If you're looking for the pros and cons of aluminum siding, we've got you covered. Since the 1930s, aluminum has been a common and affordable material for siding. Although not as popular today, it's still used in home construction on a semi-regular basis.
Aluminum is durable, damage-resistant, and low-maintenance, which is what makes it attractive for siding even by today's standards.
Better yet, its design and appearance have improved over time, allowing for many varieties of this siding to be aesthetically available. Its energy efficiency and recyclable nature have also made it a favorite pick by the environmentally conscious.
At the same time, it's not without its downsides! Aluminum siding dents and scratches easily and it's a hassle to repair and refurbish. It also still lacks aesthetic value, and as a metal, it can be quite noisy when it expands and contracts.
So, is aluminum siding right for you? Let's find out! Here are the pros and cons of aluminum siding.
9 Pros And Cons Of Aluminum Siding You Need To Know
Pros Of Aluminum Siding
1. It's energy-efficient
Aluminum is surprisingly energy-efficient and, as far as siding materials go, is quite eco-friendly. If you deal with very hot or very cold months, the material can be a good choice for insulation, especially at heavier gauges.
Bare aluminum already has a .61 R-Value, which can go up to 5 with additional insulation. This allows for good protection against the summer heat and sufficient toasty warmth in the winter.
On top of that, aluminum siding is 100% recyclable and is made from recycled material. It's right next to steel when it comes to the world's most recycled metals.
If you're concerned about your ecological footprint, this type of siding is a great place to start. None of it should ever end up in a landfill.
2. It doesn't require a lot of maintenance
Aluminum is a low-maintenance material for siding. It only needs to be rinsed a couple of times annually in order to get rid of debris in its sills and seams.
It doesn't rust, so repainting only needs to be done when the enamel has faded. That may only happen every 12 to 15 years!
3. It's affordable
Aluminum is an extremely affordable material for siding. In fact, it's approximately 80% less expensive than most other siding kinds. On average, you'll just pay about $2.20 per square foot, with the topmost weight gauges hitting $5.
This is partially due to the lightweight nature of aluminum, which means it's less labor-intensive. Heavy-gauge aluminum also can often be installed on top of pre-existing siding, which further lowers the price as no removal is needed.
There are a number of things that can influence the price of aluminum. Thicker aluminum siding will have a higher cost. A more complex shape of home exterior can make installation pricier.
And, of course, as a commodity, aluminum's average cost per pound can fluctuate in the market over time. But the fact remains that you'd be hard-pressed to find good-quality siding at this price in other materials!
4. It's durable and resistant to many forms of damage
Aluminum is very durable, with a fifty-year lifespan that can stretch even beyond those bounds. Typically made from coil stock, it has enough hard materials to make it really last.
Better yet, it comes with a protective layer in its siding that reduces the risk of erosion. It's also highly resistant to various forms of damage that typically affect siding.
Aluminum is resistant to water, so rain and humidity don't cause decay, rot, or molding. Since it contains no organic matter, it's clad perfectly to avoid absorbing water, maintaining stability even in moist conditions.
It doesn't typically rust, either! As long as you're washing off any stuck debris, you'll never have to deal with mildew. On top of that, aluminum is a great fire-resistant siding material.
It is non-combustible and doesn't ignite or burn, so it won't feed any fires. It also doesn't melt! At the very most, its paint may get scorched off, but repainting is much easier than replacing all your siding!
The fact that it doesn't burn means you won't have to worry about toxic fumes in the event of a fire. Some insurance companies even offer discounts to those with aluminum siding due to how safe it is.
And, finally, aluminum won't get damaged by pests. Rodents and insects can't bite or chew through it. You won't have to worry about termites or carpenter ants!
5. It comes in lots of varieties
Aluminum is pretty versatile in terms of appearance. There are many kinds of finishes that can be applied to siding of this material. To begin with, paint adheres to it really well, which means you can paint it in any color of your choice.
Aluminum can also be made to imitate wood or more traditional materials. The application of wood grain, cooked enamel, or an anodized finish gives you a fair few different options in terms of overall appearance.
It's also worth noting that aluminum siding doesn't always come in purely horizontal planks. Vertical panels offer even more choices for you to try, and they can look very interesting in comparison to typical aluminum!
Cons Of Aluminum Siding
1. It can be noisy
Aluminum, as any metal does, will contract and expand as temperatures change, or high winds occur. When this happens, you'll hear pinging or popping noises.
These aren't very loud, but when you're inside a home and have good hearing, they can get annoying.
Some homeowners don't end up noticing these sounds and some find them comforting, but they're worth mentioning as a potential irritant anyway. Rain, hail, and other similar weather conditions are noisier against metal siding like aluminum.
Again, not all people will notice this or dislike it. But it's definitely something to consider if you tend to pick up on and get ticked off by sounds like that!
2. It can scratch and dent easily
Aluminum siding is harder than many other materials commonly used for this purpose. But, at the same time, it's still a soft metal, and it's very lightweight.
This is what makes it so easy to install and move around. Unfortunately, that means it can suffer superficial damage quite easily. Hailstones, for example, can dent siding quickly.
Careless drivers and cyclers bumping into your building's siding can also cause dents. Even a few baseballs hit too hard in this direction can be a threat!
Worse still, those dents aren't easy to get rid of and typically require tedious replacement or professional repair. You can try and circumvent this with heavier gauge aluminum, though that drives up cost.
The paint on aluminum is bonded, not permeated, so the finish isn't resistant to scratches and chips.
In addition, because the underlying primer is visible beneath aluminum siding, those chips will be very obvious and can be a real damper on the overall appearance.
Repainting isn't too difficult, but it's inconvenient if your siding ends up chipping more often than normal.
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3. Repair and touch-ups are a hassle
Repairing aluminum doesn't have to be done often, but it's a hassle when it does need to happen! It requires professional or at least knowledgeable techniques and is easy to get wrong.
Repainting is probably the most common form of touch-up you'd do on siding of this material.
Aluminum paint tends to fade over time, so when you need to repaint a portion, you'll often find that it's hard to find an accurate color match for the rest of it. Repainting all of the aluminum is, of course, a bit much if you only want to touch up one area!
On top of that, to restore paint, you have to entirely remove oxidation traces from your aluminum siding. This can be complicated and time-consuming.
Small dents in aluminum usually need a professional hand. They're fixed the same way that car dents are fixed, where a small hole is drilled in the dent for it to be pulled out and back into shape.
That spot is then filled and sanded, and, finally, it is repainted – which brings up the aforementioned painting struggles!
4. It can lack aesthetic value
There have been a lot of improvements to aluminum siding and its texture over the past ten or so years. But the fact remains that they all look like metal, even with special finishes.
This material can't truly or easily imitate wood. This creates an industrial appearance that may not be favored by many. In addition, in certain parts of the world, aluminum siding may reduce a house's value.
It can also appear old-fashioned or dated, as it's been used as siding commonly for much longer than many other materials!
Aluminum siding is a decent decision for a structure. It's low-maintenance, environmentally friendly, and energy-efficient, but it can also be quite noisy.
It dents and chips easily, but it's also impressively resistant to most forms of damage and is structurally durable. It's affordable, but repairs are a hassle.
It's a little bland and dated, but there are a fair few appearance options to choose from. Basically, it has its fair share of pros and cons, and the final decision comes down to your preferences!
If you plan to opt for aluminum siding, try to purchase heavier gauge choices. It's more expensive, but it'll pay off by requiring fewer repairs.
You should also make sure to keep up the minimal maintenance to reduce the risk of further issues. And if you dislike its industrial appearance, try for wood-grain imitation finishes!