SEALING IT OFF
This week the garage/utility section of the building began to be sided. Although we were not able to inspect the siding in person it appears to be vinyl siding which was used on the apartment buildings that were constructed as part of the same overall project. This part of the building is likely going to be done first as it now is sealed off completely including the garage doors. The actual laundry facility is inside the unfinished side of the building.
PAVING THE WAY
This week the form work was laid out for many of the pathways that would lead up to the building entrances in the beginning of the week. Soon after, the crew began to pour concrete. Shown here is the back portion of the building later in the day after the concrete was poured. The walkway is essentially finished at this point; it would just need to be kept moist as it cures fully. The surface is floated, textured, the control joints have been cut and the edges shaped. The work was all done quickly as the cement truck only stayed for a short time. The concrete was not covered at the end of the day. Additionally, at the start of the week a rough driveway was added in front of the garage are before work began on the concrete areas.
Here is a view of the front of the workplace. As you can see the walkway forms stretch all the way across the front of the site and to the main gated entrance. Previous to the walkways they were using the area in front of the entrance to the building for staging materials. In the back you can see the rough driveway added that the truck is parked on top of. It leads almost to gated entrance of the site. An excavator was also brought in at the start of the week that moved around the soil and graded it properly for the walkways in the front and back. The tread marks are all over the soil here.
A tractor trailer truck showed up on Friday of this week to drop off the machines for the new laundry facility. After being unloaded from the truck they staged the machines just outside the break in the fence where the pathway from the above picture was. There were more machines off to the left side of the road and a small space left for traffic to drive through. The machines were here for a few hours before being moved inside the building.
What is Vinyl Siding?
Vinyl siding is a polymeric (made from plastic) type of exterior siding for structures. Vinyl siding was first produced for commercial purposes in the 1930s however it was not introduced to the market until the 1960s where it took almost another two decades to become more popular.
Vinyl siding was used on the new apartment buildings that were built just before the laundry facility. The same type of siding, after examining the construction site, is being used on the exterior of the laundry facility as well.
Image: Vinyl Siding Institute. House with Vinyl Siding. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.vinylsiding.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Napco-brd-battonWeb1.jpg
Properties of Vinyl Siding
There are many advantages and benefits to choosing vinyl siding over other options.
Given the dramatically increased popularity of vinyl siding particularly in the U.S. and Canada it has a come a long way since it was first invented. Today, according to the Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI) vinyl siding can be used for many popular styles of architecture and is adaptable to many house profiles. Vinyl siding can also be produced to have varying textures, colors, and styles of exterior sheathing.iii
Additionally, vinyl siding is strong and durable. Manufacturers build their modern vinyl siding to meet or exceed winds of 110mph and of course the other elements such as moisture, heat and cold. Conversely, this is all achieved with vinyl siding with no additional requirements like painting or staining.iv These are simply properties of the material and its design.
Image: Vinyl Siding Institute. Craftsman Style Vinyl Siding. (2016). Retrieved from: https://www.vinylsiding.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Craftsman-houseWeb1.jpg
INSULATE YOUR HOME
Vinyl siding also offers options for insulated side boards which are a huge plus for increasing the efficiency of a building’s insulation. To the right is an illustration of insulated vinyl siding panels. The insulation is acting as a barrier between the outside and the inside of the house as demonstrated by the red arrows.
The VSI states that “Wall studs account for up to 25 percent of every wall, which is like having an entire side of the house uninsulated.” By adding insulated vinyl siding to the exterior you are adding insulation to the area taken up by the studs (where there is no insulation and wood is a poor insulator) which raises the entire R-value of the wall by reducing thermal bridging through the studs.
Image: Vinyl Siding Institute. Vinyl Colonial. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.vinylsiding.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CTvinyluniversalt4colonialwhiteWeb1.jpg
The Vinyl Siding Institute itself offers a few certified programs both for the manufacturers of the product and the installers. These programs are known as the ‘VSI Product Certification Program’ and the ‘VSI Certified Installer Program’ which certify the integrity and quality of the manufacturers and the installers respectively. These programs ensure that there are options for consumers who are looking for quality products and reliable installers and delivers peace of mind because they know they are receiving quality product and service.
Image: Vinyl Siding Institute. Vinyl Roof Peaks. (2016). Retrieved from: https://www.vinylsiding.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/BBWeb1.jpg
A direct benefit of vinyl siding to the consumer is its low maintenance compared to traditional siding. Vinyl siding is very much a set-up and leave it product. There are many factors that make it easier but a few of the notable ones are that vinyl only requires soap and water to be cleaned, does not rot and does not need repainting. Another determining factor that could prove very beneficial especially for parts of the country is that with vinyl siding there are no concerns of insect damage.viii
As for the sustainability of the material, there has been sufficient research into vinyl siding and its environmental performance. The VSI has collected data from Life Cycle Assessments done by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Vinyl siding attains higher environmental performance than all materials except cedar siding but is not far behind.
One of the most important factors when deciding what is the right choice for the exterior is overall cost. For vinyl siding to be a suitable replacement to cedar it would have to be at least cost competitive with cedar siding. The VSI has collected the price per square foot for common exterior products and summarized them together on this chart. As you can see vinyl siding, including premium, is far cheaper than all other types.
https://www.vinylsiding.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Pinehurst-hotel11.jpgImage: Vinyl Siding Institute. Pinehurst Hotel. (2016). Retrieved from: