After World War II, aluminum siding gained popularity in the United States as a durable alternative to wood. Rather than replacing wood siding as it rotted, users of aluminum siding simply had to repaint the siding to keep it from oxidizing and rusting through. The malleability of aluminum allowed manufacturers to shape it into easy-to-install hooks and designer patterns. Today, vinyl has largely replaced aluminum in the marketplace because of its heightened durability and low cost. However, aluminum continues to sell as a natural siding option and advances in aluminum siding manufacture have created new and more durable enamels and finishes.
Finishes and Patterns
Manufacturers coat aluminum siding with a baked-on enamel or specialized polymer coating to protect the metal and prevent wear. These coatings come in a wide variety of colors, finishes and patterns. Coating finishes are smooth, textured, shiny or matte. Popular patterns are smooth, treaded and resemble wood grains or stucco. Aluminum siding shapes are smooth or ribbed. Ribbed aluminum siding also varies, with rib thickness ranging from about 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches.
Manufacturers make aluminum siding in vertical and horizontal panel orientations. Horizontal panels hold high popularity because of their ability to resist moisture penetration. Similar to vinyl siding, horizontal aluminum siding snaps together. The siding pieces have a lip on the top edge and a hook on the bottom edge. The installer pushes the hook up into the lip of the panel below.
Aluminum siding is susceptible to wear from oxidation and denting. Oxidation occurs through long-time exposure to air and water whereas denting occurs through exposure to hail or other hitting. Vinyl-coated aluminum siding resists wear due to oxidation and denting, but for many homeowners, the high cost of vinyl-coated aluminum siding restricts its use.
Aluminum siding thickness contributes to its ability to resist denting. Typical siding thickness ranges from 0.019 inches to 0.024 inches. Homeowners in areas susceptible to hail may wish to invest in a thick aluminum siding.
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