What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Metal Siding?
Like almost anything in the realm of building and construction, before you make a final decision, you need to weigh the pros and cons of the material you’re considering using – the cost, life span, maintenance, energy efficiency – these are details that will affect your final decision. Also, perhaps issues like eco-friendliness or fire resistance are extremely important to you. Once you know what the advantages and disadvantages are, you’ll have more confidence in knowing whether siding your home or commercial building with metal is right for you.
As you study the pros and cons, also factor in your budget, the look you want to achieve, the regional climate, and any unique weather conditions that surround the building or area. For example, is the building heavily surrounded by trees and brush? Is it located on a windy cliffside? Is it near the ocean? Let’s dive into some of the pros and cons of using metal siding on your home or commercial building:
Advantages of Metal Siding
Durability and Strength
Metal siding is one of the most durable siding materials available. It clearly outperforms vinyl and other types of siding like wood or stucco. Hail storms, heavy rain, blizzards, strong wind – these weather issues just are no match for metal siding. If you live in an area of the country with severe winters, you’ll love having metal siding because it can weather storms like a pro. However, be aware that aluminum siding is softer and lighter than steel so you may prefer using steel siding if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions like hail the size of golfballs or heavy-duty hurricanes. Metal siding, such as corrugated steel, offers exceptional strength and adds stability to framing and structures such as pole barns.
Durability and strength add to the amazing longevity of metal siding. Aluminum siding lasts approximately 20 to 40 years, depending on the climate and use. 40-gauge aluminum siding is the cheapest. The standard gauge is 44, and the most expensive is 53-gauge. Typically, the thicker the gauge, the longer-lasting it will be. Properly installed steel siding can last up to 50 years or longer. Most metal sidings include a warranty of 35 to 50 years.
Metal siding has the potential for excellent energy-efficient properties. Much of the steel siding available today is finished with cool-paint technology – a paint designed to reflect the sun’s radiant heat away from a building. The purpose is to stabilize indoor temperatures and reduce energy usage. If your local or regional building codes include LEED and CRRC requirements, metal siding, especially with radiant barrier reflective finishes, is a viable choice.
The thicker the metal siding, the more energy-efficient it will be. You can easily add to the efficiency by installing rigid foam insulation during construction or when re-siding. Also, some siding panels come with a sprayed-on foam insulation backing. Either way, with insulated aluminum or steel siding, you’ll enjoy more comfortable indoor temperatures and lower utility bills.
Metal siding is one of the easiest siding materials to maintain – ever. Metal is very resistant to fading, warping, chipping, and cracking. It’s resistant to insects, wildlife, and moisture which means no termite mitigation, no woodpecker holes, and no mold or mildew. Just about the only thing you’ll need to do is spray down the siding with your garden hose once a year to prevent dust, pollen, and dirt build-up.
Metal siding makes a statement. It looks solid, upscale, and beautiful. The choice of designs, finishes, and colors is impressive and when combined, the siding you choose can have a unique, one-of-a-kind look that enhances the appearance of your home or commercial building. Metal siding is beginning to get recognition for all its advantages and handsome appearance. Although it’s long been a popular siding for commercial and industrial use, it’s being used more and more for home application because it can strengthen architectural features like few other sidings, and is just downright beautiful.
With more and more wildfires plaguing the country, metal siding can provide peace of mind. Having a home or commercial building clad with metal siding (and a metal roof) can be a tremendous advantage in high fire areas or areas with frequent lightning storms. Because of its fire resistance, metal siding can even translate into reduced homeowner insurance costs.
Almost all metal siding is made of recycled metal. Steel siding usually has a higher recycled content than aluminum. Depending on the manufacturer, steel siding will have a recycled content of around 80%. Aluminum siding will have a recycled content of around 35%.
And . . . metal siding is 100% recyclable. After your metal siding is installed, some metal may be left over from window, door, or angle cuts. Your nearby recycling center or scrap yard will take the leftover or unused metal so it doesn’t end up in a landfill. Because of its eco-friendliness and sustainability features, metal siding can help meet most green building code requirements.
Disadvantages of Metal Siding
Steel siding is more expensive than aluminum siding, and that’s because steel is thicker and heavier. If cost is a factor, consider aluminum siding because the panels are lighter, it uses exposed fasteners for installation, and the installation process is DIY-friendly. Because of steel’s weight and robust nature, steel is more time-consuming and more difficult to install, adding to the installation costs. Keep in mind that although you may be paying more up front, particularly with steel siding, the initial cost can be balanced by the long life and low maintenance of metal siding.
When your home is sided with metal, you may hear more noise from the outdoors. If you live on a busy street, near a school, or underneath a flight pattern and have your mind set on metal siding, you may want to consider adding insulation before the siding is installed.
Color Fading or Chalking
There’s a wonderful selection of metal sidings on the market today, and they come in a huge range of finishes. It usually holds true that the stronger and longer-lasting the finish, the more expensive the siding will be. Aluminum siding tends to lose color and fade over time. And if a panel or section needs replacing, it can be difficult to match the original color. Depending on the finish, pre-colored aluminum can turn chalky. The good news is that a good quality paint can solve fading or chalking problems.
Steel siding doesn’t seem to have the fading or chalking problems of aluminum. But if steel is scratched and the protective finish is compromised, steel can rust. If the underlying metal is revealed, it must be repainted immediately to stop rust. Also, steel siding isn’t recommended for areas close to the ocean. The moist salt air tends to cause steel siding to rust easily. If you live in a coastal community and are set on metal siding, choose aluminum because it doesn’t rust.
CLAD Siding will help you find licensed, insured siding contractors to assist with residential and commercial metal siding installation and repairs. Want to get an idea of what metal siding will cost? Ask for a fast, free quote now!