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Exterior Aluminum Siding

Aluminum Siding for Your Home

Aluminum siding

Aluminum siding became popular after World War II, when aluminum began to be produced in such abundance that people started to think of new ways to use it. Still a very popular type of siding, it was one of the first ’newer’ siding options as an alternative to wood and still has something to offer.

There are several advantages of aluminum, if you're comparing different types of siding. Aluminum siding offers better insulation than vinyl and is fireproof and waterproof. It cannot rot or attract termites like wood, and it won't rust like steel. It's also very lightweight and easy to handle. One of the negative aspects of aluminum siding is that it will dent easily and is not very fun to replace. Aluminum may also get scratched. Scratches show more in aluminum siding as compared to vinyl siding (where color is the same in every layer). Aluminum siding has an enamel coating baked onto the surface. This coating can be flat or shaped, providing opportunity for several different looks, including an imitation wood surface. Aluminum can be painted any color, to reflect the homeowner's style and personality. Aluminum siding needs to be cleaned once a year and repainted every so often typically 5-10 years.

Red Aluminum siding

For two or three years after you have aluminum siding installed, you shouldn't have to worry much about serious maintenance (other than cleaning). After that you should start checking for cracks, dents, and scratches. Aluminum siding will typically last between 40 years to as long as the building stands. Any type of metal siding is usually higer on the siding costs scale than materials, like vinyl, but it tends to save in the long run because of its energy efficiency. You may pay more up front, but expect your heating and cooling bills to be lower for years to come. Depending on your needs, the extra cost may be worth it.

You can install aluminum siding yourself with a few tools normally used in any carpentry project and some basic skills, or you can have it professionally installed. The siding comes in kits that include the panels as well as the other pieces needed, such as attachment strips and trim. Unlike steel siding, which is always best installed by a professional manufacturing company, aluminum is lightweight and easy to cut and nail. The manufacturer should provide installation instructions that you can get at the time of purchase. Because aluminum, like vinyl, expands and contracts with changes in temperature, you have to allow for these changes during installation, depending on the season.

Maintenance

Dirty Aluminum siding
  • Cleaning- You should take time once a year to clean your aluminum siding. It's easy to make a non-abrasive cleaning solution of 1/3 cup laundry soap for every six gallons of water. Use a brush with soft bristles to scrub away the dirt and then rinse with a good hose or a pressure washer on low pressure. Never use high pressure on aluminum siding or you may dent it or strip the paint. You could always do a test on a small, less-prominent section if you're not sure.
  • Repainting- If you notice oxidation (a powdery residue left on your hands when you touch the siding), you might want to repaint it. With aluminum siding, you should first sand with a fine grit paper, power wash, or scrub with cleaner. This removes the oxidation so the new paint will stick. Then, use an oil-based metal primer, and finally (when the primer is dry) apply paint (spray paint works best on aluminum). You can thin down the primer with a pint of thinner for every gallon of paint. Not only will this help you save on primer, but it actually makes the primer a more effective barrier between the aluminum and the new paint, as it can penetrate more deeply into the old surface.

Repairs

There are two kinds of repairs you may have to do: repairing dents on existing siding panels and actually replacing panels.

  • Dents can sometimes be fixed quite easily. If the dent is large, drill some small holes in it, put in a washer and screw, and pull on the screw with pliers to pop out the dent. With the washer in place, you don't have to worry about scratching the siding. Afterward, use some filler to fill and smooth the dent, sand it, prime it, and apply two coats of the correct paint. For small dents, you don't need to use screws. Just fill and paint.
  • Replacements- If your siding is torn or has a hole, you'll need to replace the damaged part. Remember, even if it doesn't look that bad, damaged siding isn't protecting your home like it's supposed to. It's a good idea to go ahead and buy some extra panels when your purchase your siding so that when you need one to make a repair, you won't be stuck unable to find a match since companies can go out of business or patterns can be discontinued.

Major supplier of aluminum siding: Alcoa Building Products

Aluminum Siding :

Longevity: 40 years for most products.

Maintenance: Like wood will require painting every 5-10 years

Cost: A little lower than average

If you're looking for other metal siding options consider seamless steel.



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