The outer house covering known as siding is available in many different materials, including vinyl, or plastic, and wood as well as metal. Metal siding is typically either steel or aluminum; both of these have strong advantages plus distinct disadvantages. The pros of steel siding include its strength and color retention, while the biggest con can be its cost. Aluminum, on the other hand, is a metal house covering that is relatively inexpensive, yet it doesn't have the quality advantages of steel siding.
Aluminum metal siding doesn't hold its color well, as it tends to fade or get a chalky texture from the effects of weather. It's also a metal that dents easily from hail or heavy rain. Even using a power washing tool to clean the siding may cause it to dent. On the plus side though, aluminum can often just be cleaned with a regular garden hose.
A large con, or disadvantage, with aluminum home siding is that although it's often used on manufactured homes to save money, as it's an economical house covering, when a section wears out, it can be difficult to find the same color. This may be either because the color selection for the siding is limited or discontinued or that the original pieces have gone chalky over time. Yet, painting aluminum siding can make it look fresh. Only good quality paint should be used or the new look won't last very long.
Despite the typically high cost of steel house siding, it has many more pros, or advantages, than its lower priced aluminum counterpart. Steel holds its color well and is much less susceptible to denting. Unlike aluminum, steel metal siding can usually handle machine pressure washing, but the lowest setting should be used.
The major con, or disadvantage, with steel exterior house covering is that it's very prone to eventual rusting, even if it's coated with a rust protector. For this reason, steel siding isn't good for coastal areas, as it won't stand up as well as aluminum to the salt and dampness. Steel is also heavy to work with and can affect labor costs, as it may substantially slow down metal siding installation projects.
All types of metal house siding have the disadvantage of being non-insulating. Aluminum and steel siding have the advantage of being fire- and insect-resistant. Recycled forms of metal siding can be used for an environmentally friendly approach to exterior house coverings.