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    What is Composite Siding? History and Benefits Explained

    When you hear a siding is made from “composite material” you may think of wood composites, fiberglass composites or something that looks like composite decking. According to American Composites Manufacturers Association, a composite material is a combination of two or more distinct materials, each with its own distinguishing properties, combined to create a new material with enhanced performance characteristics that’s often stronger than either material was individually. 

    These components may include fibers, resins, reinforced concrete and masonry and composite wood such as plywood. They can also include reinforced plastics, such as fiber-reinforced polymer or fiberglass, ceramic matrix composites (composite ceramic and metal matrices) and metal matrix composites. 

    In the context of building products, composite materials are used to create stronger, lighter and more durable structures that can withstand harsh environmental conditions.  

    A Brief History of Composite Materials 

    Composite materials have been used in construction for centuries, with the earliest examples dating to ancient Egypt and Rome. But it wasn’t until the 20th century that composite materials grew in complexity and availability, as advances in technology allowed for the development of upgraded, sturdier (and often more sustainable) materials. Now, composite materials are used in a wide range of applications, including siding and trim. 

    When it comes to siding and trim, composite materials have been used for a few decades. In the early days, composites were primarily associated with wood composites, which were used as an alternative to solid wood boards and plywood. These early composites were used in a variety of applications, and some worked better than others. 

    Oriented strand board (OSB) is an example of a wood composite that worked particularly well, even from early on. OSB is compressed layers of wood strands bound chemically together with resin, which creates a durable material ideal for use in construction. OSB is used today, particularly in roofing and subflooring applications.  

    Another type of wood composite popular in the mid-20th century was hardboard. Hardboard is made by compressing wood fibers together with resin, creating a dense and smooth material often used for paneling and siding. But, as the market moved away from wood-based composites, hardboard fell out of favor. 

    In the 1990s, a new type of composite material emerged: wood-plastic composites (WPCs). WPCs are made by mixing plastic with wood fibers, creating a material that is both durable and eco-friendly. 

    Wood-plastic composites were initially used for decking, but they have since found their way into a wide range of applications, including siding and trim. While WPCs have proven to be a popular choice for siding and trim, they have their drawbacks.  

    Primarily, the use of unrecycled plastic in these materials can be harmful to the environment, and many of the early WPCs were prone to excessive expansion and contraction. They warp and fade over time, which reduces their durability and aesthetic appeal. 

    Where Composites Are Today 

    Recently, RISE came into the picture with a modern composite made from 94% recycled synthetic fibers. RISE established a manufacturing process that addresses many of the shortfalls of prior composites, but also displays the longevity and durability expected of the next generation of modern composite materials. This innovative material is eco-friendly, durable and beautiful, which makes it an ideal choice for homeowners and contractors alike.  

    Water damage was the persistent drag on composites before RISE. Water damage denied homeowners the ability to apply siding that had ground contact and forced them to think twice when building in areas with hefty rain or snow totals or high humidity.  

    RISE created a siding and trim product with incidental ground contact capability and 20-foot board lengths, which give homeowners a seamless aesthetic that performs in any weather conditions. 

    RISE didn’t settle on a material that was just aesthetic and durable; the company pushed the envelope by prioritizing sustainability in its manufacturing process, positioning RISE as a key player in the circular economy.  

    By repurposing synthetic fibers that would otherwise add to a landfill, RISE is able to create a material that is both eco-friendly and long-lasting. This is a major advantage over other traditional siding and trim materials, which often require the use of virgin materials that may not be recyclable at the end of their life, and whose manufacturing processes have a significant impact on the environment.  

    With a multitude of color options, RISE can offer a prefinish that will help protect the siding for years to come, allowing homeowners to choose from a variety of vibrant colors that perfectly match their style and allowing contractors to earn trust and credibility with their clients.   

    (RISE has also partnered with renowned prefinishers to offer an even wider variety of colors including two tones or stain look options.) 

    While RISE is certainly game-changing material, it is not the only composite material on the market. Other popular options include fiber cement, engineered woods and traditional WPCs. But RISE sets itself apart from these materials with its sourcing and manufacturing process, ushering in the new age of modern composites in building products.  

    Sustainability is extremely uncommon in this industry, and RISE has shown that homeowners and contractors don’t have to tear down and destroy just to build. 

    FAQs about Composite Siding

    What is composite siding?

    Composite siding is a combination of materials that create a durable and strong exterior cladding for buildings.

    What are the advantages of composite siding?

    Composite siding offers enhanced performance, durability, and resistance to harsh environmental conditions compared to traditional materials.

    What are the types of composite materials used in siding?

    Common types include wood composites, fiberglass composites, and modern options like RISE, which prioritizes sustainability.

    Is composite siding eco-friendly?

    Yes, some composite sidings, like RISE, utilize recycled materials and sustainable manufacturing processes.

    How does composite siding compare to traditional materials?

    Composite siding is often stronger, lighter, and more durable than traditional materials like wood or vinyl siding.

    Can composite siding withstand water damage?

    Modern composite sidings, such as RISE, are designed to resist water damage, making them suitable for areas with heavy rain or snow.

    What is the lifespan of composite siding?

    The lifespan varies depending on the specific material, but composite siding generally offers long-lasting performance and durability.

    Can composite siding be customized?

    Yes, composite siding comes in a variety of colors and finishes, allowing homeowners to choose options that match their style.

    How does composite siding contribute to sustainability?

    By utilizing recycled materials and sustainable manufacturing processes, composite siding reduces waste and environmental impact.

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