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Metal vs. Vinyl Siding: A Comprehensive Comparison for Homeowners

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Metal Siding Residential

Siding is an important part of your home’s exterior. It helps up your curb appeal while still providing protection for the structure beneath it. Two of the most popular material options for siding are metal and vinyl. Both have their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. We’re exploring these two types of siding materials so you can choose which is best for your home’s exterior with an honest comparison.

When comparing the different characteristics of these two siding materials, taking the environment and typical weather conditions from where the siding will reside into account is crucial. Lifespans, maintenance, and even pricing can vary greatly based on these different factors.

For these reasons, Latest Architectural Reports will compare “averages,” but it’s important to remember that your home’s specific environment can affect how long siding will last, how much maintenance it may need, costs, etc. To get a truly specific look at how metal will perform in your region, it’s best to get in touch with a Product Specialist.

Durability

One of the biggest differentiating factors between metal and vinyl siding is their durability. Both can provide protection of your structure, but metal’s strength far outweighs vinyl’s. Metal siding is one of the toughest materials on the market today.

While vinyl does offer some protection of course, it’s nowhere near the level of metal siding. Vinyl can very easily get punctured by small impacts, which can lead to your structure beneath being exposed to moisture. Anything from your lawn mower throwing a tiny rock to an actual hailstorm, your siding will likely be damaged. Vinyl is also susceptible to cracking and warping as it expands and contracts with changing temperatures.

Lifespan

Another one of the biggest factors that sets these two siding materials apart are their lifespans. On average, you can expect your metal siding to last between 40-70 years, and sometimes even way longer than that. This siding material’s lifespan can be extended or shortened depending on proper care, the type of metal used (steel, aluminum, etc.), and the environment in which you reside.

Vinyl siding on the other hand has an average expected lifespan that can range from 20-40 years. However, with proper care and maintenance, you can possibly get a longer life out of this material. Compared against one another, metal siding still outlasts vinyl.

Maintenance

No one wants to spend more time than necessary on home maintenance. It can be both time consuming and costly. When it comes to maintenance on metal siding, there is virtually none, which is one of the biggest appeals of this material for most. After metal siding is installed, most homeowners can get by with just a quick annual visual inspection — no sealing, power washing, scrubbing, or other tasks. Metal repels pests and insects, so you don’t have to worry about spraying for bugs either. It also doesn’t promote mold or fungus growth because it doesn’t absorb or retain moisture like other materials. Metal is one of the lowest maintenance building materials on the market!

On average, vinyl siding requires a bit more upkeep when compared to metal. Especially on areas of your home that are constantly shaded, vinyl can start to grow a green-colored algae that takes a lot of work to remove. Most homeowners find themselves needing to at least rinse and usually wipe down their vinyl siding once a year.

Style

When it comes to the style and aesthetic you want, metal siding has a lot more design potential compared to vinyl. Metal siding comes in a variety of different profiles and patterns so you truly create some unique looks. From classic Corrugated panels to modern Shiplap, there are tons of different styles to choose from.

Metal siding has a lot of style different options that outweigh the typical vinyl options. Vinyl siding typically comes in just one style (the traditional lap style), but then does have quite a big variety of colors to choose from. If your priority is a modern or different aesthetic, metal siding may be the way to go. If you want just a simpler, more traditional look, vinyl might be the way to go.

Cost

On average, metal siding is going to have a higher upfront cost when compared to vinyl siding. Vinyl is the more affordable option of the two materials. Metal is more expensive because it’s a higher-quality material and usually has higher installation costs. However, with the low maintenance and long-lasting qualities of metal, many homeowners find the upfront one-time cost to be well worth it in the long run.

Other Considerations

Before making a final decision on whether you’ll choose metal or vinyl siding for your home, you may want to also consider these other factors:

  • Environmental Impact: If you want to make a greener choice, metal siding is the way to go. Most of metal panels are 100% recyclable and they also help homeowners save money on heating and cooling costs because they’re very energy efficient. Metal panels have highly reflective qualities that direct the sun away from your home (sun that vinyl siding typically absorbs which causes fading).
  • Installation: Metal panels are typically more difficult to install compared to vinyl. Especially if you choose a concealed fastener panel, you may need to hire a contractor. Contactors who have worked with metal panels may be a bit difficult to come by, too. You want to make sure you’re hiring someone with direct experience if you choose metal siding.

Your home’s siding is a big investment no matter what material you choose. Making sure that you’ve done thorough research about all siding materials can help you make the best, well-informed decision for your home’s exterior.

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