Vinyl vs. Aluminum Siding: What’s The Difference?

For the last 60 years, Vinyl and Aluminum siding have competed with one another. These both being considered affordable options, Vinyl has always come in at a slightly lower price tag than Aluminum, making it one of the most commonly found cladding products in the residential sector. But is this low price point worth it? Read more for a comparison between Vinyl and Aluminum siding.

What Is Vinyl Siding?

Vinyl siding is the one of the least expensive cladding products on the market. Over the last 60 years, it has become commonplace on many residential exteriors. Vinyl is molded to emulate the look of wood board, while really being composed of PVC resin.

The low price point is Vinyl’s greatest selling point in comparison to other cladding products. It boasts a slick finish–which makes cleaning as simple as spraying it with a hose–and its color will not chip away like paint does.

What Is Vinyl Siding?

But as with any product noted for its cheapness–you get what you pay for.
Vinyl might look like wood from afar, but it is far from wood–its plastic gloss pales in comparison to alternatives such as Wood Polymer Composite in emulating the finish and texture of natural wood.

As a commonly found product in the residential market, Vinyl does little to differentiate a house’s exterior from the next. In some cases, its reputation for cheapness might even limit the resale value of your home.

Extreme climates are the bane of Vinyl siding. In freezing temperatures, Vinyl is vulnerable to cracking due to even small impacts. During a long winter, Vinyl is at its most brittle, resulting in cracks that leave your building’s envelope susceptible to water leakage come spring.

Heat is not good for Vinyl either. Vinyl is notorious for color fade from UV exposure and there have even been cases where sunlight reflected from windows has caused Vinyl planks to melt.

The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.
Benjamin Franklin

This damage works against the selling point of vinyl siding being affordable. As Benjamin Franklin put it, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” Vinyl does not take paint well, so it is difficult to remedy its quickly faded color without replacing it altogether. In the case of cracks or other ruptures, it is easy enough to replace an isolated area of the siding; it is, however, difficult to match the color of the new planks with the ones that have been exposed to sunlight for longer.

Exterior is a critical piece of any home. Cladding embodies the building as a whole–home buyers take note of vinyl siding and wonder if the behind the scenes elements of the building were also chosen based on low price points.

What is Aluminum Siding?

Aluminum siding is the product that Vinyl was designed to compete with. Coming in at a slightly higher price point, Aluminum brings the glossy luxury of metal and is rising once more in popularity. Vinyl may have had its time in the sun (leaving its color faded), but Aluminum is the modern residential siding favorite.

What is Aluminum Siding?

Aluminum, unlike other metals, is great at resisting corrosion and moisture damage. Rust, a deterrent for many people looking to use metal for their exteriors, is not an issue when it comes to Aluminum.
When it comes to look, Aluminum offers many options to encapsulate the character of a home and help it stand out on the block. A wide range of colors and glosses are available–even woodgrain!

The ability to repaint Aluminum without chipping or peeling allows homeowners to enjoy flexibility when it comes to their home’s appearance. Color can change with taste and any fading can be remedied without having to replace the cladding itself.

What is Aluminum Siding?

For all the benefits of Aluminum siding, it–like anything–is not without its faults. In comparison to other metals or composites, it is susceptible to denting or scratching. The softness of Aluminum makes it easy to fabricate and install, but one may find themselves having to repair damage to Aluminum siding similar to one would fix the body of a car after a minor accident.

One of the biggest comparisons between Vinyl and Aluminum is this: Vinyl is a product that pretends to be wood, whereas Aluminum stands on its own. Wood is more expensive–and arguably more desirable–than either, but while Vinyl imitates, Aluminum strikes its own path. This makes Aluminum a distinct and standout product in both the residential and commercial space.

Sustainability

Sustainability is a first-in-mind consideration in the modern cladding industry, so how do these products compare in terms of environmental impact?

The most notable point of difference comes in the recyclability of these two products. Aluminum is one of the most commonly recycled materials, whereas the PVC in Vinyl siding is expensive and labor intensive to repurpose–usually it is taken to the dump and burned. This sends harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.

What is Aluminum Siding? - Sustainability

Speaking of harmful chemicals, Vinyl stinks. This is not a playground insult, but rather a common concern surrounding this siding product. Once installed, Vinyl will need a few weeks or more to outgas, omitting the compounds necessary to manufacturing this product. This produces a toxic smell that can lead to symptoms similar to allergies and asthma. Due to this, the factories that produce Vinyl siding are under heavy regulation by Part 1910 of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Conclusion

Affordability is an important consideration when it comes to choosing cladding products, but with an element as critical as a building’s exterior, the decision should not come down to a race at the bottom. After years of experience in the industry, Wiedehopf has seen the quickly faded impact of Vinyl siding, and want our customers to get value out of their exteriors–which makes us proud to supply southern Ontario with the best Aluminum siding on the market.

If you want to learn more about the modern cladding solution best for your home or building, give one of our representatives a call at +1(905) 761 9791.

 

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