Metal Siding Cost Guide
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In the mid-20th century, aluminum was the siding material of choice. The material largely fell out of fashion with the rise in popularity of vinyl siding in the late 1950s/early 1960s, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a great option for your home.
Aluminum siding is very strong and durable, among other benefits. And it’s perfect for creating ultra-modern, industrial or retro looks.
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Cost of Metal Siding
There are actually two types of metal siding - aluminum and steel. Aluminum is by far the more common of the two.
Aluminum siding usually costs about $3-$6 per square foot installed. The price depends on the quality of the product, your geographic location and local labor rates. For comparison purposes, vinyl falls in the same general price range.
A hybrid of the two, vinyl-wrapped aluminum siding, is also available. It has the strength of aluminum and the carefree maintenance of vinyl, but it is much more expensive than either aluminum or vinyl siding.
Steel siding generally costs $4-$8 per square foot, installed.
Total Project Cost
Calculating the number of square feet you need to cover the house is a complicated process. Keep in mind that the square footage of your home has nothing to do with the square footage of siding you need - the figures are entirely different.
If you have 1,500 square feet of surface to be covered, budget anywhere from $4,500 to $9,000 for aluminum siding and $6,000 to $12,000 for steel siding. With 2,500 square feet to cover, the cost ranges from $7,500 to $15,000 for aluminum and $10,000 to $20,000 for steel.
Keep in mind that these prices are simply meant to be guidelines. For a more accurate price estimate, consult local contractors for quotes.
Types of Metal Siding
Both aluminum and steel come in smooth or embossed finishes. Embossed mimics the look of wood grain, although most people won’t be fooled.
Aluminum is available in two grades or thicknesses: .019 and .024. The latter is the thicker and more durable of the two, but it is more expensive. It is available in a wide variety of colors and styles, including horizontal clapboard and vertical board and batten.
Steel siding is also available in two grades: 26 gauge and 29 gauge. Of the two, 26 gauge is the strongest with the longest lifespan.
Pros and Cons of Metal Siding
In addition to its strength and durability (lasting 40 years or more with proper care), fans of aluminum appreciate that it is lightweight, easy to install and low maintenance. It will not rot or rust, and it naturally resists pests such as termites.
On the downside, aluminum scratches and dents more easily than other types of siding. It tends to fade, requiring occasional repainting. And without proper care, it can corrode. Many people think the look of aluminum is inferior to more expensive siding options such as wood, although that is a matter of personal taste.
Steel is significantly stronger and more durable than aluminum. It holds color well and is far less likely to dent. However, unlike aluminum, it is prone to rusting, particularly in coastal areas. It is heavier, more difficult to install and much more expensive.
Choosing a Contractor
Because metal siding is not as common these days, it’s important to choose a contractor who has experience working with the material. The installation requirements are different than with wood or vinyl. Before you hire a contractor, ask to see pictures of other homes they’ve sided with metal.
Of course, it’s always a good idea to shop around. Seek quotes from multiple contractors, but don’t automatically go with the lowest price. Do some background research on each contractor to make sure the company is reputable. Ask for references and check the company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau. Be wary of any company without a website or a physical office - you could be dealing with a fly-by-night operation.
Finally, ask for proof that the company is licensed and insured - any reputable company should be. If the company is not insured, you could be financially liable for any accidents that occur on your property.