In the United States prior to World War II, wooden siding was the primary type used for homes. Post-war America saw a boom in aluminum products as the metal was no longer needed for combat purposes. Along with metal cans and cookware, aluminum siding became commonplace. Today, vinyl is by far the most popular choice for siding, with an approximate 80% market share. Aluminum is most commonly used today in trimming, as it can be easily bent to the desired size and shape. The majority of new home siding installation involves vinyl siding with aluminum trim pieces.
The advantages provided by aluminum siding are durability and insulation. When compared with vinyl siding, metal has a slight edge on both counts, particularly in cold weather climates. Of course, this effect can be decreased if there is not proper insulation during installation. Many older homes with aluminum siding do not have insulation between the layers, a situation that will decrease the efficiency of the siding.
Aluminum siding requires very little regular maintenance apart from removing occasional dents. Large scale repairs can prove difficult as it is challenging to patch in a piece of metal. Repair of a hole or damaged part of aluminum siding often requires removal of a very large piece of planking, or the use of metal sheers that can leave obvious cuts if not used properly.
If you are concerned about the appearance of metal siding, it is important to know that, unlike vinyl siding, the color will fade. Aluminum siding is coated in a weather proof enamel paint that will fade after many years. Your once white house may appear gray within time. When this happens, it is possible and recommended to paint the siding. The extra layer of paint will not only improve the appearance of your home, but will actually improve the durability of the product as well.