Aluminum became a popular alternative to wood products decades ago, mainly because of the lower maintenance costs associated with this type of exterior. Aluminum looks very much like vinyl and comes in the same variety of color shades. It is attached to the home in the same manner as vinyl and can last for a long period of time.
Aluminum siding can fade in color over time, and most experts recommend that it be painted with an oil-based product over latex. This procedure can make all the difference when it comes to durability, as painting the aluminum need not be done more than once per decade, resulting in a very long usable life of the product.
Aluminum siding is modestly priced and the installation procedure is rather easy. There are specialized pieces with flanges that are used at the top and bottom to seal the exterior of the home against the elements. The material expands and contracts depending on the temperature and it also can be quite noisy when it is hit by falling rain. There are some varieties of aluminum siding that are coated in vinyl or plastic, mainly to achieve an appearance that mimics cedar shake or other wood grain.
Although the plastic or vinyl coated siding products often carry a warranty in excess of 30 years, this protection does not cover denting. Denting is the number one problem associated with aluminum and can occur when struck by an errantly thrown baseball, by a falling branch or even hail. The appearance of aluminum is negatively affected by even a small number of dents.
Before considering aluminum as a siding product, consider the overall cost of the product, which varies depending on whether the aluminum is coated. Check out the warranty in detail and decide if the exterior walls of the home will be safe from damage. Also remember that although aluminum is rather low maintenance, it can be a hassle to replace if it is indeed damaged, and the old product may not be recyclable depending on what coating it has.