Q: We have decided to have our existing wood board home sided. I’m confused about the differences in vinyl siding and aluminum siding.
A: More than 90 percent of prefinished siding installed these days is made of vinyl, because the product has steadily improved over the years and is available in a wide variety of qualities, styles and colors. It is still possible to get aluminum and steel siding (though I’ve heard that some companies are phasing steel siding out). You might want to do some research on two major siding manufacturers’ websites, Vipco and Alcoa. There are others you may find when you start to interview local siding companies who will promote their favorite manufacturers.
Steel and aluminum siding are metal products which are coated with color. Vinyl siding is made of solid piece vinyl, so the color cannot be scratched off, as it could with the metal siding products. Vinyl is also more dent resistant.
Steel siding is the most durable in snow country, or in areas of severe cold. Both steel and aluminum siding are more expensive than vinyl, but they offer greater energy efficiency than vinyl, which translates into lower heating and cooling costs for years to come. Metal siding can also withstand more heat than vinyl, as in the case of fire.
Although siding companies usually promote one type of siding over another, most major siding manufacturers usually offer both vinyl and aluminum (and sometimes steel) siding. Therefore, if you insisted that you wanted one kind of siding over another, almost any siding installation company could probably give you cost comparisons on more than one type. I recommend you contact at least three siding companies and ask them for such cost comparisons.
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