Aluminum Versus Steel Siding
Metal products such as aluminum and steel are good alternatives to vinyl, wood, or other materials for residential siding applications. Aluminum and steel siding are low maintenance, fire resistant, and durable. These materials have been in use since the 1940s, and they both come in a variety of colors and finishes. Aluminum and steel siding gained in popularity with the development of new coatings and textures that created realistic wood-look finishes to give homeowners more options
Aluminum compares well with brick and stone in terms of durability and is considerably less expensive. Aluminum siding is easy to cut, lightweight, relatively cheap to install, and designed with easy-to-install panels.
Aluminum siding comes in vertical and horizontal patterns with many colors and textures, including a realistic, wood-shake pattern. Keep in mind that there have been issues with some pre-finished colors fading. The siding can be painted with a specially formulated paint. Use a high-quality brand; it will resist oxidation and fading.
Advances have been made using more durable finishes. Coating finishes can be shiny, matte, smooth, or textured, and be ribbed or smooth. Ribbed aluminum varies in thickness from ½ inch to 1 ½ inches, compared with standard siding that ranges from 0.019 inches to 0.024 inches.
Aluminum should not be used for detailed trim work because it is easily dented. If properly maintained, aluminum siding can last up to 40 years.
Maintenance is simple and should be done annually. Hosing it down is adequate; it's not necessary to use a power washer. However, if you do use one, use a low setting to avoid damage.
Steel is especially sought after in harsh climates because of its high durability. Because so many textures and colors are available, architects tend to specify steel siding for high-end construction. Like wood, steel acts as a heat conductor, which can contribute to lower electric bills.
Steel siding can be purchased with a topcoat of vinyl to eliminate the need to paint. Similar to aluminum siding, steel siding has a life of approximately 40 years. However, it is more expensive to purchase and labor costs will be higher than installing aluminum siding.
Be sure to thoroughly examine the pros and cons of both products before you make a decision that will affect the appearance and, therefore, the value of your home. Go online to compare different manufacturers and get estimates from contractors and suppliers, or talk to a company that, like Ecolife Home Improvement installs siding.