Buying Quality Aluminum Siding Guide

buying quality 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 to Remove Aluminum Siding?

remove aluminum siding

Aluminum siding is a building cladding material that is primarily used to cover a house with the intention of protection and insulation. Different types of aluminum siding are available. The most common types of siding include wood, aluminum, and vinyl. However, for installing a new cladding material, you should know how to remove aluminum siding that is currently used as the cladding system of your building.

What are the Aluminum Sidings Cladding Systems?

Aluminum siding is made of aluminum coil stock, which is covered by painting and enamel to have a nice design on residential structures from an esthetic point of view. It has a wide range of colors which last for many years. Then it is baked for durability. Aluminum siding creates a long-lasting protective cover for your exterior view of your home.

The majority of designers prefer to utilize aluminum siding due to the advantages and popularity over other exterior cladding materials. It is flexible and versatile to be in desired size and shape. It was common in the 20th century. Nowadays aluminum siding is installed on numerous Canadian houses across Canada.

Follow Step-By-Step Instructions to Repair or Remove Aluminum Siding Without Damaging:

Aluminum siding provides benefits for homeowners. . On the other hand, maybe you need to change or repair aluminum sidings. Removing aluminum siding is much easier than most people think But “How do you remove the aluminum siding without damaging?”

Aluminum sidings used for a house has numerous advantages, but it also has disadvantages. It can be damaged in various types of weather conditions. You can remove the damaged siding and change it without destroying the rest of the pieces.

Storms and rain can dent aluminum siding and damage it. So, it requires scrapyard is much easier. You can remove it quickly and make the house unwrapped. Removing aluminum siding is not troublesome. It can be laborious work, but it is not a particularly complicated process. Getting the first piece of aluminum siding out of the structure is essential in removing it. You can work systematically to remove other sidings as you need for replacement or repair with the first piece of aluminum siding free.

Step 1

Before you begin to take damaged aluminum siding away, you should have essential information. Cutting aluminum is really risky, so it’s necessary to wear special gloves and glasses while doing the project. Also, it is not needed to remove the complete panel; it is better to remove only the damaged part and change the old siding panel over the new one.

Before you start your project, peel back a corner of the siding panel to check what is underneath. So, having enough information will help you plan your project.

Step 2

Find the damaged part of the aluminum siding. Aluminum siding can be sharp and cut you. So, put on your work gloves. You will have to use the utility knife to cut the damaged part of the siding. If you cannot cut with the utility knife, you can use a screwdriver and hammer. Cut the vertical lines by the utility knife 5 cm from the top of the siding panel.

Step 3

When you cut vertical panels, you can begin cutting horizontal siding panels. You can use tin spins to do this task. Tin snips come in a variety of forms that can be used to cut the metal. Then you should cut a panel across the damaged piece of siding again, and leave about 5 cm of siding at the top of the panel. This is the place you want to install the new piece of siding.

Step 4

After finishing removing the pieces of aluminum siding panels, it is needed to measure the space of the new siding board. Then, you must attach the new aluminum siding panel over the place where you cut away the damaged one. When the new panel is set and dry, it is possible to paint the new aluminum siding panel to create matching with the rest of the panels.

Why do Architects Prefer Using Metal Wall Cladding?

Metal Wall Cladding

Metal Wall Cladding Systems have proven their capabilities in the construction and building materials industry. These building facade products hugged the complexities of architects for a long time. This is because building designers appreciate metal wall cladding systems for their flexibility and wide range of finishes. However, due to these building facade products’ considerable strength, architects are challenged to specify them for the suitable envelope. The possibilities for different designs, methods of installation, forms, and fabrication procedures are limitless. Additionally, metal wall claddings are manufactured with various materials, making them available in different forms, including ACM panels or Aluminum composite panels, aluminum siding wall claddings, stainless steel metal facades, etc. Various factors allow designers and architects to create a modern appearance for contemporary buildings by utilizing metal wall cladding.

Metal Wall Cladding Systems

Industrial metal panels or materials are most suitable for the rain screen cladding systems, where the primary mission is to protect the facility from external damaging elements and a striking exterior finish. Due to the beneficial physical properties of ACM panels and other metal wall claddings, they can be bent, cut, fabricated, installed, and attached to the building’s structure in different methods. Each method provides unique benefits in terms of aesthetics and functionality. The following are some of the methods architects and designers prefer to use for metal wall cladding systems.

  • Standing Seam: This system is one of the famous building claddings in the construction industry, which features strong folded attachments between each of their boards. These boards are specially produced to allow architects to create modern exterior designs and building facades. The standing seam systems come with various materials, including aluminum composite materials, steel, galvanized steel, zinc, and CORTEN steel.
  • Snap-Lock Systems: The snap-lock cladding system is the more straightforward alternative to the design above which is used for displaying ribbed profile and do not require special tools and equipment for the installation. The design is uniquely done for allowing boards to snap together with an easy installation process.
  • ACM panels: Another famous and practical metal wall cladding systems are ACM panels or ACP materials. These building materials consist of two sheets of aluminum and one fire-retard core substance. Due to the various benefits of ACM panels, architects utilize them in most modern commercial buildings.
  • Interlocking System: The only system which offers a smoother and dramatic appearance is the interlocking system which consists of an express joint. This type of metal wall cladding system has various widths and involves horizontal, vertical and diagonal installing processes.
  • Cassette Panels for Buildings: Cassette panels are the best choice when creating a building facade with large cladding areas. One of the systems, which is known as the open-joint panel system, is appropriate for being used with panels that are large in length. The manufacturers utilize various bending machines to bend the cassette panels and fix them to an aluminum framework with invisible clips. The flat and contemporary look of these metal wall cladding systems satisfies almost all current architectural requirements for commercial and residential constructions.
  • Custom Metal Wall Claddings: Manufacturers provide custom metal wall cladding systems for projects that require unique designs for the building’s facade. They develop new strategies by altering an existing cladding and create something new. However, demanding custom wall products can increase the overall cost of the project.

Performance Factors

Despite the various metal wall systems designs and finishes, the main reason for using these building facade products is their functional characteristics and performance factors. These cladding systems protect the building from different damaging elements and help the facility to survive for decades. Additionally, other practical performance factors are making these metal wall cladding suitable for the current construction industry.

  • Durability: Metal wall claddings are often more durable than other building materials such as Wood sidings which are also perfect materials that architects admire. Architects and designers determine their building’s requirements, and manufacturers create protective coating and utilize the most durable substance equivalent to the location’s conditions. For instance, ACM panels can last for decades without any damages if appropriately maintained.
  • Fire Resistance: Current building codes and standards demand fire-resistant construction designs. ACM panels (aluminum composite panels) are highly resistant to fire due to the fire-retardant core manufacturers utilize for producing them.
  • Acoustic Property: Most metal wall cladding systems, including ACM panels, are perfect insulation for the building. These materials damp the sound vibration by sending it down to earth through the structure of the facility. However, these building facade systems have limited sound insulating properties between the internal and external areas. Thus, the metal supplier should calculate the wall ratings, factoring in the weighted reduction in sound or transmission classification of the exterior panels.

How Much do Various Types of Metal Cladding Systems for Building Cost?

Metal Cladding Systems Cost

The cladding system of the buildings is the primary factor making the city look brilliant and different from other cities. Architects focus on creating aesthetic building facades with varying wall materials to provide eye-catching sight for the facility for pedestrians walking past the area and the occupants. Moreover, manufacturers produce different types of metal cladding systems in a wide array of finishes and styles to help architects and builders provide structural support, attractiveness, and increase energy efficiency for the buildings across the country. Thus, over the past few years, different types of metal cladding systems, in particular, have been gaining popularity in Canada and the USA.

The durability of traditional brick claddings are well-regarded, but they do not offer considerable flexibility and room for customization as metal cladding materials do. Metal panel systems can be fabricated or cut into a variety of modern designs and shapes. Additionally, these contemporary building materials are easy to paint and can add extra beauty to their appearance.

The current advancement in facade paneling systems and application techniques has brought rain-screen wall products into the construction industry. These practical cladding systems are created with extra layers of metal sheathing featuring waterproof characteristics and empty air space pockets between the panels and the interior wall system. The beneficial properties of rainscreen systems made them the perfect solution for keeping the moisture away from the internal structure, allowing the facility to dry quickly and maintain its finish and beauty during heavy downpours.

Types of Metal Cladding Systems and Their Cost

Currently, metal cladding systems for buildings come in a wide range of materials, including Aluminum Composites, Aluminum, Zinc, Copper, Steel, Galvanized Steel, etc. Landlords and homeowners decide the materials depending on the project’s safety, energy efficiency, and aesthetics. However, the cost for different types of metal cladding systems will primarily affect the choice of the building’s facade. Each of the sheet metal panels for the exterior projects features unique characteristics, styles, and costs. Thus, knowing their difference will help anyone to choose the most suitable material for the new or renewal projects for both private and commercial facilities.

Aluminum Composite Panels & Flat Aluminum Sidings

Due to the beneficial physical properties of Aluminum itself, manufacturers use the material for developing various building materials, including cladding systems for the industry. Aluminum cladding products lines the external systems of over 60% of the commercial and industrial construction projects.

The products made from Aluminum are incredibly lightweight, making aluminum sidings easy to fabricate and install for the project. Another beneficial characteristic of aluminum sidings and ACM panels (aluminum composite panels) is that they are corrosion resistant and immune to rusting. These materials form a dense oxide layer when exposed to humidity and air, providing a natural coating against rain and moisture. Aluminum building materials often last about 40 years if maintained properly. Thus, they manage to be more costly than other cladding systems. However, higher-quality ACM panels having fire-resistant cores can be pricier. The price range for flat aluminum sidings is 4$-10$, and ACM panels are 15$-30$ per sq. ft.

Zinc Metal Cladding Systems

Zin metal cladding systems offer a unique look to any building’s facade, and, as such, the exterior products are slowly gaining popularity among architects. Like aluminum cladding materials, zinc generates an oxide layer that protects the facility against external elements, lasting for up to 100 years. These building materials are also entirely recyclable, making them environmentally friendly products. Due to the unique characteristics of zinc, this substance is more expensive than ACM panels and aluminum sidings. However, they are not as high-quality as aluminum composite panels. The price for flat metal panels of zinc is about 8$-16$, and the cladding systems metal panels cost varies from 22$ to 35$ depending on the dimensions.

Copper Building Facade

Copper panel systems for building facades do not require treatment artificially for preserving their surface from corrosion and rust. These metal cladding systems form a beautiful greenish patina on their own over time which designers appreciate in their projects. Copper materials are considered self-maintaining products as the produced oxide layer covers scratches and other forms of occurred damages. However, installing these metal cladding systems has challenges, and finding an experienced installer may be an issue. Due to the aesthetic qualities of these metal claddings, copper exterior panels are the most expensive products for buildings facades. The price for flat sheet copper is between 10 to 15 Canadian dollars, and the panel’s cost range is 25 to 40 dollars.

Steel and Galvanized Steel Metal Cladding Systems

Steel and Galvanized Steel metal cladding systems are generally the most affordable building facade materials. These cladding products offer an admirable life span of around 32-37 years. However, this substance is considered less durable and flexible compared to ACM panels and aluminum cladding systems. The price of steel panels is generally around 12 to 18 dollars.

How to Clean Aluminum Siding

Clean Aluminum Siding

It is essential to Clean Aluminum siding to maintaining the beauty of a facility and make it look fabulous like its first day of construction. Aluminum Siding is one of the most popular choices for building facades across Canada and the world. The durability and versatility of this cladding system are some of the many reasons behind its popularity. Aluminum sidings can last long if cleaned and maintained correctly. However, many homeowners who choose this type of cladding material do not know how to clean aluminum siding. For getting the most out of this product, it is required to invest some money and time to keep it looking like it is straight out of the factory. There are various methods available to clean aluminum siding, and each one has its unique advantages and challenges. However, all systems follow one principle, which is introduced in this article.

Methods used for Cleaning Aluminum Siding

Before choosing the appropriate cleaning method for aluminum sidings, it is essential to learn about techniques used for the purpose. The followings are a few of the practical cleaning systems that can wash the building’s cladding material thoroughly.

Rinsing: Like running a dishwasher on the rinse cycle before using the standard process to have better results, it is necessary to deliver a quick rinse before performing the metal siding’s primary cleaning. The rinsing can be accomplished with a well-directed stream of water from any source of water, especially from a hose. It is crucial to direct the spray in a downward direction over the cladding material. Suppose the spraying is done in the upward drift. In that case, it will cause water penetration under the material by gaining entry in the drainage holes located under the lower section of the aluminum siding. This can also happen in the ACM panel cleaning process. Most of the grime and dirt will fall be cleaned with a simple rinse. However, it is recommended to work from top to bottom.

Hand Washing: The easiest DIY method to clean aluminum siding is hand washing. By using this technique, homeowners can remove any dirt remaining on the building’s cladding. Utilize a bucket of warm water with cleaning solutions along with a soft-bristled brush and start scrubbing any grime existing on the siding. It is essential to clean with the length of the siding product, starting at the top and proceeding downward. For preventing the surface from drying out, it is better to do the cleaning in few meters from top to bottom and then do the rinsing. Wash dirt and soap off using a hose, directing the stream in a descending trail. If there are still stains on the product’s surface, it is required to use the mildew or pressure washing method.

Mildew: If there are stains caused by mold, it is practical to use a solution of one part bleach and four-part water and then spray the mixture on the spots. The cleaning method for removing mildew will often be required in more humid areas. Scrubbing with just a simple soft brush and water with detergents will not obliterate the mold thoroughly.

Pressure Washing: For more persistent stains, using a pressure wash to clean aluminum siding will be necessary. These machines can be obtained or rented at affordable prices from home improvement centers. Utilize a pressure washer that accommodated the mixing of the water and the cleaner together. Never use potent pressure due to the potential damages it can cause to the cladding material. This technique will remove every dirt, and it requires top to bottom workflow.

Choosing a Cleaning Method

The essential step to clean aluminum siding or other cladding products including ACM panels is choosing the suitable method for the material. As told, various systems can be used to complete the cleaning process with the best results. There are primary tasks to do before starting the process, which is as followed:

  1. Check for Rotting or Loose Panels: It is essential to remove or replace siding panels or recyclable ACP materials that show signs of damages or rots. Always nail and fix considerably loose boards. Always avoid using the pressure washing method until the fixing and repairing are done completely. Pressure washing can increase the instability and push water through the aluminum siding and soak into the building’s structure. If the homeowner is not confident with the DIY repair process, it would be best to contact a trustable siding contractor.
  2. Check the Aluminum Siding for Mildew: The second thing to check is to look for green, grey, or black stains while examining any grooves and the bottom of the cladding when the owner decides to clean aluminum siding. This step is essential for the area of the building that does not get much sunlight. For destroying and cleaning mildew, using the most potent cleanser is required. Even pressure washing will not prevent decay from growing back quickly.
  3. Look for Chalking on the Siding with Paint Finish: The last step for choosing the best method to clean aluminum siding is to put work gloves on and rub gloved hands on the surface of the cladding material. Consider using the pressure washing technique if there are signs of chalking, dirt, or grime on the gloves.

Rainscreen Construction Principle (Part II)

Rainscreen Construction Principle

Rainscreen Construction Principle basic idea is to have an exterior surface or cladding layer that can break the force of sideways, wind load, water movement, resulting in preventing water penetration into the building’s structure. For most of the buildings, from modern to traditional ones, water is the biggest enemy. However, producing a complete watertight cladding system is challenging. Thus, manufacturers started working on the rainscreen construction principle decades ago to provide better protection for the constructions in the city. Rainscreen comes in different styles and types. One of the most popular types is the ACM panels or ACP materials used widely in the modern era. These particular products offer numerous advantages along with their waterproof characteristics.

In the rainscreen construction principle part 1, we discussed the basics of these practical systems and their structure that engineers designed for better watertight characteristics. This article covers essential information about this principle that anyone in the building industry must know.

Rainscreen Construction Principle Types

The rain screen construction principle is based upon two distinct and separate barriers on the building’s cladding. The outer barrier controls most rainwater while the inner leaf performs multiple functions, including moisture and air barrier, insulation, and the structural wall. The outer section allows the water to penetrate through open joinery, and the volume of the penetration depends on the design principle. This is where two distinct types of products come into the picture: the Drained/Back-ventilated and Pressure-equalized/Compartmented systems.

Both rainscreen systems are available in ACM panels cladding materials and different siding for the facade. They use the principle of controlling water leakage without stopping it from penetrating through the exposed outer surface completely. However, the internal design of both systems functions differently based upon the approach. Moreover, the Rainscreen construction principle has been generalized and consolidated into one unified product in specifications combined with both types’ characteristics. For complicating and confusing matters, the water, and air resistance standards from the traditional building cladding systems are applied to these modern designs and specifications of the exterior material’s exposure. Placing the water and air tightness codes on the outer surface of the barrier contradicts the underlying fundamentals of the Rainscreen Construction Principle. Now let’s get to the fundamental of each system.

Pressure-Equalized/ Compartmented Rainscreen

In this article, we focus on the Pressure-equalized rainscreen principle, which is very design intensive. Please read the third part of this article to learn about Drained/Back-ventilated systems for ACM panels.

Pressure-equalized systems are susceptible to design variations and deviations from their design principle. The openings in this system are created uniquely for both static and dynamic pressure equalization allowance across the rainscreen. The essential factor that separates this system from the D/BV principle is the design and the use of the compartmented method within the cavity. The reason behind the compartment is that the pressure equalization can only happen within limited periods and in the case of controlled volume behind the Rainscreen system. This equalization is essential due to the none-uniformity of wind loads, constantly changing across a single cladding of a building.

The vent numbers and their geometry calculation depend on the cavity volume, allowing sufficient airflow in and out of the internal equalized area quickly enough to respond to the ever-changing wind loads. This promotes the pressure differences between the ACM panels or other types of panels used in the system and the internal compartment pressure resulting in equalizing the air pressure on the external cladding and the inner sides of the building facade. If the conditions exist properly, forces causing water movement will decrease; if not, they will be eliminated.

The effective area of the vent holes in this type of rainscreen construction principle depends on three factors which are:

  • The airtightness of the air barrier on the inner section
  • The stiffness of the cladding material and its inner leaf
  • The volume of the compartments that make up the internal air space

The compartments are the essential elements of a proper pressure-equalized rain screen principle. They come with crucial properties, characteristics, and functionalities. Followings are the reasons why these elements play an indispensable role in the PE systems:

  • They control lateral and vertical airflow.
  • They size the volume of the space that the vent openings must be designed for facilitation.
  • The most crucial role of compartments is limiting water infiltration and controlling the water drainage when air-pressure disequilibrium occurs.

The characteristics above show that rainscreens with non-compartmentalized cavities cannot be pressure equalized. However, many of this system’s construction factors and elements are almost similar to the drained/back-ventilated rain screen construction principle. Still, they have several significant and essential differences, which we have discussed in the third part of this article.