Metal Siding

Metal siding, just as the name suggests, is siding made of metal. It is a popular alternative to wood, vinyl, fiber cement, and other siding materials when durability is a top priority. That being said, many modern homes now install metal siding for aesthetic reasons also. Metal siding adds a very modern or industrial look to your home and is becoming popular among designers. The primary metals used in metal siding are aluminum and steel. Both have their pros and cons, and both should be considered. Aluminum and steel siding is durable, low- maintenance, and fire-resistant. They have been used since World War II for house cladding. Metal siding had its largest growth period in the 1980s when manufacturers figured out how to use embossing and coatings to simulate wood. This is not used much anymore as fiber cement mimics wood much better than metal siding.

Indiana businessman Frank Hoess is credited with the invention modern metal siding. He used aluminum siding and tested its resistance to the elements. Metal siding has come a long way since Frank first started experimenting with metal siding. Metal siding is now becoming very popular for both home siding and commercial siding. Businesses want the durability, low-maintenance, and longevity of metal siding, which only requires power washing to maintain. Homeowners are using metal siding to achieve a modern and industrial look for aesthetic effects.

What’s the Difference Between Aluminum and Steel Siding?

Aluminum siding installation ArkansasChoosing between aluminum and steel depends on your needs pertaining to cost as well as your personal preference pertaining to style, as they have a different look and feel.

Aluminum is a naturally occurring material that is made from bauxite ore. It is one of the most abundant materials in the Earth’s crust and is the most common metal. Steel is a combination of iron, carbon, and other elements.

Aluminum is just that- it’s aluminum. Steel can be made of many different ingredients like carbon, low-strength alloy, high-strength alloy, or other combinations. The final product depends on the purpose of the installation. Manufacturing steel is very involved and costly, which is why it costs more than aluminum.

metal-siding-industrial-installationThe difference in steel and aluminum is really just a trade-off between strength and flexibility. Both strength and flexibility have their pros and cons. Steel siding is stronger than aluminum siding. Because steel siding is heavier than aluminum siding, it is not as flexible. Steel siding is more resistant to dents and rips. If steel siding is not coated, it will rust very easily. Aluminum is much lighter and is far more rust resistant. Aluminum is much easier to install, and it is more likely to dent and tear than steel siding.

The general rule is the difference between steel and aluminum siding comes down to cost, ease of installation, and durability. There are trade-offs with both, so it is important to understand each type of material and its general uses in the siding.

Aluminum Siding

Aluminum siding installation JTI Siding Ft. Smith ARAluminum siding comes in many shapes and sizes. One of the beauties of this more flexible metal is that it’s much easier to bend into the desired shape. There are many types of panels (referred to as profiles) which are made in a wide range of factory-baked colors and textures. Types of aluminum siding are very similar to the styles and dimensions of vinyl siding, though some 12-by-36-inch and 12-by-48-inch panels can be made to simulate cedar shakes. When maintained properly, aluminum siding can last from 35 years up to the life of the house.

Maintaining aluminum siding comes down to washing it off annually, often with a power washer, which can be bought affordably at your local hardware store or can be rented instead. It’s best to clean any surface stains with a non-abrasive soap. Because aluminum is lightweight and easy to install, the cost of the installation of this siding is relatively low.

Steel Siding

Steel siding installation JTI Siding Ft. Smith ARSteel siding is stronger, heavier, and more able to resist hail and stormy weather. It is much harder to dent than aluminum. Professional installation is a must with steel siding. Steel is very heavy and installation requires a lot of metal bending. This requires strength, experience, and special tools. This is not a DIY project.

Steel siding panels come in the same types of panels as aluminum (and vinyl) siding, although often you find fewer options in steel. This is because the manufacturers usually don’t carry all types of profiles, and it means you often have to special order. This raises the cost of steel siding even higher. Steel siding is given a baked-on finish with a large selection of colors and textures that are either smooth or rough and can mimic the look of woodgrain. Again, the wood finish is not as realistic as fiber cement, and most often homeowners choose metal siding because they want a smooth look. Steel siding maintenance is the same as aluminum siding; it’s just an annual power wash. When scratches appear (and they will) you can simply prime and paint the material. This is very important because, if you don’t, the steel will rust and degrade the strength of the metal. With basic care and maintenance, steel siding will last 30 years or more.

Metal Siding profiles

Metal siding profiles, installation JTI Siding Fayetteville ARMetal siding profiles can be one of the more confusing choices in the siding world. This is because the metal siding is bent into shape before it is marketed and sold to the general public. Also, there are many manufacturers of metal siding and each manufacturer offers different thicknesses and different types of metal bends. This means that there really is not a standard profile for metal siding. At last count, there were over 500 types of metal profiles. Despite the variety, we have categorized metal siding profiles in terms of the following basic shapes for you:

Corrugated – this is the traditional style of metal siding on a barn. The corrugation adds additional strength. It is easily recognizable by its even series of large peaks and valleys. The distance between the peaks and falls is always uniform. Typically, the peaks and valleys are very large in size, usually one inch and up.

Ribbed – comes in many sizes, but the ribs are typically much smaller than their corrugated counterparts and come in two basic categories, low ribbed and high ribbed.

Snap Seamed – made to mimic vinyl. It has a large flat portion rather than a series of small bends that can be snapped under a seam to create a look like vinyl siding.

Crimped – one of the more popular styles as its flat for the most part with a very small crimp that is put in the metal at various distances (often these crimps are set at 4-inch, 6-inch, or 8-inch spaces). This method allows the metal siding to look similar to board and baton vinyl siding.

Reverse – this is where the flat part of the siding is raised and the crimp is closer to the home’s wall, and is sometimes referred to as raised-metal siding. This is not a common style and tends to be used in an industrial setting, often for an artistic effect.

Boxed or Curved – this comes down to the crimp itself. Some homeowners prefer the metal to have very straight edges that create a very uniform look. Other homeowners prefer rounded edges that look more like waves. Rounded edges are much harder to achieve and are more expensive. Most metal siding has a boxed-style crimp, and often it is purposely non-uniform, creating a feeling of more depth to the siding on your home. It also gives a more natural or custom-made look to the home.

Pros and Cons of Metal Siding

There are many options in materials you can use for siding your home. Metal is increasing in popularity because of its durability and sustainability. It does have pros and cons, and it’s important to understand these when considering metal siding as an option. Here is some important information to help you decide what’s best for your home:

Pros

  • Fire resistance – It takes extremely high temperatures to melt metal siding. Although forest fires have been known to get hot enough to melt both aluminum and steel siding, it does not burn like wood or melt like vinyl, and it will withstand higher temperatures than any other type of siding. Metal siding is one of the few siding materials that has been known to withstand home fires. Seamlessness – Although it is not actually seamless, due to its rigidity it can be made in much longer lengths than other siding materials. If your home is small enough, it is possible to have no seams on the walls.
  • Eco-friendly – It is easy to make metal siding from reclaimed metal. It can be made from recycled steel or aluminum and can be recycled again in the future if you decide to change your home’s siding to a different material.
  • Low maintenance – Metal siding is very easily maintained, and in fact, it is easier to maintain than any other form of siding. It just requires some soap and water. This is easiest with a power washer. Power washers are now easy to operate as well as affordable.
  • Rust free – This requires some explaining as steel will rust if it is scratched. However, if maintained and repaired with primer and paint, it will remain rust free for a very long time.
  • Rot free – Steel siding and aluminum siding does not rot like their wood counterparts. Also, they will not disintegrate over time like fiber cement siding will. (Often homeowners think their fiber cement siding is rotting, but it’s actually disintegrating, as fiber cement, if not cared for, will lose its rigid qualities and essentially turn back to sand over time. This is called disintegration.)
  • Insect and animal proof – Unlike all other siding materials, metal siding is insect and animal proof. This is because there are no insects or animals that can use their teeth to shred it for a nest. Also, insects cannot consume it as food as they do with wood siding.

Cons

  • Heavy – Due to its weight, steel is just not a DIY project and will require a professional installation company. Although aluminum is much lighter, the bending of the metal and the fact that when it’s installed the seam must be much tighter than vinyl means you will still need a professional for the installation. Also, due to the amount of cutting and bending of the material during installation, specialty tools are required and the operations of these tools take years to master.
  • Special order – Metal siding is often considered a special-order product due to the vast array of widths and sizes. Homeowners often want something very specific, and this requires a special order. It can take months to get the metal siding you ordered.
  • Conduction – Metal siding is an excellent conductor of heat. Unfortunately, this means that heat also escapes more easily from your home in the winter. Metal siding, generally speaking, will raise your cooling costs in the summer and heating costs in the winter. Good insulation, installed at the same time your siding is installed, is a must to counter this issue.
  • Energy-intensive – Metal siding is very energy intensive to manufacture. In addition, metal is not a renewable resource, even though much of it can be recycled.
  • Rust – If scratched, it will rust, and it will rust quickly. Steel rusts much more quickly than aluminum. When scratches or dents appear because of hail or some other damage, the metal must be sanded, primed, and painted immediately to prevent rust from setting in.

JTI Siding serves customers throughout the Northeast Arkansas, including Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, Rogers and Springdale