Aluminum siding cladding is one of the most common building materials used in the construction industry as a cladding system. These metal building claddings are perfect for clients who want durable and stylish exteriors for their homes or offices. Construction material suppliers provide aluminum sidings with various textures, paint finishes, and grades. Although other practical and functional cladding systems, such as durable ACM panels, are suitable for modern architecture, aluminum sidings are still used in the building industry. When buying quality aluminum sidings, it is essential to know their thicknesses and characteristics.
The Most Common Gauges or Grades of Aluminum Siding
The thickness of aluminum siding and other metal cladding systems is called “gauge” or “grade”. If you consider buying aluminum siding or cladding for your home, one of the most critical choices you will have to make is what grade your home will require. This decision plays an essential role in the durability of the siding and how well it will function during its life span.
The different grades of aluminum sidings are expressed by a number such as 26 gauge or 29 gauge. The difference in thickness between these two grades is about the thickness of a single sheet of paper. Although it does not seem much different, the 26 gauge aluminum siding is better suited and more popular for building claddings.
While aluminum siding panels can be customized to be at any gauge, they are most commonly available in 22, 24, 26, and 29 grades. As the gauge number gets higher, the metal siding panel gets thinner. Thus, a 22-grade board is thicker than all of the other gauges. The denser metal cladding systems are more durable. However, removing lower gauge aluminum siding can be challenging as they are heavier. Additionally, thick sidings are more costly.
The construction industry standard for residential facilities offers 26-grade siding. While this gauge is the most commonly used and recommended for building facades, there isn’t one thickness to fit all situations and applications. As told, extra strength from a lower grade metal siding is never a bad idea. However, not every siding situation will require the maximum thickness.
When is it Recommended to Use Lower Gauge Metal sidings?
There are some particular situations that homeowners should consider using thicker aluminum sidings for their homes which are:
- Locations With Harsh Climate
- Building Structure
- Siding Profile Choice and Paint System
A metal siding with a heavier gauge means extra durability and strength. Home protection is critical if the building is located in an area frequently impacted by storms or where the elements are known to be damaging, such as heavy snow and high wind loads. The lower gauge aluminum siding can resist being bent, dented, punctured, or blown off during extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes.
The building’s structure and its spanning capabilities, or the distance between two supports for the facility, can help determine the aluminum siding grade. The thicker the metal panels, the further installers can span boards over open support.
Homeowners’ choice on the aluminum siding grades may be made easier depending on the cladding panel profile they choose. For instance, in the case of having flush wall panels for the siding material, it is not possible to utilize 29-gauge panels. Flush wall panels are only developed with thicker gauges. The paint finish that the client demands will also affect the grade of the siding. For example, for more expensive paint finishes, it is better to opt for heavier gauge systems.
The Advantages of Thicker Grade Aluminum Siding
The aluminum siding itself features various advantages. However, the thicker metal panels can be more beneficial generally.
- Minimizing Denting
- Reducing Oil Canning
- Higher Durability
While a thicker metal cladding is very resistant to denting on impact, a thinner aluminum siding like 29-grade is easier to get scratched, dent or puncture.
One of the most notorious aluminum claddings problems is oil canning which can be overcome using thicker panels. The lower gauge panels make it harder for the claddings to change shape and helps reduce the strictness of oil canning.
The thicker gauge metal cladding systems are more potent and can withstand gale forces, winds, and storms. They increase their wind uplift force and impact resistance, or the cladding’s ability to withstand intense exterior forces. However, it is crucial to note that aluminum sidings and claddings are naturally resistant to corrosion, fires, and rotting.