Metal Siding for Your Richmond Home
Metal siding is growing in popularity for both commercial and residential buildings. This is partly attributed to the variety of ways that you can use it, the longevity of the material, and how easy it is to install. The variety of options provided with steel siding panels has helped to drive this growing trend and is matched by the minimal maintenance required by metal. When this is used as a siding material, the metal panels help to create a traditional, modern, and industrial style of design.
There are several types of metal siding available for use today, with each one having a unique look and appeal. Some of the most popular options include:
Corrugated Metal Siding: Features exposed fasteners and offers superior strength and durability.
Vertical siding panels: Features hidden or exposed fasteners and offers the ability to align each panel vertically to create uniform vertical lines.
Horizontal siding panels: Features hidden or exposed fasteners and a popular option for modern, commercial designs.
Modern exterior siding: Features hidden or exposed fasteners and allows you to create a more modern look for the exterior of your building.
Rustic steel siding: Regardless of what you are building, rustic siding offers natural and authentic finishes that achieve the weathered and old look.
Metal siding has come a long way since the days when any little bump against it would cause an ugly dent that could not be fixed. Check out the pros and cons for more detail on this.
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Metal, typically aluminum or steel, offers a number of attractive advantages that should be considered when selecting a siding.
One big advantage is its low maintenance. When properly installed, metal requires almost no effort from the homeowner to remain very attractive and functional. Metal is a great deterrent to snow, ice, frost, sleet, rain, and even heat. The elements, which can be really hard on some other types of siding, are harmless to metal. It does not absorb moisture and is resistant to mold and mildew, which can be extremely harmful to occupants as well as damaging to the framing of the home.
The key to durability is to be sure the aluminum or steel is of the proper thickness to resist damage. This is particularly true of aluminum, which is much softer than steel. Typical aluminum base siding has a thickness of 0.032 inch which is almost twice the thickness of its steel counterpart, however aluminum is inherently soft and more prone to dents and abrasions than steel. More on this in the cons section.
Metal is also extremely resistant to insects, for obvious reasons. Many siding options are prone to damage from various insects, but not metal. Some sidings require occasional spraying to repel insects, which can add up over time, but metal is completely insect resistant with no additional maintenance.
Like most other sidings, metal comes in a variety of textures and patterns to mimic wood, and it can come pre-colored. Pre-colored steel can provide 15 to 20 years of maintenance free living, and possibly more depending on the local conditions.
Another advantage to metal is that it is fire resistant. Even direct lightning hits will not cause it to burn. This is a huge advantage in areas prone to fires or lightning storms. Insurance in those areas can be significantly less with metal clad homes and is something that should be very seriously considered by those living in such areas.
Lastly, aluminum siding is relatively inexpensive to purchase and not difficult to install for those prone to doing work themselves.
The disadvantages and drawbacks of metal are as follows:
First, regarding aluminum, and as alluded to above, it is a soft metal that dents easily, even when in thicker sheets. Things like flying debris, hail, and even power washers can cause aluminum to dent. And once one piece is dented, it is difficult to replace and also to get the new piece to match color-wise.
The color is an issue with aluminum (but not necessarily steel) because it does not hold color well. Pre-colored aluminum does not hold up much better than painted wood, tending to fade or to develop a chalky texture after a few years of exposure. It can also be difficult to get an exact match on the color if more is ordered from the manufacturer. It should be noted here that aluminum can be re-painted and returned to an attractive state.
From a color perspective, steel holds up better than aluminum and does not have the tendency to turn chalky. However steel can start to rust, even without being damaged, particularly in coastal areas subject to salty air, fog, or other excessive dampness. Steel is treated with a rust-resistant compound but is still prone to rusting in the areas mentioned.
Even the most robust pieces of aluminum or steel are subject to denting or piercing if struck hard enough. And they are both subject to scratching which will expose the underlying metal. Aluminum will not rust, but if steel is scratched or pierced, it must be repaired quickly to prevent rust.
Metal is a poor insulator of both temperature and sound, though if enough insulation is installed behind it, these problems can be mitigated.
Steel is more expensive than most other types of siding, plus it is thicker and heavier making it more time-consuming and difficult to install, driving up the installation cost.
Lastly metal is considered a green option because it can be recycled and does not have to be discarded.