I've been using vinyl on the affordable homes I've built over the last few decades for a couple of simple reasons. It is durable and it is inexpensive, so it frees up budget for energy improvements and high quality interior finishes.
Lately, I like insulated vinyl, and not because of the R value. The vinyl industry harps of the R-value of insulated siding, but I use it for aesthetic reasons.
Insulated siding has extruded polystyrene backing laminated onto every panel, which makes it a straight, more realistic plank, that lays flat on the wall. Better yet, it doesn't telegraph bumps and dips in the frame and sheathing.
— Fernando Pagés Ruiz is ProTradeCraft's Latin America Editor. He is currently building a business in Ecuador and a house in Mexico. Formerly, he was a builder in the Great Plains and mountain states. He is author of Building an Affordable House and Affordable Remodel (Taunton Press).