Steel, wood, plastic, vinyl, cement - the options are incredibly varied when it comes to choosing siding for your residential or commercial construction projects. As with all building products, we always recommend analyzing first-time and lifetime costs when making materials selection. What may cost more at the outset will often pay for the difference in pricing and then some over the course of the product's lifetime.
Steel and metal siding products are some of the most durable and low-maintenance products on the market. They are so durable, in fact that most warranties are offered between 20- to 40-years, although properly installed and well-maintained siding will last longer than that. Even so, no product is perfect so the following is a list of pros and cons to help you determine whether metal siding is the right choice for your building.
The Pros of Metal Siding
We always like the good news first, so here it goes:
Tough as nails. Get it? Metal siding products are literally as tough as nails. No need to worry about cracking, chipping or warping. They are also completely pest-resistant and are fire retardant when compared with their counterparts. However, not all metals are created equal so take your area's weather patterns and exterior circumstances into account when choosing specific products. For example, aluminum siding is affordable and looks great for years - but if you live in an area that is prone to hailstorms or your kids are known to hit fly balls into the walls from time to time, steel siding will be a better bet.
Low-maintenance requirements. If you purchase a high-quality metal siding product with appropriate protective coatings, you'll hardly every need to do anything other than give it a good wash from time to time. Washing your metal-sided building bi-annually (more if visibly needed) will protect it from the chemical reactions that can occur when accumulated dirt, debris or environmental toxins begin reacting with metal building products. Washing your siding a couple times a year will keep this erosion to a minimum. Plus, it will keep your building looking like new. Should the color begin to fade decades down the road, or should your tastes change, all you have to do is repaint your metal siding with a high-quality coating designed for your particular metal siding and your building will get an instant facelift.
Improve interior comfort and energy efficiency. You can choose your metal siding products to directly improve interior comfort and reduce energy spending. If your home's cooling costs are through the roof, reflective coatings divert the sun's UV rays away from the house, keeping your interior cooler and reducing the amount of time your A/C runs. On the flip side, if you live in a cooler climate, you can select darker colors for your metal siding, which will absorb the sun's rays and help to warm your home. Your metal siding manufacturer can help you determine which option will be best to increase interior comfort and energy efficiency in your home or business.
It's a sustainable material. Steel and metal siding products are sustainable and help both home- and business-owners meet their criteria for green building codes. Not only are metal building products manufactured using pre- and post-consumer recycled materials, they can be reused or recycled at the end of their life cycle, leaving a very minimal carbon footprint.
The Cons of Metal Siding Products
It can dent. If you don't buy thicker, higher-quality products, metal siding can become dented by forceful impact. For this reason, we always recommend choosing the highest-quality product you can afford so this becomes a non-issue.
Moisture is the enemy. As you know, metal can rust, which means moisture is the enemy. However, unlike other products that are laid in layers, metal siding is laid in sheets, leaving minimal areas for water to infiltrate. When properly installed, and when edges are adequately sealed, there will be no way for water to make its way into and under the siding. Always use an experienced contractor to ensure your metal siding is installed correctly.
It can cost more at the outset. Perhaps one of the most prohibitive factors for homeowners is that metal siding - especially steel siding - is more expensive at the outset than other options. However, this ties back into what we mentioned above in terms of first- and lifetime costs. If you invest more money into high-quality steel or heavy aluminum siding now, you will make that money back, and probably pocket some extra, in reduced maintenance, repair and replacement costs down the road.
Would you like to speak with a professional to determine whether metal siding is the best choice for your upcoming construction project? Contact the representatives at Whirlwind Steel to get honest answers to your questions.