Buying Quality Aluminum Siding Guide

aluminum siding

Aluminum Siding is one of the versatile and functional construction materials in the building industry which architects appreciate. Choosing these cladding systems is suitable for different types of buildings, at least in theory. However, for most homeowners that try to buy siding for their homes, the number of choices can be overwhelming. A wide array of aluminum cladding systems, including ACM panels, are trendy due to their aesthetics and functionality. But, there are still architects and homeowners who prefer to buy quality aluminum siding, which is more traditional and does not have a current manufacturing system. For buying quality aluminum siding, a guide is required, which this article provides. 

Pros and Cons of Quality Aluminum Siding

Depending on the location and weather conditions of the building and other factors, buying quality aluminum siding can be a wise choice. However, as with any cladding system, there are both beneficial characteristics and negative properties when it comes to cladding and creating a facade for a facility with aluminum. Here are some of the primary advantages and drawbacks of quality aluminum siding systems. 

The thickness of Quality Aluminum Siding

When choosing and buying quality aluminum siding for a project, the first thing to consider is the thickness. Aluminum is a soft substance in metal classification, meaning the thickness of the cladding system makes a significant difference. The typical thickness is 44 gauge. However, it is better to opt for a 53 gauge siding system for people who want the best result. 53 gauge thickness material is more expensive, but it is considered a good investment. 

A cladding with suitable thickness will not require Aluminum siding replacement or repair for at least 40 years. However, aluminum siding painting is necessary two or three times during its lifetime to maintain its fresh and beautiful look. 

Versatility and Installation Process

Aluminum siding cladding systems are lightweight materials and feature a relatively easy installation process. They consist of horizontal and vertical format panels that allow architects to have complete freedom to create a unique exterior appearance for buildings. 

Quality Aluminum Siding is Corrosion Resistant

For people who live in coastal communities and areas with higher air moisture levels, buying cladding materials that are resistant to humidity is essential. Quality Aluminum siding is an excellent choice for such locations. Wood and many other cladding products absorb moisture, resulting in health-related problems and building damages. On the other hand, aluminum sidings do not swell, rot, or rust. These cladding materials are waterproof and provide perfect protection for the facility against moisture issues. 

Energy Efficiency and Insulation

ACM panels and aluminum sliding materials have excellent insulating properties, especially those with heavier gauges or thickness. These cladding systems insulate the building better than vinyl sidings and save the homeowner a considerable amount of money on cooling and heating system costs over the lifespan of the buildings. Aluminum is a better choice than a vinyl siding for facilities in extreme cold weather conditions. It is not affected by the low temperature, whereas vinyl can become brittle during cold seasons and crack easily. 

Styles and Textures of Quality Aluminum Siding

Aluminum siding manufacturers produce these materials with a variety of patterns and textures. Some of them mimic the wood grain, which is perfect for people who prefer traditional-looking building facades. Moreover, these siding claddings come pre-painted in a wide range of color choices baked on the primary surface.

Metal Sidings are Recyclable

Buying quality aluminum siding is an investment as it will last longer than other claddings. Additionally, in the case of replacing the facade, there is no need to put old siding in a landfill. These materials are entirely recyclable, making them environmentally friendly materials.

Low Maintenance

Quality aluminum sidings are low maintenance, meaning they will not require regular cleaning. Other systems like wood will require precise maintenance and repainting once a year to look fresh and beautiful. Cleaning aluminum sidings is straightforward and can be done by only wiping them down with a damp, soft cloth.

Drawbacks of Aluminum Sidings

Aluminum sidings, just like other industrial materials, have their drawbacks. Buying quality aluminum siding is a good choice, but it is better to know about their disadvantages before purchasing them. 

  • Aluminum tends to dent.
  • Replacing a single panel can consume a considerable amount of time.
  • They can easily get scratched.

How Can You Paint Aluminum Sidings?

Aluminum Composite Panels

Aluminum Sidings are popular cladding material covering a wide range of applications from industrial to commercial construction projects. Due to aluminum siding’s various advantages, including extreme weather durability, minimum maintenance requirements, and aesthetics, designers prefer to utilize them instead of choosing other types of cladding materials. These sidings can last for a long period of time, but when buying a home with aluminum sidings facades, customers may encounter surfaces with peeled paint. However, this issue should not be a concern, and by using some painting supplies and elbow grease, painting these products will not be a daunting task. Thus, it is more cost-effective to paint the material rather than replacing it with a new siding. The painting process is relatively straightforward, and most homeowners can do it without professional assistance.

Equipment and Tools Required to Paint Aluminum Sidings

There are some few tools and pieces of equipment that are necessary to complete the aluminum siding painting process, including:

  • oil-based primer- for sealing any porous surfaces and allowing the paint to cover the aluminum siding better
  • acrylic exterior paint- for better bonding on the aluminum
  • synthetic fiber brushes- are the only brushes that are practical when working with acrylic paint
  • lambswool paint roller- can maximize coverage of the surface area
  • ladder- for reaching and having access to the higher parts of the cladding
  • plastic paint bucket- are helpful when using a ladder during the job since the painter can hang it nearby using its handle
  • plastic paint trays- are necessary for paint rollers
  • drop cloths- are used for keeping the area clean

Steps to Paint Aluminum Sidings

Some essential steps should be followed precisely when considering doing the aluminum siding painting without any help from experts, which we will introduce in this section. Each stage has its unique role in the process overall. Thus, if the painter perfectly finishes all phases, the aluminum siding will regain its beauty.

First Step: Prepare the Aluminum Sidings for Painting

Similar to any renovation application, painting aluminum sidings require preparation. This stage starts with scraping off paints that are already peeled by using paint scraping tools. Then it is essential to remove any noticeable mildew by utilizing a combination of ten parts water to one part bleach. If the aluminum siding is particularly dingy, it is better to buy or even rent a power sander to sand down the material. Experts recommend using eighty grit sandpaper for the first round, followed by 220 grit sandpaper for the second-round sanding.

Second Step: Apply the First Coat of Primer Paint Aluminum Sidings

The second stage is to apply the first coat of primer precisely. The painter must plan to begin the painting process when the weather is dry and mild for preventing rain, debris, and dust from destroying the finish. The process is more straightforward to do by using a paint roller and applying the primer evenly, rolling back and forth twice the roller for achieving a smooth surface. This procedure will take a few seconds per 0.09 square meters. It is crucial to work in one direction during primer applying, whether from left to right or right to left to maximize the drying time and help the painter work more efficiently.

Third Step: Applying the Second Coat of Primer

Now that there is already a first layer of primer, the painter must add the second coat. However, this must be done after the first layer is dried. Primer often takes about three to four hours to dry thoroughly. Thus, it is better to plan the process day accordingly.

Fourth Step: Start to Paint Aluminum Sidings

It is essential to use long and even brush strokes while painting from top to bottom during the process. In this way, it is possible to adjust any drips along the way. For better results, it is better to paint in the same direction as the aluminum siding, meaning if the product is horizontal, the painting course should be left to right, and if the siding is vertical, paint it up to down. If there is any sign of visible lines in the paint, the painter is doing the job too slowly. Taking breaks in between each side will ensure a smooth and finished surface.

Fifth Step: Add a Second Layer of Paint

After waiting a minimum of two hours, it is time to apply the second layer of paint. This stage can help the painter to correct any mistakes or flaws that occurred during the fourth step. For instance, any bumps present in work can be removed by using the sanding system. It is better to buy more paint than the painter thinks are needed. An extra gallon can be practical for additional coat or touchups, if necessary.

Sixth Step: Inspect the Work for Finding Issues

Once applying both coats of paint is finished, the finish must be left to dry for at least two hours. Then the painter must check and inspect the work, looking for spots that may be missed, drips, and bumps. If there is a sign of the old aluminum siding finish beneath the paint, consider applying one more layer of finish to ensure the process is done in the best quality.

How to Install Aluminum Sidings

aluminum sidings

The key to having a successful aluminum siding application is precise management and planning. Proper siding installation is ideal for ensuring the cladding product lives up to its reputation for quality. The method of applying aluminum siding and soffit is essentially the same for renovation and new construction projects. However, occasionally, individual instructions for different application is required. In every type of application, care and maintenance are prioritized to prepare the project’s structure properly. It is also crucial that the builders and installers review the local building standards and codes before taking the first step in installing aluminum sidings.

Measuring for the Ideal Aluminum Sidings

All facilities can be broken down into shapes of triangles, rectangles, and a combination of both. The area that requires sidings is determined by measuring the width and the height of the building, including windows and other portions. Then the installers should sum and total all the measurements for the demanding areas while not deducting the windows and doors. Including the doors and windows will allow for determining the waste factor. If these portions are substantial such as garage and sliding doors, some deduction could be necessary. For further assistance on measuring and choosing the ideal aluminum siding for the facility, customers should contact reliable contractors.

Installation Guidelines

Before starting installing aluminum sidings, it is essential to review several standard rules for siding applications. These cladding products, like other constructional materials, contract and expand due to temperature changing. The amount of expansion and contraction can vary depending on the building’s location. Thus, accounting and considering these factors is crucial for preventing the products from buckling and damaging, affecting the facility’s overall appearance. The followings are the rules which are critical for an appropriate aluminum siding installation.

  • The siding materials should not be stored in a location where temperatures exceed 54 centigrade degrees.
  • The panels that are already installed should have a free momentum space to move freely from side to side for preventing contraction and expansion damages.
  • Installers should push up from the bottom until the lock makes a complete engagement with the below part during the installation process. They should not force the products up or down when fixing them in position. Stretching the board upward can pull the natural radius out of the siding and cause friction increment of the locks.
  • It is crucial to nail in the center of the slot and avoid nailing at the end of it. This step needs precision to prevent permanent damages on the sidings. If the nailing should be near the end of a slot to hit a stud, the installer should extend the length with a particular tool, such as a nail slot punch.
  • Never caulk the panels where they meet the receiver of j-trim, outside and inside corner posts.
  • Another noticeable factor is to avoid stapling or face-nailing through the siding due to the expansion and contraction of the products with the outside temperature changes.
  • In renovation and residing projects, removal and furring of uneven old sidings will probably be necessary.
  • For new development projects, it is recommended to dodge using green lumbers as the underlayment. The stability and straightness of sidings depend on what lies under them.

Tools and Equipment to Install Aluminum Sidings

There are some essential tools needed for proper aluminum sidings installation such as hammer, fine-tooth saw, chalk line, tape measure, level, and square. Additionally, for protection purposes, using a safety glass is necessary. The followings are other essential tools that can become handy when installing aluminum sidings for any project:

Utility Knife: This tool can be practical in the installation process due to the easy fabrication process of the aluminum sidings. The utility knife can cut, score and trim the products.

Tin Snips: Using good quality tin snips and compound aviation-type supplies can help increase the speed of shaping and cutting aluminum sidings.

Snap Lock Punch: Punching lugs in the cut edges of siding materials can be done with a snap-lock punch. This tool is practical for the finishing course of the top of the siding and underneath a window.

Nail Hole Slot Punch: For providing an allowance for expansion and contraction, a hole elongation is needed. For creating the hole, installers should use a nail hole slot punch.

Unlocking Tool: The unlocking tool is utilized to replace or remove aluminum siding panels. For using this particular tool, the installer should insert the curved end under the end of the board and hook it into the back lip of the lock. The experts pull down and slide the tool along the length of the siding to disengage the coil and use the same process to relock the panels.

Cutting Aluminum Sidings

Following standard guidelines is essential when cutting aluminum sidings. Utilizing safety goggles is always critical for cutting and nailing procedures. As with any building project, installers should use safety equipment and follow safe development disciplines. In cold weather, the cutting operator must install the fine-toothed blade backwards on the saw for a cleaner, and smoother cut with a circular saw. Avoiding closing blades entirely at the end of a stork can result in a cleaner and neater cut when using tin snips. Then the fabrication continues with a utility knife or a scoring tool with scoring the siding face up with medium pressure.

How is The Pure Aluminum Produced? (part 2)

Pure Aluminum

Pure Aluminum is a suitable material that is commonly used in different industrial fields. The growth of technology helps manufacturers create various products to help the modern era in architecture and designs. Aluminum has physical specifications that make it suitable for construction products. This material’s most essential characteristics include versatility, strength, low weight, durability, and corrosion resistance.

Although the material is one of the most found substances in the mother earth, producing pure Aluminum suitable for industrial projects is not a simple procedure. The production includes many stages, starting with obtaining and mining bauxite and then more specific processes. Bauxite is a mineral containing 50% aluminum and is used as a primary material. The second stage is creating alumina from the mineral obtained with different methods such as the Bayer process. Another vital component in the production process is cryolite made from hydrofluoric acid and aluminum hydroxide and soda mixture. More details are introduced in How is The Pure Aluminum Produced part 1 article about the stages above. This article is about other steps, including production, cast house, new technologies, and recycling.

Pure Aluminum Production

After mining bauxite, making alumina from the mineral and stockpiled cryolite, it is time for the procedure’s most crucial stage, the electrolytic reduction, to make Aluminum. The reduction zone is considered the heart of a smelter. This area does not look similar to the production shops in typical steel workshops that create steel or iron. This area consists of several rectangular buildings while having a length that sometimes can exceed 1 kilometer. Hundreds of reduction cells or posts are arranged in rows and hooked up to power sources with massive and huge cables inside these facilities. Each reduction cell has a different constant voltage at the electrodes having a range between 4 and 6 volts, while the amperage of each can reach 400 KA and even more. The main production force is the electric current. It is good to mention that there are only a handful of people in a standard reduction zone, as all the main processes are fully automatic.

The electrolytic reduction process is used in each cell to produce Aluminum from alumina. For creating a conducive environment at a temperature of 950 centigrade degrees, the entire cell is filled up with molten cryolite. The bottom section of the cell works as a cathode, while cryolite-carbon blocks play the cathode. These blocks have a 1.5-meter length and 0.5-meter width that are lowered into the cell and look like giant hammers. An automatic alumina feeding machine dumps a new portion of material into the cell with every thirty minutes sequence. The electric current breaks down the bond between oxygen and Aluminum, causing the metal to settle to the bottom of the processing area and form a 10-15 cm depth layer. In contrast, the oxygen binds with the carbon in the anode sections to create carbon dioxide.

The Aluminum gets extracted from the cell with special equipment and vacuuming systems about two to four times per day. A hole is punched in the cryolite coat that forms on the surface of the cell. After this, a pipe is lowered and fixed on the spot. The liquid metal gets sucked into the bucket through the line from which all air is pumped out. One ton of metal is obtained from every reduction cell, while one bucket can hold 4 tons of molten metal. Once the bucket is complete, it is taken to the cast house for creating other products such as aluminum composite panels. One of the essential things about this procedure is that it consumes a considerable amount of electric power. Thus, it is crucial to use renewable energy sources such as hydroelectric power plants that don’t spoil the environment.

Cast House

Molten Aluminum is transported in buckets to the cast house of the smelter. At this step, the metal still contains a lot of silicon, copper, iron and other elements. However, even the smallest number of extra admixtures can have a drastic impact on metal properties; thus, in the cast house, all admixtures are omitted by remelting the meal in a particular heater at 800 centigrade degrees. The resultant pure Aluminum is cast into special molds where it is allowed to become solid. The smallest aluminum ingots are known as pigs, weighing between 6 and 22.5 kg. The manufacturers should remelt pigs after receiving and then recast them in the shape of any industrial materials such as Aluminum sidings. The most significant ingots are 30-tonne slabs and have 11.5-meter length. Hot Aluminum needs to be poured into a mold like this over two hours only from the bottom up. After casting the slab, it is cooled down with water, and as soon the process is completed, the slab is ready for shipment. Slabs are usually rolled into thin sheets that are then used in the manufacture of different products.

Cast house is an area in which Aluminum is given the required shape and chemical composition. The crucial thing is that pure metal is used less than alloys. These alloys are made by mixing Aluminum with various other metals to increase its strength or make it denser or even change its heat transmission properties. Common alloying elements include iron, silicon, magnesium, manganese, copper, lithium, zirconium, etc.

How is the Pure Aluminum Produced? (part 1)

Pure Aluminum

Aluminum is one of the most well-known materials existing on the planet. However, pure aluminum does not occur naturally, and a chain of processes is required to develop the usable material for different purposes. Many compounds are quickly produced due to the easy atom binding in this metal. Simultaneously, it is impossible to isolate the metal by simply melting the compounds in a forge, as in metals such as iron. The pure aluminum production process is very complex and requires special machines and vast amounts of electricity. Thus, smelters for this metal are always built in the vicinity of power energy sources, including hydroelectric power plants that do not contaminate the environment. Now let’s get to know the best practice methods and steps for producing pure aluminum material.

Bauxite Mining for Creating Pure Aluminum

Pure aluminum production is essentially broken down into three main stages. The first step is extracting the bauxite, which contains aluminum from the ground. The second step is processing the bauxite into alumina or aluminum oxide. Finally, the third stage produces pure aluminum by using an electrolytic reduction in which the aluminum oxide should be broken down into its components by utilizing electric current. About 1 tone of pure metal is made from 4-5 tons of bauxite, producing 2 tons of alumina.

There are many different minerals available from which pure aluminum can be produced for other industrial materials, such as Aluminum composite panels. Bauxite is a raw material that is commonly used for this purpose. Bauxite generally contains 50% aluminum oxide mixed with some other substances.

Bauxite is available in different variations. It can structurally be dense, solid or crumbly. Usually, it has brick re, flaming red or brown color due to the existence of iron oxide. The bauxite can be grey or white in case of lower iron content. However, dark green, yellow, and even multi-colored bauxites with purple, bluish, black and red strains are available too.

The most practical way to mine minerals is by utilizing open-pit mines. Special equipment is used to cut one layer after another off the surface, including rocks, and then transported to factories for further processing. However, there are other areas where aluminum ore needs to be mined from deep underground layers, which require underground mines.

Alumina Production for Pure Aluminum

The next step in the pure aluminum production chain is obtaining aluminum oxide from bauxite, also known as a white powder. Bayer process is one the most common methods of producing alumina from the mineral. This method is discovered over a hundred years ago and is still a very a suitable system.

Bayer Process

About 90% of alumina producers utilize the Bayer method. This system’s only issue is that the Bayer process is efficient on high-quality bauxite with low admixtures, such as silicon. This method’s instruction is as follows: Dissolving the crystallized aluminum hydrate in concentrated caustic soda at high temperature. After the temperature is lowered and the solution’s concentration increases again, the material reduces but the other elements existing in the bauxite settle to the bottom appropriately.

After aluminum hydrate desolvation in the soda, the extra stuff can be isolated and removed quickly. The additional elements are also known as ballast or red mud. Large hydrate particles can be filtered out from the solution without requiring the complex procedure. For exceeding the water, manufacturers wash, dry and heat up the material. The result of the process is alumina. This substance has an unlimited shelf life. However, it has to be stored under appropriate conditions because it can absorb moisture at the first provided opportunity. Thus, alumina producers choose to ship the material to smelters ASAP. Manufacturing system stack the metal into piles that weight about 30,000 tones. As a result, a kind of layered pie about ten meters high is built. The mass is then cut and loaded into the railroad for dispatching to smelters to create the material suitable for producing aluminum sheets and other products such as aluminium sidings for cladding.

Sintering Process

Sintering is another method for alumina production, which is less common in comparison to the Bayer system. The technique is about making solid materials from powders at high temperature. The primary element is sintered with lime and soda. The latter two parts generally bind the silica into inexplicable silicates that can then be easily separated from the produced alumina. This method is suitable for obtaining alumina from a high content of toxic silica admixture bauxite. However, sintering can consume more energy in comparison to the Bayer process.


Alumina is considered the direct source of material in the pure aluminum production procedure. However, Cryolite is another component that is necessary to create the right environment for electrolysis. This substance is a rare natural fluoride mineral that is manufactured in artificial ways due to its scarcity. In modern industries, Cryolite is made by mixing up hydrofluoric acid with soda and aluminum hydroxide.

In part two of How is the Pure Aluminum Produced, more details are about the production procedure is introduced.