Metal siding can be an attractive alternative to traditional wood and vinyl options. Metal siding panels come in two versions: steel and aluminum. Either version can be used on homes, barns, outbuildings, or commercial properties. Like most materials, there are pros and cons associated with the use of metal siding.
Aluminum siding is lightweight and easy to work with, reducing the cost of installation.Â Pricing ranges from $3 to $5 per square foot installed. The price point depends on the quality of the aluminum and the styling of the panels. Cleaning is straightforward; just wash with a standard water hose. Aluminum does not rust and can be painted over when the color fades. It uses approximately 80% (or more) recycled materials and is 100% recyclable when discarded.
There are disadvantages with aluminum too. The color fades quickly with exposure to the elements, and the surface can take on a chalky appearance. Aluminum is lightweight and will dent easily. Once the color fades it can be difficult to match and usually requires the entire building be painted.
Steel siding is considerably heavier than aluminum and requires extensive labor to install. It is durable and will last, on average, greater than 20 years. Along with increased durability comes an increased price tag. Consumers can expect to pay $6 to $9 per square foot installed. The price point depends on the quality of the steel and the panel style. Steel panels come in a variety of colors and resist fading. The panels will not turn chalky with exposure. Steel contains about 25% recycled content and is 100% recyclable when discarded. It requires a pressure washer for cleaning.
The most significant downside for steel is that it will rust. Rust-prevention coatings will help delay onset and amount of damage, but it will not prevent rust from cropping up eventually. Early detection and replacement of rusty panels can prevent the problem from causing widespread issues. Steel is not usually recommended for coastal regions, but it does well inland.
Overall Benefits of Metal
Whether using steel or aluminum, metal siding panels have a variety of benefits. Both products are energy efficient and can result in lower heating and cooling costs. They are resistant to fires and insects, and they will not rot. They can be used on the interior or exterior of a structure. As well, they can be used in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal pattern, which allows the consumer to create a stunning design effect. Metal siding can be cut to the correct length, avoiding the need for excessive seaming. They come in several different patterns and a large number of colors.
Metal siding panels are widely favored in commercial applications and are regaining their popularity in residential markets. This green product has a high appeal for those who wish to use environmentally friendly products.