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What are the Pros and Cons of Metal Siding?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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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.

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Discussion Comments
By anon332630 — On Apr 30, 2013

That is, if you get tornadoes. There are not many in Canada. In order for rust to appear, the color coated paint needs to be scraped, scratched or damaged from strong cleaning products that shouldn't be used. Steel siding over 29 gauge shouldn't be used because it's too easy to dent. Make sure you get information from specialized people to see what suits you best!

By anon327319 — On Mar 27, 2013

@ZsaZsa: You'd better not use any wooden 2 x 4's or metal ones either, for that matter. You can't use any wooden floor joists also, for the reasons you state.

It looks like your dream home is going to be a thatch hut, although I have seen pictures of strands of straw penetrating telephone poles. Perhaps a sleeping bag may be the only non-dangerous material. It would be kind of like getting hit with a pillow.

By backdraft — On Jan 19, 2012

I think the rust thing sometimes get played up. If you properly treat and maintain metal siding panels they will last for many years without any sign of rust.

I had a job installing metal siding for a while and the preparation of the panels was almost as important as how they were installed. We also did repair work, and in the instances where we saw rust it was usually because of owner neglect. Just like any kind of house, the exterior takes some upkeep. But if you stay on top of it a metal sided house can last as long as you do.

By ZsaZsa56 — On Jan 18, 2012

I kind of have a weird perspective on this, but I was in Joplin MO not long after the tornado hit last summer and I was struck by home much metal siding had blown over city.

In some places it had impaled cars and building. It was a really gruesome sight and one that is strangely strong in my mind compared to how many strange things I saw during my time there.

I don't know if I could ever have a metal sided house for this very reason. Just thinking about all that it could do when it started blowing around gives me the creeps.

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