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Siding: Aluminum vs. Vinyl
by Thomas Kral on May 6, 2012
What is the difference between vinyl and aluminum siding?
The differences between the two types of siding are mostly about preference and price. Vinyl is less expensive than aluminum especially if the aluminum is vinyl wrapped. With aluminum colors fade and get chalky, pits with age, and dents if anything hits it. The vinyl wrapped aluminum is stronger than vinyl by itself and makes it much more maintenance free. Vinyl siding can crack and fade slower than aluminum. One of the most common causes of damage to vinyl happens when someone has put their grill to close to it and has melted it.
Vinyl siding is an extruded plastic material. It usually ranges in thickness from .040" - .046". Aluminum siding is a formed material, typically .019" thick. Vinyl siding has a solid color, while aluminum siding has a baked on enamel paint finish.
Vinyl siding is typically more durable than aluminum being that it is over twice the thickness. Vinyl siding does become slightly brittle during the winter time. Aluminum siding maintains the same properties year round despite the temperature. Vinyl siding also expands and contracts in greater fluctuation than aluminum siding.
As mentioned before vinyl siding has solid color, meaning even if scratched the color won't change. Aluminum siding has the baked on enamel finish, if scratched the paint will be removed and the bare metal below will be visible. However due to the expansive properties of vinyl, aluminum siding takes paint better if you ever decide to re-paint. It is not recommended to paint vinyl.
Aluminum siding has lost tremendous market share since the release of vinyl siding. Some statistics report as much as 80% of all sidings installed are vinyl. Aluminum siding is still very common for trim pieces because of its flexible properties. It is very easy to custom bend an aluminum trim piece. All vinyl has to be extruded or molded into shape.
In most situations it is recommended to install vinyl siding with aluminum trim pieces. Overall vinyl is more durable, has solid color and is cheaper than aluminum.
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