Aluminum Siding

The exterior of your home is important for many reasons. Of course, you want your house to look good, but there are also other important considerations. Having a good, solid home exterior is vital to keeping your house in great shape and preventing expensive replacements. Aluminum siding is a popular home exterior covering with many benefits over other types of home exteriors. If you have been thinking of remodeling the exterior of your house, consider the aluminum siding benefits you could realize by installing this widely available material.

1. What Is Aluminum Siding?

Many people believe that aluminum siding and vinyl siding are one and the same, but this is not the case. Aluminum siding is, of course, made from aluminum, which is the same lightweight metal used to make soda cans. It has the same appearance as vinyl siding, which is a series of horizontal extruded panels that overlap each other. In fact, it is difficult to tell whether a house has aluminum siding or vinyl siding at a glance.

There are many different types of aluminum siding available on the market. You can find unfinished aluminum siding that can be painted, as well as factory-baked colors and textures in a wide variety of options. The most common size is a length of twelve feet, six inches, but aluminum siding is also available in panels of either 12 by 36 or 12 by 48 inches that simulate cedar shakes, another popular home exterior covering.

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2. Life Expectancy

Durability is a primary concern for most homeowners. When it comes to aluminum siding, you can expect a good, long life as long as you observe proper care and maintenance. One of the aluminum siding benefits is that it can be expected to last from 40 years to the life of your house. As many homeowners know, the less often you have to replace your home exterior, the better.

Another aluminum siding benefit is that when potential problems develop, you will not usually have to replace the entire exterior. Some of the problems that may develop with aluminum siding include scratches, dents, and corrosion. Most of these can be fixed with sanding and repainting. You can even repair major dents and scratches by removing and replacing the damaged section of your aluminum siding, which is not possible with vinyl siding.

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3. Looking Good Out There

It is a rare homeowner who does not care what the exterior of their house looks like. Fortunately, aluminum siding looks great on the outside of your home. Since the panels are pre-fabricated to the same sizes and specifications, your house will have a smooth, uniform appearance with aluminum siding. As mentioned before, an aluminum siding benefit is the availability of a wide range of colors and textures, including brighter and bolder colors than you can find with vinyl siding.

Additionally, vinyl siding cannot be painted. Perhaps the best aluminum siding benefit is that you do not have to be stuck with the same color for the life of your house. Unfinished aluminum siding can be painted with any acrylic house paint, and even factory baked aluminum siding can be painted over with different colors to give your home an entirely new appearance, however often you would like.

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4. Protection from the Elements

Another primary function of your home's exterior is to keep warm air or cool air in, and keep the weather and nature out. Aluminum siding affords great protection from the elements, keeping moisture from snow and rain from penetrating your walls and ruining the interior structure of your walls. Additionally, aluminum siding is an excellent insulator, and lets your furnace or air conditioning work at almost maximum efficiency all year round.

Major environmental or structural problems can be caused by the introduction of certain elements into your home. Another aluminum siding benefit is that it prevents mold and bacteria from forming inside your walls, and also keeps out infestations such as termites and wood ants. This is extremely important for homeowners, as infestations and widespread bacteria or mold are very expensive problems to repair. Once you install aluminum siding, the potential threat from these problems is greatly diminished.

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5. Benefits for Your Wallet

Cost is always an important factor in choosing an exterior for your home. Among the most common home exteriors are vinyl and aluminum siding, wood siding, cedar shakes, brick, stone, and cement stucco. You may be surprised to learn that aluminum siding is generally the least expensive option among these choices for your home exterior. In fact, many high-end home exteriors cost from 5 to 20 times more per square foot than aluminum siding.

You will not only save on the actual cost of the material with aluminum siding. There are also many ancillary benefits to installing aluminum siding on your house. You will save on replacement and repair costs, because aluminum siding is durable and inexpensive to repair when it is damaged. In addition, you can enjoy reduced heating and cooling bills due to the insulation aluminum siding benefits. Finally, since aluminum siding does not require a high level of professional skill to apply, you can save on installation costs.

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6. Finding a Good Deal

Aluminum siding is available from a wide variety of stores and dealers, so you should have no problems finding the right aluminum siding for your home. However, like most other products, not all aluminum siding is created equal. It is important to shop around and take advantage of cost and quality comparisons before you make the final decision to purchase aluminum siding.

Wide availability is one of the aluminum siding benefits that make this home exterior option attractive. You can often find a good selection of aluminum siding at your local home improvement store, or a nearby specialty siding dealer. Another alternative is to shop for aluminum siding online. In many cases, you can find a merchant who is willing to work with your local store to deliver your aluminum siding purchase, or it is sometimes possible to have it shipped straight to your home. Be sure to find out all you can about the reputation of the building material company you deal with for your aluminum siding, and seek out other customers to find out whether or not they have been satisfied with their aluminum siding purchase.

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7. Can You Install It?

Installation of aluminum siding is a manageable do-it-yourself task, accomplished using generally basic tools and skills. If you are willing to invest your own time and patience in the process, you can install aluminum siding on your home exterior. The most important step you can take is to familiarize yourself with the process of aluminum siding installation and make sure you have everything you need for the project.

Fortunately, most manufacturers provide a complete set of installation instructions with purchases of aluminum siding. If you are not familiar with the terms used in the instructions, you can spend some time researching the aluminum siding installation process online and find more information. In addition, most aluminum siding comes with the extra materials you will need for the installation procedure, such as attachment strips, trim, and any related pieces and parts. In general, you will need a hammer and nails, tin snips or aviation shears for cutting and shaping, a circular saw or handsaw for big cuts, a utility knife for scoring smaller cuts, and a good, sturdy ladder to reach the higher areas of your home's exterior.

Be sure that you are familiar with basic carpentry skills before attempting to install aluminum siding on your house. In fact, you may want to attempt a smaller building project just to ensure you have the necessary practice to tackle your entire house. You can enjoy the aluminum siding benefit of self-installation as long as you are diligent and careful.

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8. Installation Tips and Tricks

As with any home improvement project, preparation is the key to a successful aluminum siding installation. Make sure you have all the tools you will need for the job assembled, and try to have a bit of extra material on hand in case of mistakes. You can often purchase aluminum siding at a discounted rate if you buy in bulk, so it will not usually cost much more to pick up more aluminum siding than you need. This way, you will not have to worry about running out for additional aluminum siding if you end up cutting a piece wrong or nailing it down improperly.

Of course, it is better to not make mistakes. Remember that while you are installing your aluminum siding, you should measure twice and cut once. This will help to prevent expensive mistakes. A good set of measuring tools, including any marking pencils, measuring tapes, chalk lines, and even a manual or laser level, can be indispensable during the process of installing aluminum siding.

The weather is an important factor during your aluminum siding installation project. It goes without saying that you are not going to want to be out installing aluminum siding in the middle of winter, so make sure that you plan for a spring or summer installation when you are putting up aluminum siding. Checking the weather forecast is a good idea, because if there are long periods of rain or bad weather, you may have to interrupt your aluminum siding installation for a time. Delays can be difficult when you are working with home exteriors, because the underlying materials may end up being exposed to the elements.

Though it is possible to install your aluminum siding by yourself, it is much better if you have at least a partner, and possibly even a group of people to help with the installation. Speed is not essential, but it is important, and if you have more than one person helping you install aluminum siding, you will not have to worry about leaving large areas of your home's exterior exposed during the process.

When you apply any siding, including aluminum siding, you will need a smooth backing surface to nail the siding against. This means you will probably have to recover the surface of your home. The most common means of getting a smooth under-surface for aluminum siding is using 3/8-inch foam board insulation, which has the added benefit of further insulating your house. You can also make use of furring strips, which can be nailed to the butts of lap siding in order to mount the aluminum siding on your house.

Keep in mind that you need to use only aluminum nails for aluminum siding, as other types of nails may damage the siding either immediately or in the long term. Always nail in the center of the nailing slots on your aluminum siding, unless the installation instructions specify otherwise. In addition, do not nail the aluminum siding too tightly, as you will need to leave some "wiggle room" to insert other siding boards beneath and also allow for temperature expansion and contraction.

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9. Care and Maintenance

The good news is that care and maintenance for aluminum siding is among the simplest out there. Your aluminum siding should be washed with water and a mild detergent at least once per year. Stains or heavy soiling can often be removed with a mild detergent and gentle scrubbing. You can also repair scratches and mild corrosion through sanding and a paint touch-up, and replace dented or heavily scratched sections by removing the damaged portion with a utility knife and replacing with new sections of aluminum siding. Remember, it is possible to re-paint your aluminum siding as often as you would like for a refreshing color change.

With diligent care, your new aluminum siding can last for the entire life of your home. You can enjoy the attraction, inexpensiveness, and ease of maintenance that comes with aluminum siding benefits, and you can even install your new aluminum siding yourself. Your home's exterior is one of the most important components, and installing aluminum siding is an excellent way to maintain the value and appearance of your house for a long time to come.

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