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Questions about new siding and exterior insulation

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  • Oct 18th, 2020 9:09 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 29, 2019
46 posts
1 upvote
Lower Laurentians

Questions about new siding and exterior insulation

Hi everybody! This summer we are going to change the siding and exterior insulation of our 1974 bungalow, and we have a couple of questions if you can help us:

1. Siding: We are going to use vinyl and stone. For the stone it seems all the contractors we met are going to use "Beonstone", and we are fine with it. But for the vinyl we have several options: Mitten, Gentek, Kaycan and Batiment Royal. Do you recommend any of this vinyl brands over the rest?

2. Exterior insulation: Here basically we have two different options. We have contractors that want to put 1 ½ inches of rigid panels (R7 aprox) and say putting more than that is impossible, too much or not worthy. Also, these contractors say using urethane for exterior insulation is bad, because the house won't breathe (we installed an HRV on 2019). Then we have contractors that say we should put at least 2 inches of urethane, up to 4 inches. Our plan right now is to put 3 ½ of urethane (R20 aprox). We already spent one winter in this house and is really really cold (it's located in Laurentides, Quebec), so we prefer spend our money in insulation better than on the hydro bill. Our basement right now is R20 and our attic is R21 (but we plan to improve it to R50 o R60 before the winter using fiberglass). So the question is: if we put 3 ½ of urethane on the exterior walls is it true the house won't breath, is too much, overkill etc?

Thanks for the help guys!
27 replies
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
9442 posts
4886 upvotes
Paris
I can’t comment on the breathing thing as I’ve heard arguments both ways and I’m not sure either of them make sense.

As for the vinyl, all of the companies listed make good vinyl, and all of them make thin builder grade crap. So it doesn’t much matter which one you use so long as you are buying their mid to top tier vinyl which doesn’t oil can. Darker colours are automatically the better stuff.
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 29, 2019
46 posts
1 upvote
Lower Laurentians
Jerico wrote: Darker colours are automatically the better stuff.
Thanks for your answer! Could you provide more info about "Darker colours are automatically the better stuff"?
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
9442 posts
4886 upvotes
Paris
Deadmaggot wrote: Thanks for your answer! Could you provide more info about "Darker colours are automatically the better stuff"?
They dont make builder grade in darker colours as its already prone to oil canning with a light colour. With a dark colour it would look like crap from oil canning inside the builder warranty which is typically 1-2 years. So you need thicker, better vinyl for darker colours.
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 29, 2019
46 posts
1 upvote
Lower Laurentians
Ah, I see, thanks for the advice!
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 29, 2019
46 posts
1 upvote
Lower Laurentians
Up to try to get more answers!
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
9442 posts
4886 upvotes
Paris
My other comment on adding 3.5” is how are you going to reframe your windows and doors? They will all need to be built out and capped, or moved out and new jambs inside.
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 29, 2019
46 posts
1 upvote
Lower Laurentians
We are going to replace all the doors (2 in total). For the windows they will built out + cap all of them (as I understood it, since they didn't use that specific terminology). The company installing the siding, putting the studs for the urethane and installing the doors is the same. The only other different company we will use will be to shoot the urethane (so 2 companies in total) to avoid possible problems related to doors/windows/siding.

@Jerico Going back to the vinyl, which of this "tiers" for Royal do you recommend?: Woodland, Estate, Residential or Royal Crest?
Newbie
Mar 11, 2008
48 posts
39 upvotes
BC
"Breathing" is probably a weird way to put it, but there are possible concerns with rigid insulation if you have a poly vapor barrier on the interior (which most houses in Canada have). The issue is, with some types of foams (particularly those with foil or plastic facing), you are more or less installing a 2nd vapor barrier on the outside which can create a moisture trap in the wall. In a typical wall construction in Canada, normally any small bits of moisture or humidity that get into a wall assembly will dry towards the outside. But if your exterior insulation is too impermeable, it can prevent that drying, theoretically at least.

I don't know how big of an issue it is in practice, as there are certainly lots of houses in Canada with exterior insulation, but if it's something you can mitigate without spending much more money I'd consider that. Rockwool (something like Comfortboard 110) or unfaced EPS insulation can achieve fairly similar R values as XPS or faced EPS without any kind of moister barrier concerns, since they're still quite permeable even at 4" thicknesses.

Though reading it again, are you talking about spray foam on the outside? That seems kind of strange and not very cost effective.
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 29, 2019
46 posts
1 upvote
Lower Laurentians
opendoor wrote: Though reading it again, are you talking about spray foam on the outside? That seems kind of strange and not very cost effective.
Yeah, I'm talking about spray foam (half of the contractors suggested it, whereas the other half preferred rigid panels). What would be the problem with spray foam? (Not taking into consideration the price)
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
9442 posts
4886 upvotes
Paris
Deadmaggot wrote: We are going to replace all the doors (2 in total). For the windows they will built out + cap all of them (as I understood it, since they didn't use that specific terminology). The company installing the siding, putting the studs for the urethane and installing the doors is the same. The only other different company we will use will be to shoot the urethane (so 2 companies in total) to avoid possible problems related to doors/windows/siding.

@Jerico Going back to the vinyl, which of this "tiers" for Royal do you recommend?: Woodland, Estate, Residential or Royal Crest?
I don’t know Royal’s lineup, sorry
Newbie
Mar 11, 2008
48 posts
39 upvotes
BC
Deadmaggot wrote: Yeah, I'm talking about spray foam (half of the contractors suggested it, whereas the other half preferred rigid panels). What would be the problem with spray foam? (Not taking into consideration the price)
I don't know enough about the subject to say that there would be a problem with spray foam per se, it just seems like a weird option. Spray foam excels in situations where you need maximum R-Value per inch and rigid foam is impractical, where you're working in an awkward area with lots of obstacles (like rim joists) and spray foam will expand to fill all of the voids, and/or where you want an excellent vapor + air barrier that's less easily done with other means (again, usually in awkward areas). A building's exterior when you're re-siding it doesn't really fit any of that criteria.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 10, 2008
4736 posts
1240 upvotes
You want R10 minimum on the exterior. EPS or XPS is fine, but XPS will be a lot thinner.
Let's hug it out
Deal Addict
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Dec 10, 2008
4736 posts
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I have Royal Estate Double 4 in Marine Blue, ask away if you have any questions about it.
Let's hug it out
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 29, 2019
46 posts
1 upvote
Lower Laurentians
opendoor wrote: A building's exterior when you're re-siding it doesn't really fit any of that criteria.
Thanks for the info! I'll talk with our contractor before he starts (the job is schedule in 2 months anyway, but I want to have all planned beforehand)
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 29, 2019
46 posts
1 upvote
Lower Laurentians
RCGA wrote: I have Royal Estate Double 4 in Marine Blue, ask away if you have any questions about it.
Let's say we decide to use XPS, will it be better to reach R20 using XPS or R20 using spray foam? Several contractors told us "because of the nails" more than 1 ½ inches of XPS is not doable (around R7). We'd like to have around R20 on the exterior because we don't plan to insulate from inside.

About Royal Estate, why did you choose Estate over the other "tiers"? Thanks!
Deal Addict
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Dec 10, 2008
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Deadmaggot wrote: Let's say we decide to use XPS, will it be better to reach R20 using XPS or R20 using spray foam? Several contractors told us "because of the nails" more than 1 ½ inches of XPS is not doable (around R7). We'd like to have around R20 on the exterior because we don't plan to insulate from inside.

About Royal Estate, why did you choose Estate over the other "tiers"? Thanks!
I'd go:

Wood sheathing
Tyvek
2" XPS
1x4 strapping
Vinyl siding

I believe they install 2" XPS with 3.5" galvanized nails with washers and then screw the strapping in the studs. Any contractor who says 2" foam is too thick is an idiot. They sell a nail that will do through any thickness of foam you can afford.

Why aren't you doing insulation inside?

We went with Estate because of the availability and it was premium enough. I didn't see the benefit in spending more for the Woodland line.
Let's hug it out
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
3093 posts
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Toronto
We put Mitten on our cottage a few years ago and are very happy with it. Don't recall the color but it's a close match to the Gentek 'Sable' aluminum we used on the eaves and soffit.

I was sold on vinyl when we removed the old beige material which had been there since 1992.

No house wrap under it, incomplete coverage of roofing paper for some reason in the middle of the wall, and the sheathing (thin OSB) was in perfect condition.

And yeah, I framed the mudroom wall in for full windows just in case in the future we decide to forgo some of the storage and want to make it brighter.
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[OP]
Newbie
Oct 29, 2019
46 posts
1 upvote
Lower Laurentians
Thanks for the detailed explanation! I'll talk about this with the contractor.

The exterior of the house really needs a revamp and additionally the house is very cold. We don't want to spend next winter cold at our place like last winter, that's why changing the siding+insulation "kills two birds with one stone". We don't plan to redo the interior not in the next 5 years at least, that's why insulation from inside is not an option right now.
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 29, 2019
46 posts
1 upvote
Lower Laurentians
torontotim wrote: We put Mitten on our cottage a few years ago and are very happy with it.
Thanks for the info and beautiful cottage!

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