While aluminum siding has affordability and low maintenance going for it, this material suffers from many drawbacks, such as noisiness and vulnerability to dents. Furthermore, if aluminum siding gets damaged, it can be a major pain to replace. For these reasons, when it comes time to repair your aluminum siding, we recommend you replace it with a higher-quality alternative.
This article provides an in-depth explanation of why you may want to reconsider aluminum and discusses the benefits of two popular aluminum alternatives: vinyl and fiber cement.
Common Issues With Aluminum Siding
One of the biggest disadvantages associated with aluminum siding is its vulnerability to dents and scratches, which can be a big problem if you have kids around in the yard or live in a region that experiences hailstorms. Some other issues commonly encountered with aluminum siding include the following:
- Painting is required: If you have aluminum siding, you’ll have to apply a new coat of paint every few years. This is because the color on aluminum siding isn’t baked on, so direct sun exposure causes damage over time. This loss of color means that you won’t be able to replace a section of your siding through color matching, so you’ll have to either paint the siding or replace it completely. Both of these activities are fairly time-consuming and expensive.
- Aluminum is noisy: If you enjoy quiet or value an uninterrupted night of sleep, aluminum siding may frustrate you. When it’s windy outside — even just slightly windy — the siding will rattle, causing loud dinging sounds. Hot weather will also cause the aluminum to expand slightly, which produces dinging noises as well. While other aluminum siding problems can be somewhat remedied, this irritating noise is unavoidable.
- Gaps can form: Colder weather causes aluminum to contract, which can leave gaps between panels.
- Aluminum doesn’t look very upscale: While you may not be able to tell from a distance, many people believe that aluminum siding does not look great from close up. At best, aluminum has an industrial feel and looks more fitting on sheds and clad barns than on new homes. If your house is in a historical or upscale neighborhood, it may look out of place with aluminum siding.
- Susceptible to corrosion: While aluminum won’t rust thanks to the absence of iron, it can corrode. Also, if there’s rust on an adjacent material, it can stain the aluminum.
- It may be concealing structural problems: If you’re considering purchasing aluminum siding, keep in mind that this siding type was traditionally used to cover up deteriorated or unattractive exterior walls. It’s the most affordable way to dress a wall up that has bugs, mold or damaged framing. So if you’re thinking about buying a house with aluminum siding, make sure to get it inspected and confirm that the seller is trustworthy first. Otherwise, if you end up removing the siding to replace it with something better, you may discover an unpleasant surprise underneath!
- It decreases the home’s value: As mentioned earlier, aluminum is currently unfashionable as a siding material due to its industrial appearance, which decreases the home’s value.
- Not energy-efficient: If you’re looking for a siding material that will increase your energy efficiency and lower your energy costs, aluminum is not the siding you want.
Characteristics of Aluminum Siding
Many homeowners use this material for its lack of required maintenance, as the only thing you have to do is wash it several times a year and take out any debris lodged in between the pieces of siding. Some other features of aluminum siding include:
- Low-Cost: Aluminum siding is a low-cost material. As with most cheap materials, you’ll experience more cons than pros, but if your budget is limited, aluminum siding is an option you might consider. One reason for its low cost is often due to the fact that it’s made using recycled materials.
- Simple Installation: Aluminum is extremely lightweight, which makes installation easy. So if you have contractors install your aluminum siding, you probably won’t have to pay much in labor costs. In certain cases, aluminum siding can be installed over existing siding. Note: At Sunshine Contracting, we recommend against using aluminum siding on your home, so we don’t install it. However, we will replace it with a higher quality product such as vinyl or James Hardie siding.
- Eco-friendliness: In addition to being made using recycled materials, aluminum siding is also completely recyclable. This means that, when it comes time to remove your aluminum siding, it won’t go to a landfill.
- Durability: Aluminum siding is generally manufactured using aluminum coil stock and various other hard materials, which make it exceptionally durable. This won’t prevent dents or dings in the material, but it will protect your home.
- It doesn’t rust: This is due to a protective coating that is usually applied to aluminum siding. It won’t absorb moisture, shrink or swell due to humidity changes.
However, as we covered in depth in the previous section, aluminum siding has many potential drawbacks, as well. We’ll summarize them below:
- Aluminum siding requires painting to hide the fading caused by sun exposure.
- It can produce annoying dinging noises.
- The contraction of the aluminum panels can leave gaps in the siding.
- Aluminum siding is unpopular due to its association with industrial buildings.
- It is susceptible to corrosion as well as staining from adjacent rusting materials.
- It may have been installed only to cover up structural issues underneath.
- It will decrease the value of the home.
- It’s not energy efficient.
If you’re trying to decide whether or not to replace aluminum siding on your home, consider these potential drawbacks.
Is It Better to Repair or Replace Your Aluminum Siding?
If you already have aluminum siding installed on your home and it is experiencing issues, you have to decide whether to repair or replace it.
Let’s start by talking about aluminum siding repair, which is notoriously difficult. In particular, patching aluminum siding is a tedious and often unsuccessful endeavor.
To remove a dent, you must first drill through the dent, pull it out, then patch it using auto body filler and apply two coats of primer. If your siding has hundreds of dents, the time required could be astronomical.
If the damage to your siding is limited to a single panel, then you may assume that simply replacing that panel will be an easy solution, but it will still be a lot of work. The trouble lies not in figuring out how to replace the aluminum siding, but rather how to deal with the resulting inconsistencies in color, as chances are that the colors won’t exactly match due to color fading. And if the colors don’t match, you’ll have to paint your entire house to get all the panels the same color again.
If you need to repair or replace your aluminum siding, we encourage you to replace it completely — and replace it with a better material, which leads us into the next section.
Consider Vinyl or James Hardie Fiber Cement
Considering the many drawbacks to aluminum and how difficult it is to repair, we encourage you to consider two alternatives: vinyl and James Hardie fiber cement.
Replace Aluminum Siding With Vinyl
The first alternative, vinyl, is popular for many reasons, one of which is its low maintenance costs. Unlike aluminum, it doesn’t need to be repainted — just an occasional inspection and hosing off will be enough. Some other advantages of vinyl siding include:
- Resistance to the elements: Modern vinyl siding is designed to withstand harsh natural elements. It won’t lose its color over time and is resistant to hailstorms and excessive moisture.
- Low maintenance: Due to its durability, vinyl requires virtually no maintenance other than a simple yearly cleaning.
- It can provide additional insulation: Many vinyl siding manufacturers offer vinyl siding with foam on the backside, which helps to better insulate your home, increasing its energy efficiency.
- Versatility: Vinyl siding today is available in hundreds of profiles, textures and colors, giving you great flexibility when designing your exterior.
Replace Aluminum Siding With James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding
The other alternative to aluminum siding that we recommend is James Hardie fiber cement, which can mimic virtually any other type of siding material, including cedar shingles, wood shake siding and wood lap boards. Some other benefits of James Hardie fiber cement siding include:
- Longevity: James Hardie fiber cement siding is completely resistant to insects and rot. If you live near the ocean, you’ll be interested to know it can even handle salt spray.
- Wide variety of colors: When it comes to color, your options are virtually endless.
- Low maintenance: Hardie siding maintains its good looks with almost no maintenance. It requires only a simple rinse off once or twice a year and rarely needs to be repainted.
- Climate-specific: James Hardie fiber cement is made specifically for the region where it is used, so you don’t have to worry about it not being able to handle your local climate.
Trust Sunshine Contracting for Siding Replacement
At Sunshine Contracting, we specialize in insulated vinyl and James Hardie fiber cement siding. For a free, in-home consultation, fill out our online form, and a team member will contact you shortly.