In this crowded field, aluminum siding is nothing new — in fact, it’s been used as a cost-effective home siding option since the 1940s. The fact that it’s still around should tell you just how good it is as an inexpensive and durable exterior siding solution. If you’re thinking about upgrading your siding, here’s how to calculate the cost of aluminum siding, and what you need to know about siding installation and maintenance.
Why Aluminum Siding?
Aluminum siding is a great choice for a lot of reasons. First of all, it’s durable and long-lasting in any climate. It doesn’t crack in the cold, or rust in moisture. It keeps out water as well as termites and other insects and insulates well in both the summer and the winter. With proper maintenance, aluminum can last for 40 years or more. And on top of that, it takes paint well when you’re ready to change the look of your home.
It’s also affordable to purchase, install and service. The cost of aluminum siding per foot compares favorably to other materials, and the material won’t require much more maintenance than an occasional cleaning and repainting in most situations.
Yet, there are drawbacks — it can be dented by, for example, a stray football (or foot). The coating is durable but not invincible, and it can also be scratched, exposing the metal beneath. And although it won’t rust, it can pick up rust stains from nearby metal. Likewise, it’s prone to scratching — and it isn’t energy efficient. In the hot summer months, aluminum siding tends to absorb heat, meaning that it’ll take more energy to cool your home.
Likewise, while aluminum can be repainted to easily change the look of your home, repainting isn’t just something you’ll have to do when you want to give your home a boost in curb appeal. Nick Gromicko of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors notes that “although the siding takes the application of paint well, it may need to be repainted every five to 10 years. If any oxidation has occurred, it must be removed before new paint is applied, which can make for a labor-intensive process. In general, repainting aluminum siding requires preparation similar to repainting a car.”
Because of these downsides, aluminum siding has declined in popularity. Still, it might be the best type of siding for your home — the only way to know for sure is to contact a home contractor who can tell you what option is best for your situation.
Cost of Aluminum Siding
Like anything else when it comes to home renovation, the cost of aluminum siding can vary tremendously. Some of the factors include:
- The type of siding: Aluminum siding comes in different gauges (thicknesses), colors, styles, sizes, and so on. Thicker siding is pricier than thinner, color-coated is more expensive than raw, and other factors like style may affect the price. However, in some cases, more expensive aluminum siding may be less costly overall.
For example, buying heavier aluminum will increase the upfront cost, but may also increase the lifespan of your siding and preserve the appearance of your house, making it more cost-effective over the long haul. Similarly, colored siding may be more costly than plain aluminum siding, but it will work out much cheaper once you factor in the cost of a paint job.
- Your area: Different regions have different suppliers with different prices. Contractor rates also vary by region.
- Retail vs. wholesale: Buying in bulk saves money. A professional contractor will pay less per panel for the raw material, and pass on those savings to you.
- Prep work: In some cases, slapping new siding over the old layer can be a good way to save money. If your old siding has been installed properly and is still in good shape with no insect damage, rot, or other issues, you may be able to decrease costs by laying your new aluminum siding on top of it.
Not only will this save costs by cutting the time required, but also by eliminating the disposal costs of getting rid of the old siding. Whether this is a good solution depends on the siding condition, materials, and other factors.
- Extras: When you think of siding, you probably first picture the slats hanging on your walls, but there are other kinds of siding. There’s the horizontal siding under your roof’s overhang (soffit), and the vertical trim directly above those horizontal slats (fascia). There are also various options for molding to emphasize the roofline and other architectural features of your house. Your home’s geometry and the options you choose to highlight it can affect the cost of siding.
- Size of the job: The larger your house, the more siding will cost in total. However, it may be less expensive per foot for a bigger job.
As you can see, aluminum siding costs vary widely. A good rule of thumb is to estimate about $3 to $6 per square foot to have siding installed, with another $1 to $2 for teardown and removal of old siding. So, if you have 2,000 square feet of exterior wall and don’t have to remove old siding, you’re looking at roughly $6,000 to $12,000. Add removal, and the price goes up to the $10,000 to $16,000 range.
How Does Aluminum Compare to Vinyl Siding?
For new residential structures, vinyl siding tends to be the number one choice — and for good reason. Vinyl siding tends to be more durable than aluminum siding. It holds up to the elements a lot better and it’s unlikely to get scratched or dented.
In the case of an extreme windstorm, or any other form of property damage, vinyl siding tends to be easier to repair. Additionally, with newer vinyl siding, you’re not going to have to repaint it, and because of how modern vinyl siding is made, you don’t have to worry about the color fading. Typically, the only maintenance that vinyl siding needs is a cleaning every now and then. Outside of that, once it’s on your house, you can forget about it.
Vinyl also doesn’t soak up heat like aluminum siding, which might make it a better choice for a home that’s in a more extreme climate.
Is Aluminum Siding More Affordable than Vinyl Siding?
Much like aluminum siding, the price of vinyl siding heavily depends on many separate factors. How big is your home? What kind of vinyl siding are you looking to purchase (keep in mind — vinyl siding comes in many different styles, and it can mimic the look of many other types of home covering)? How thick do you want the vinyl to be? What additional features do you want it to have?
According to Doug Bonderund of Angie’s List, “Vinyl siding costs on average $6,800 for a 2,200-square-foot home. Add to this cost the removal and disposal of any existing siding — $1,000 to $3,000 — and the cost of extras such as fascia, soffits, trim, and crown molding.”
When it comes down to it, vinyl and aluminum siding are similar in price. Ultimately, when deciding between them, it doesn’t come down to price — rather, it comes down to what’s best for your home. If you’re working with a reputable contractor, they’ll be able to assist you in figuring out what type of siding you should choose.
Giving Your Home the Right Look
Your siding isn’t just a way to protect your house, it’s an investment in its character, curb appeal, and value. If you get tired of it in the future, you can change your siding, but with the durability of modern siding, that’s an expensive project you can avoid by picking out a style you won’t get tired of.
Aluminum siding is durable, affordable, and able to take new paint with ease, making it a fantastic choice for a home that will look good, year after year — yet, for your home, vinyl siding might be the better choice. Not sure what to pick? Nu Look Home Design has a fantastic selection of high-quality siding, affordable pricing, and the expertise to do the job right the first time. Whether you know exactly what you want, or you’re looking for a partner to help you pick out and install the right materials for your exterior, contact us today.