditional materials used in New Urbanist architecture. Enter industrial polymers and composites that can replicate virtually any architectural shape, from American siding profiles to classically inspired trim. These products also provide labor-saving benefits for the builder, as these products combine the tasks of multiple trades into a single application.”

Complementing the siding, manufacturers provide a rich, millwork catalog of moldings ranging from windowsills and pediments to the embellishments of classical architecture. Duany adds: “The goal with these continued innovations is to help designers and planners work within the limitations of the construction industry while taking advantage of building material innovations that add value to traditional neighborhood developments (TNDs).”

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