How to Choose Between Vinyl, Steel and Aluminum Siding

Siding Options
Vinyl, Steel or Aluminum?

Vinyl siding may be the most popular type of siding currently used. It is affordable, looks good for years and has good durability. But aluminum siding is making a comeback, and steel siding has many good qualities to commend it. Here is a discussion of each type of siding that gives you the main reasons for considering each one.

Vinyl Siding Offers Lower Cost and Good Durability

Vinyl siding comes in several grades, usually distinguished by thickness and texture. The thinnest grades are less than .04” thick. They cost about $3 per square foot installed, and shouldn’t be expected to last more than 10-12 years depending on your climate. They’re a popular choice of homeowners giving their home a facelift before putting it on the market.

Better grades of vinyl siding can be as thick as .055”. They cost up to $5 per square foot installed but are far less likely to crack or be damaged by wind. Top grades also offer premium colors that are deeper and far less likely to fade.

Aluminum Siding Offers Heat Resistance and Better Durability

This type of siding originated in the 1930s as a durable, low-maintenance alternative to wood siding. It has been surpassed by vinyl in popularity, but the current generation of aluminum siding has a lot to offer. The paint is better, so the chalking and fading of early siding is no longer the issue it was.

As with vinyl siding, you’ll be better off choosing premium grades of aluminum. The siding will stand up to bumps better without denting and has tougher paint that is less likely to scratch. If you want slightly better durability to vinyl in a product that is also resistant to heat, this is a good choice. Aluminum siding costs range up to $7 per square foot installed.

Steel Siding Offers Excellent Protection and the Best Durability

The drawback to steel siding is that it may not be available in the same number of styles and colors as vinyl or aluminum. What it does provide is superior protection to weather events like high winds or hail. It is also very durable and should last up to 30 years. Like vinyl and aluminum, it is resistant to insects. Quality steel siding costs up to $7 per square foot installed.

Vinyl siding is the best material for short-term affordability, but steel gives you the best long-term value. Whichever type you choose, make sure you hire a qualified siding contractorwith good experience to handle the installation. The quality of the installation has much to do with the performance and durability the siding will give you in the years ahead.

When is the Best Time of Year to Replace the Siding on your Home?

Fall is a the best time to replace the siding on your home for several reasons. Here is why:

1. Prices are Lower in the Fall

Most homeowners get quotes for having their siding replaced in spring and summer. That means that siding contractors are busier in those seasons. Many have as much or more work than they want. Under those circumstances, they write the highest estimates of the year for any new work.
In the fall, the business starts to slack off and they get a little more “hungry.” In cold climates, they want to keep their crew working a little longer before shutting down for the year. You’ll find lower siding price quotes for installation in the fall, especially when you get at least 3 written estimates from contractor who know they are competing for your business.
More good news about prices is that the material is often put on sale in late summer or early fall. Building supply companies want to move out old inventory to make room for winter products they sell or for the next year’s new styles. You might even find clearance deals on very nice siding you’ll love.

2. Summer Heat can Affect Siding Installation

Vinyl siding expands in the heat of summer. If it is installed in hot weather and nailed too tight, it might buckle or crack when it contracts in the cold weather of winter. The mid-range temperatures of fall are ideal for siding vinyl siding installation, and this principle applies to wood siding too.

3. Your Home will be Ready for Winter

Gaps in old siding or the lack of house wrap on your home can raise your utility bills this winter. If you have new siding installed this fall, a competent siding crew will caulk gaps in the construction before putting on the new siding. If your home doesn’t have house wrap, this is an ideal opportunity to put it on before it is covered up by the new siding.

Siding Replacement in Warm Climates Vs. Cold Climates

If you live where winters are mild, then for you, best time of year to replace your siding will be late fall or early winter. In colder climates, you want your siding, especially vinyl siding, installed before freezing weather hits when siding gets slightly brittle and can crack during installation. In cold climates, the period from Labor day to mid-October is ideal.