Aluminum Siding Problems That Are Unavoidable
Choosing a siding for your house shouldn’t be done lightly – after all, it needs to last for a long time and protect your home from weather and pests. It’s important that you’re aware of the options out there, and the pros and cons of each one.
Aluminum used to be the most common material for siding from the 1940s through the 1970s, but it has slowly decreased in popularity since then. Why is aluminum siding no longer en vogue? Read on to learn about some aluminum siding problems that are unavoidable.
What is Aluminum Siding?
In the late 1930s, an Indiana businessman experimentally developed aluminum siding techniques to replace the sheet metal siding popular at the time.
Sheet metal siding was prone to warping, rusting, and leaking and the new aluminum siding wasn’t only strong and tight enough to keep out bugs and water, but it could also be fashioned to imitate the appearance of wooden clapboards.
It was lightweight and easy to install, so it exploded in popularity over the next couple of decades.
What’s the Problem with Aluminum Siding Today?
While aluminum siding does have its share of issues, its decline is mostly due to the introduction of vinyl siding.
Aluminum was a great innovation in its day, but now we have other options that look better, work better, cost less and last longer.
Since aluminum siding still does exist, however, it’s important that consumers are aware of some of the potential drawbacks, so they can make an informed purchase for their home.
Aluminum Siding Requires Repainting
Unlike vinyl siding, when you install aluminum siding it’s likely to need a fresh coat of paint every once in a while. The color isn’t “baked on” to the siding, so the sun can cause a lot of damage to it over time. This prevents the possibility of replacing a piece through color matching, so you either need to completely replace the siding or repaint it.
Both of these options are fairly expensive and time-consuming. The color and vibrancy of aluminum siding might only last half as long as vinyl before you need to do something about it.
Aluminum Siding Doesn’t Provide an Upscale Look
From a distance it can be hard to tell the quality of siding, but up close and personal many homeowners find that they don’t like the way aluminum siding looks.
Because it provides a more “industrial” look, in current home and garden trends, aluminum is more often used to clad barns and sheds, rather than new homes.
If you live in an upscale or historical neighborhood, aluminum may not be the best type of siding to keep up appearances.
If you’re going for a specific look that adds warmth, charm and value, you might want to consider something like vinyl siding with a realistic woodgrain feel.
Aluminum Siding is Easily Scratched and Dented
One of the biggest drawbacks is that unlike vinyl, brick or many of the other alternatives, it’s relatively easy to put scratches and dents in aluminum siding.
This could be a problem if you live in a tree-heavy area, have children playing in the yard or get heavy storms that may include hail.
Just like your car, the finish is prone to scratching and a pain to get fixed – however, you can’t pull your house into a garage to protect it.
If the siding becomes covered in large dents and scratches after a storm, it’s difficult to remove a panel to replace it, and the color-matching impossibilities would make the fresh panel stick out like a sore thumb.
Aluminum Siding is Noisy
Having aluminum siding on your house can be frustrating if you enjoy the peace and quiet, or if it’s important to have unbroken sleep at night. When the wind hits the siding, it’ll rattle slightly, causing a variety of loud metal “dinging” sound. This can happen even in slight wind conditions.
Additionally, on a hot, sunny day, the heat can cause the metal to expand slightly which also results in “dinging” noises even if the wind isn’t blowing.
While some of these issues can be fixed, irritating noise is one of the aluminum siding problems that’s unavoidable.
Aluminum Siding May Be Hiding Structural Issues
Since aluminum siding has traditionally been used to quickly cover up unattractive or deteriorated exterior walls, you should be cautious of purchasing a house that has this type of siding.
Aluminum is the cheapest way to dress up a wall that has damaged framing, bugs or mold. Any issue may have popped up with the home and then covered up with siding, so it’s important to have a good inspection and purchase from a trustworthy seller if there’s aluminum siding on the house.
You wouldn’t want to remove the siding one day to replace it with something nicer, only to find a nasty surprise underneath!
Aluminum Siding Decreases the Value of a House
As mentioned above, aluminum siding is no longer in favor among homeowners due to its industrial appearance – it seems more suited to a factory that manufactures siding, rather than a nice single family home!
Siding that’s out of style can bring down the value of not just your house, but the entire neighborhood as well.
In today’s image-conscious housing market, buyers who are looking to fit in with current trends might just cross a house with aluminum siding off their list, if they’re not handy enough to replace it with something they like better.
Aluminum Siding Isn’t Energy Efficient
If you’re hoping to use energy-efficient materials in your home and save on heating and cooling costs, aluminum siding isn’t the best choice.
Metal conducts heat, and on a sunny day it may be sizzling to touch. In the cold seasons, if your house is not very well-insulated it’ll absorb your heat and keep your furnace running day or night.
To keep your energy usage low, consider using a different type of siding on your home such as insulated vinyl siding.
Aluminum May Be Prone to Leaks
As the temperature changes throughout the seasons, aluminum siding will expand and contract. This means that there can be small gaps in between the panels and in the corners.
In a rainstorm, water flows down one panel and onto the next, so a strong wind can easily blow the water up under the panel where the wall is unprotected. This can also cause your siding to rust.
If you do choose to have aluminum siding, be sure that there’s water-resistant stripping underneath the panels.
Aluminum siding remains popular for barns, sheds and garages, to save room in the budget for more attractive siding on a house. While most of these aluminum siding problems are unavoidable, others may be improved or corrected to make it a viable choice for your project.
Now that you’re aware of some of the potential drawbacks, you’ll be able to choose siding based on your needs, rather than the cheapest available price point.
Avoid Aluminum Siding Problems by Getting Vinyl Siding
The only way to avoid these unavoidable aluminum siding problems is to go with another material for your home’s exterior. Vinyl siding is your best option because it’s durable, low-maintenance and energy efficient. Not to mention that it’s absolutely gorgeous.
Still questioning whether or not vinyl siding is right for you? Why don’t you check out our case study on how vinyl siding transformed Caryl’s home.
Midwest homeowners choose Feldco as their vinyl siding company. Over the last 40 years, we’ve helped over 400,000 homeowners with their home improvement projects. Get a free quote and you can be the next happy homeowner to choose Feldco.