Metal Siding - Steel Siding
A Comparison with Aluminum Siding
Two types of metal siding are available for residences, steel and aluminum. Steel siding has most of the same advantages and disadvantages as aluminum siding, but with a few exceptions.
Like aluminum siding it is not bothered be extreme temperatures, it won’t burn, and it doesn’t crack.
Its main advantage over aluminum siding is that it doesn’t ding and dent as easily as aluminum. Aluminum siding can get deformed by a good hail storm. Steel will come through unfazed.
Its main disadvantage over aluminum siding is that it will rust. For most people that is enough to scare the off right away. Who wants to look like they live in a rusty can?
The truth of the matter is that the steel is treated and can last many decades without rusting if properly installed and cared for. Typically your siding will stop several inches short of the ground, so siding will never come in contact with wet ground, but if you build up your flower beds and the steel siding is in contact with the dirt, you are likely to have a rust problem after a few years. I have seen this on a few industrial steel buildings.
Likewise rust problems may develop if you have drainage issue off your roof and water is getting behind the siding. Of course this is also likely to damage any wood framing and create mold problems, so siding rust is but one of many reasons to ensure your roof and gutters are doing their job.
Steel roofs have been around for years, and people are a little bit more familiar with them than they are with residential steel siding. They are even becoming popular again. Part of that reason is the improvements in rust prevention and coatings that have made them competitive with other roofing products. The same basic story applies with siding. Steel can be a very decent product for siding your house.
That said the same basic design considerations apply to any metal siding. If you are going for the traditional wood lap look there are other products on the market that will look more like wood. However, if you need a product that can handle temperature extremes and hail and still look good then you should consider steel siding.
Finally, a word of advice. With any building product it is best if you can see actual installations. You are going to spend thousands or tens of thousands. You don’t want surprises after installation is complete. If none of your neighbors have metal siding, ask a contractor to point out some of his projects.
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