Ply Gem Siding Group has enhanced its initial SolarDefense Reflective Technology, a system available on select dark vinyl siding from the Mastic by Ply Gem product line. The new formulation is designed to improve on the functionality of the existing system, with stronger light reflection and heat-resistance than its predecessor.

“When we launched the first product, we were out looking at basically what failures of vinyl siding were, and where they occurred,” says Dan Parks, senior product manager of vinyl building products at Ply Gem. “So we knew that as colors were getting darker, we needed to up the game. We started to develop technology that would resist a lot more fading and obviously withstand more heat.

“That was the original premise, and it still is,” Parks added. “We didn’t abandon our strategy; we built on it. We went back and said, “How do we take this, how do we make the distortion point even higher? What do we need to do from a science standpoint to try to resolve even more problems than the original product resolved?””

The patent-pending SolarDefense Reflective Technology incorporates three protective layers. The top layer, a high-grade proprietary polymer, is designed to resist heat, UV radiation, fading, and oxidization. According to Parks, the top layer has been modified to allow more infrared energy through to the lower layers. “It’s a little tricky to balance because you want the color to be opaque, which it is to the eye,” he says. “But you also want the parts of the sun’s energy that you can’t see to get through so it can hit our second layer.”

New cooling compounds in the middle layer scatter light energy to reflect more heat. “That [second] layer is designed to do a very good job of reflecting infrared energy. And it can get back out of the exterior cover layer, because if you reflect that infrared energy, you keep the panel cooler,” says Parks.

The third layer has been reformulated to withstand more heat than the previous iteration could, and to raise the entire panel’s distortion point. “We went back and reformulated using some very unique ingredients in layer number three,” Park says, “that raise the distortion point of our siding significantly above where vinyl siding is. So when you put them all together, we’re controlling fade on exterior, reflecting infrared energy, and in layer three we have raised how high a panel can withstand before it distorts. It took a lot of work to get there, but it’s significant changes over where we were before.”

Alongside the technology upgrade, the SolarDefense Reflective Technology is now available in five new siding colors, bringing the total up to ten. All ten shades are rich, dark hues, spanning brown, red, dark blue, and dark gray. Dark color trends in vinyl siding over the past ten years drove Ply Gem not only to develop the SolarDefense Reflective Technology, but to enhance its protective properties.

“We understood that we had to develop a science, we had to keep dark colors from getting as hot as they would by themselves. Think about putting a dark red piece of steel out in the sun. It’s going to get extremely hot unless you do a lot of work to it to try and reflect as much of that heat and the sun’s energy as you can,” Parks says.

While this exact technology is formulated for use in vinyl siding, Parks does believe that it may have applications for other Ply Gem products. “We see ourselves, based on market acceptance, taking parts of the technology as we need to and maybe making a number of things. It could someday be in shake, could someday be in steel siding,” he says.

Overall, Ply Gem anticipates a positive response to this enhanced product from the market, just as there was for the first launch of the SolarDefense Reflective System. “It was clear that from a builder prospective or from an in-home sales perspective that consumers were asking for it and liked it because it made them feel confident. And it was clear from the financial numbers that we derived from it.”

The Mastic by Ply Gem siding with SolarDefense reflective technology is backed by a no-fade, no-warp promise, and is now available through local distributors. plygem.com

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