Home Remodeling Ideas & Pictures from Homeowners & Contractors

Vinyl Siding

Pros

  • Very large product range, colors and styles
  • Colorfast and color goes all through product, so won’t fade or show up scratches
  • Will not dent
  • Minimal maintenance and easy to clean
  • Can withstand 110mph winds
  • Durable and won’t rot, will last about 30-40 years
  • Energy efficient, provide good insulation
  • Offers good soundproofing
  • Popular, widely available
  • Cheaper, $3-$7 per square foot installed

Cons

  • Looks “fake” against wood, stone or brick
  • Can melt, warp or even burn, has a lower heat rating than aluminum siding
  • Can crack and become brittle in cold temperatures
  • Can be punctured
  • Will not withstand extreme high wind
  • Cannot be recycled

$4,500 – $10,500

(1,500 sq.ft. vinyl siding installed)

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Aluminum Siding

Pros

  • available in a range of colors, styles and textured finishes
  • easy to keep clean
  • rustproof
  • withstands humidity and salty air corrosion
  • insect proof
  • very integrally durable, will last up to 40-50 years.
  • fire resistant and non-flammable, withstands high temperatures, so won’t burn or melt so easily
  • is not affected by cold temperatures
  • 100% recyclable and eco-friendly
  • energy efficient, provide good insulation
  • affordable, $5-$9 per square foot installed

Cons

  • some styles can look industrial or agricultural, not a popular or upscale look
  • enamel finish can fade or erode, needs to be repainted every 5-10 years
  • regular repainting adds to overall cost
  • can be easily scratched and dented
  • can be noisy in wind and rain or hail; and when expanding/ contracting due to temperature changes

$7,500 – $13,500

(1,500 sq.ft. vinyl siding installed)

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Get free estimates from siding contractors in your city.

  • Siding is an essential element of every home, serving a double purpose of protecting the structure from the element and giving you home its unique character. It’s a part of your house that is worth investing in, especially as many siding options will last decades. Here let’s look more closely at the pros and cons of the vinyl siding versus aluminum siding.

    APPEARANCE

    One of the biggest attractions of vinyl siding is that it is available in a very large range of architectural styles such as rustic “faux” log profiles, classic clapboard, dutch lap, beaded, board & batten, shakes, shingles and more. Often vinyl siding is also embossed to give it texture that mimics wood siding.

    Whilst vinyl siding is made to mimic the look of wood from afar, up close it is easy to tell that it is not the real deal. This is particularly true for vinyl siding shakes and shingles, which won’t ever have that weathered wood look that is usually associated with this style of siding.

    However, the wide range of styles gives you the opportunity to match vinyl siding to the architectural style of your building, or your neighborhood. And its popularity means that you’re likely to see other houses on your street with vinyl siding too.

    Just like vinyl, aluminum siding can be finished in both a smooth and a faux wood texture. But you’ll find that aluminum siding is available in a more limited amount of styles: mainly the classic horizontal and vertical styles such as board & batten, dutch lap and clapboard.

    There are some specialist companies producing aluminum shakes or shingles for siding, but they are not as widely available. Plus, since aluminum shakes or shingles are more often available for roofing than for siding, the ones that are made for siding tend to give a more industrial or agricultural feel to your overall look of the home.

    In terms of color choices, both vinyl and aluminum siding comes in a good range of colors – though vinyl, being more popular, tends to have the edge on a larger range of color options, including bolder looks in blue or terracotta reds.

    The other clear advantage is that vinyl siding is made with colorfast dye incorporated into the polymer before it is molded into boards. This means that the color runs through the entire board and therefore you will not notice scratches so much, and that the color will not fade.

    Conversely for aluminum, the color enamel is applied on top of the board, which means that if it is scratched you will see bare aluminum underneath. For this reason, aluminum siding tends to need to be repainted every 5-10 years, as the enamel color layer will erode and can also be prone to fading over time.

    VINYL SIDING
    ALUMINIUM SIDING
    • large range of styles and colors
    • easy to match style of neighborhood
    • colorfast
    • color throughout, scratches less visible
    • limited range of styles and colors
    • some styles look industrial/ agricultural
    • color can fade
    • color painted on top, scratches more visible
    • needs to be repainted every 5-10 years

    DURABILITY

    No matter what siding you get, if it is not properly installed to suit the many factors that may affect its performance, then it won’t last very long at all! So, assuming excellent installation has happened, on the face of it, aluminum appears to last longer than vinyl.

    Aluminum siding can last up to 40-50 years whilst vinyl siding can lass up to 30-40 years. But how long it actually lasts and how it stands up to the local environment is another thing.

    For example, in coastal and tropical climates both vinyl siding and aluminum siding are stable and rustproof; neither will suffer from suffer seawater corrosion and they are not prone to swelling like wood siding can.

    Both vinyl and aluminum siding perform similarly with regard to high winds: well-installed, high gauge vinyl siding has been tested to ensure it can withstand winds of up to 110pmph. Note, however, that aluminum siding – if not properly installed – can be noisy in high winds.

    Speaking of noise, aluminum siding can sometimes make odd pinging noises as it expands and contracts when the temperatures change from day to night. However, aluminum siding will not be damaged by temperature changes.

    In fact, whilst vinyl siding can crack or become brittle in extreme cold temperatures, aluminum siding will not.

    Further, whilst vinyl siding can melt, warp or burn in extreme heat and fire, aluminum siding is fire resistant and can handle very high temperatures. In fact some home insures will even give you a discount because you’ve opted for aluminum siding because it is fireproof.

    For these reasons vinyl siding is not a great option in environments that get extreme sub-zero weather or that may be more prone to the menace of forest or brush fires.

    But, whilst vinyl doesn’t necessarily do well with extreme temperatures, a great advantage for most households in moderate climates it that – unlike aluminum – it will not dent. This is great news for any family with kids who like ball games!

    VINYL SIDING
    ALUMINIUM SIDING
    • lasts 30-40 years
    • rustproof, not prone to swelling, ok for sea water corrosion
    • can withstand wind if correctly installed
    • can crack in extreme cold
    • can melt in extreme heat
    • cannot dent
    • lasts 40-50 years
    • rustproof, not prone to swelling, great for sea
    • water corrosion
    • can withstand wind if correctly installed
    • can withstand extreme cold
    • can withstand extreme heat
    • can dent

    ENERGY EFFICIENCY & ENVIRONMENTAL CREDENTIALS

    The point of siding is to clad the structure of your home in order to keep it safe from exterior weather damage and to improve the overall energy efficiency of you home. So, as you would expect, both vinyl siding and aluminum siding have good energy efficiency ratings, especially when combined with an insulating backing.

    Vinyl has the edge on aluminum in that it offers somewhat better soundproofing than aluminum – as we mentioned above aluminum (especially if it is badly installed) can be noisy in high winds and when expanding/ contracting due to temperature changes.

    However, aluminum siding has the edge in terms of the environment; this is because aluminum is 100% recyclable. Many aluminum siding manufacturers even incorporate recycled aluminum into the product.

    Conversely, vinyl siding is made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin. Now PVC can be recycled too, but it is a tricky process and not often an option in many waste management facilities.

    Also, dioxin – a known carcinogen – is released in the manufacturing and disposal of PVC. The toxins released when PVC burns can be a major health risk, which is another reason you should avoid vinyl siding if you live in an area prone to forest or bush fires.

    VINYL SIDING
    ALUMINIUM SIDING
    • good energy efficiency
    • good soundproofing
    • not very good for the environment
    • can release harmful toxins if burned
    • good energy efficiency
    • can be noisy of badly installed
    • green option, 100% recyclable

    MAINTENANCE

    Brand new vinyl and aluminum siding are both very easy to keep clean. You need only wash down the siding once or twice a year.

    Technology in making vinyl siding has improved vastly over the past decade, so that today’s vinyl siding is colorfast and has the color throughout the material, so it won’t chip or fade over time which adds to its overall easy maintenance.

    Aluminum siding, however, does have a drawback in this regard. Because the color finish can chip, scratch, fade and erode, you are likely going to have to repaint your aluminum siding every 5-10 years in order to keep it looking as good as new.

    VINYL SIDING
    ALUMINIUM SIDING
    • easy to clean
    • colorfast, won’t fade or chip
    • easy to clean
    • can fade and chip, needs to be repainted every 5-10 years.

    COST

    Both vinyl siding and aluminum siding are competitively priced in the market. Vinyl siding is the cheaper option, at $3-$7 per square foot installed. But aluminum siding is also relatively affordable, at $5-$9 per square foot installed.

    However, with aluminum siding there is the extra cost of repainting to consider, something you might have to do at least 4 times during its lifespan.

    Also, vinyl siding is much more popular than aluminum siding, so it is more widely available.

    VINYL SIDING
    ALUMINIUM SIDING
    • $3-$7 per square foot installed
    • popular and widely available
    • $5-$9 per square foot installed
    • extra cost of repainting needs to be factored in

    RENOCOMPARE VERDICT

    Best siding for families with kids: Vinyl

    There’s a reason that vinyl siding is so popular, and particularly for families.  Not only is it the cheapest option, which helps with a family’s budget, but the fact that it won’t dent and doesn’t show up scratches is a huge factor if you have kids who are going to be playing ball games and having adventures outside!

    Best siding for choice of style and colors: Vinyl

    Being the most popular material, and because of its plasticity which makes it easy to mold, vinyl siding is available in a lot more different siding styles than aluminum. And because of its popularity, vinyl siding is also more widely available in a much larger range of colors than aluminum.

    Best siding for extreme environments: Aluminum

    If you live on the coast, or in an area that are prone to forest or bush fires, then aluminum siding is absolutely the better choice than vinyl. Aluminum is rustproof, withstands seawater corrosion very well, will not crack in extreme cold, and will not melt or burn in a fire or extreme heat emergency.

    Best siding for eco-friendliness: Aluminum

    Aluminum is 100% recyclable and many aluminum siding manufacturers use recycled aluminum in their product. Aluminum is also better overall for the environment because it is fireproof.

    VINYL AND ALUMINUM SIDING VS WOOD, FIBER CEMENT OR STEEL SIDING

    There are of course other siding options to consider.

    For example, whilst aluminum siding does a much better job than vinyl siding in extreme temperatures, it is not as strong as steel siding and performs just as well as cement fiber siding, which is also fireproof. Brick siding is also both fire resistant and another environmentally friendly option to consider.

    Also, whilst vinyl siding is available in a huge range of styles and does a good job of mimicking the real thing, there is no arguing the fact that vinyl siding shingles and shakes will never look as authentic as real cedar or log wood siding. Fiber cement siding is growing in popularity as an alternative to vinyl and is now also available in several different styles.