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  • Writer's pictureJohn@LiteHouse

Inspection of Aluminum Siding

Aluminum siding is generally on the decline as an exterior siding material because vinyl siding and other materials have become more popular options. However, it is still among the most common forms of siding found today. It provided many advantages over other materials when it was introduced in the 1940s. It was installed in many homes during the 1970s. Homeowners may be interested in the disadvantages of this material, as well as some of the benefits it still offers today.

History and Manufacturing

The aluminum cladding is made of aluminum sheet, which is chemically coated to protect the metal and then painted for greater protection as well as aesthetics. After coating, the siding is baked for durability, often with the addition of enamel to create the desired textures.

In the 1940s, aluminum siding was produced for use in residential structures and quickly became popular due to the advantages it provided over other materials in use at the time. Its popularity remained fairly stable until the 1970s, during the energy crisis. Aluminum cladding requires a large amount of energy for its production, as well as the consumption of a significant amount of raw materials.

Pros and Cons

Although aluminum cladding is currently less used, it possesses some attributes that can be considered advantageous over other materials in certain situations. There are also some areas where the aluminum cladding does not hold up as well as other options.


The aluminum siding is very light and durable. If properly maintained, it can last 40 years to the life of the structure. It accepts paint application well and can be painted in any desired color. The aluminum coating does not rust. It is flame retardant. In the event of a fire, it will not burn or melt like other coatings. It is water proof. When properly installed, it provides excellent water resistance capabilities for exterior walls. Since the aluminum siding contains no organic material, it will not rot or serve as a food source for termites. A layer of baked enamel on the surface of the cladding can mimic the appearance of other materials, such as wood grain, giving the cladding a more traditional look. The aluminum coating is recyclable.


Aluminum siding can easily dent, and the damaged area can be difficult to repair or replace. Many siding manufacturers offer a thin insulation board that sits behind each panel. This support can help protect against dents. You may need to repaint every 5-10 years. If rust has occurred, it must be removed before applying new paint, which can make the process very laborious. In general, repainting aluminum siding requires preparation similar to repainting a car. Scratches on the coating are usually immediately noticeable and unsightly because they can reveal the metal surface underneath the paint. Although aluminum does not rust because it does not contain iron, unlike steel cladding, it can corrode. It can also be stained by rust from adjacent materials. The sound of rain and hail hitting it can be loud enough that some people avoid using it for this reason alone. Aluminum siding has gone out of fashion aesthetically and is generally considered less desirable than the more traditional and modern forms of exterior siding. The production of aluminum coatings requires a large amount of energy and raw materials.

Inspection Tips

Here are some things LiteHouse Services Group LLC inspectors keep in mind when examining exterior walls clad with aluminum siding:

Aluminum siding can be distinguished from vinyl siding by visual inspection. Any dents on the surface indicate that it is aluminum, unlike vinyl, which may show cracks or tears.

Lightly tapping on the siding can also help determine what material it is. Aluminum has a slightly hollow, metallic sound when hit. The distinction between aluminum and steel cladding can be more difficult and may require the use of a magnet, which will interact with the steel but not with the aluminum. Rust stains are another sign that the siding is made of steel. Correctly installed aluminum siding should not be in contact with the ground. If the siding was installed in contact with the ground or below ground level, the outward bulge at the bottom may indicate that the windowsills and / or the lower walls of the building have been damaged by rot or pests .

Aluminum siding was very popular in the latter part of the 20th century and is still installed in many homes across the United States today.

If you are looking for a home inspection in the Cincinnati or Dayton, OH areas, book with LiteHouse Inspect today!

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