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Aluminum Siding vs Vinyl Siding

Aluminum Siding vs Vinyl Siding

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One choice any homeowner has to make is how to improve the exterior of their house. Siding-- either wood, aluminum, or vinyl-- is a perennial option. Siding has many benefits, the most important being that it maintains a consistent look over the years, without the cost or effort of constant repainting. But while most people associate siding with aluminum, there are other options, with vinyl siding ranking among the most popular. This article will explore the pros and cons of vinyl siding and how it compares to aluminum, so you can figure out which might be better for your house.


In this category, vinyl is the clear winner. Vinyl siding generally costs between $2-3 per square foot, while aluminum can run you anywhere from $3-5. This isn’t a huge difference if your house is only a few square feet, but that isn’t very common, and the difference will add up. It is true that there are cheaper siding options, such as clapboard or plywood, but those tend to look as cheap as they are. Additionally, and this is especially true if you are hiring an installer, vinyl siding is easier to install, which translates to further savings on labor cost.


This is another category in which vinyl wins easily. Vinyl is considered the easiest of all sidings to install, due to being comprised of a series of interlocking PVC slats, which are thin and light. Vinyl has a system of interlocking notches which snap into place, instead of having to hang each unit individually. Aluminum is considerably heavier, and with most systems each piece needs to be hung on its own, and so requires more work to hang.


This is closer, but most people seem to agree this is another victory for vinyl. Vinyl has a broader range of colors and can shade its look easier. It is most often compared to wood siding in terms of aesthetic. Wood is considered the most attractive of siding options, for obvious reasons, but a good wood siding is also very expensive and difficult to install (good wood, not plywood or clapboard siding). It also has the benefit of not fading as quickly as aluminum. No siding fades as fast as paint, but in the siding world there is a continuum of durability, and vinyl ranks higher than aluminum.


Here is where aluminum begins to make its comeback. We talked about the ease of installation for vinyl, but that is also its major drawback. It is nowhere near as sturdy as aluminum, and is more susceptible to damage by wind or debris. If you live in an area with extreme weather, particularly high winds, vinyl becomes a less cost-effective method, due to the likelihood that portions will have to be replaced. Aluminum is more solid and less likely to be damaged in high weather.


Siding isn’t just for the outside. One of the pluses of any kind of siding is that it increases insulation. But in this, again, the heavier and more solid nature of aluminum gives it the edge over vinyl. Vinyl is light and has a Styrofoam back, which does not help keep your house warm. In addition, it is easier for moisture to seep behind vinyl siding, which not only hurts insulation, but contributes to rot and infestation. Obviously, no system is impervious to weather, but aluminum holds up quite a bit better

So, the final count is 3-2 in favor of vinyl, but it isn’t as clear-cut as it may seem. A lot depends on where you live. If you are in a cold and wet climate, aluminum might be the better option in the long-run, especially if you take heating costs and potential replacement costs into consideration. If you are in a climate in which you don’t have as much worry about high winds or constant rain, the cost and aesthetic benefits of vinyl probably make it your best bet. Remember, before you make a choice, a qualified siding contractor can help you with your decision and with installation, so that you can enjoy years of quality siding.

--Mitch Logan

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