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Homeowners across the country are enjoying the many benefits that come from having aluminum siding installed on their home. At one time, this type of siding was expensive and not as durable as it is today. The aluminum siding on the market today comes in all different sizes, styles, and colors to make any home look amazing.

Q: We are having aluminum siding replaced after hail damage. The insurance adjustor and the contractor used different terminology when coming up with estimates. The Adjustor gave us an estimate based on square feet. The contractor gave us a price/sq. What is a square? What is tear-off? What types of insulation do you recommend? How will vinyl siding hold up in a hailstorm as compared to aluminum? We can find on-line prices for installing vinyl but we can't fine on-line prices for installing aluminum. We can?t find aluminum siding in home improvement or hardware stores to compare the prices of aluminum and vinyl.

A: A Square is 100 square feet of siding. Tear-Off is simply the removal and disposal of the existing siding. There are two main types of insulation. 1/4" fan fold is favored by many installers and manufacturers because it can be wrapped around corners of the building and has the ability to "breathe."

Foil-backed insulation can also be used, and it has a bit more insulating ability, but it doesn't "breathe." Vinyl siding is much more resistant to dents than aluminum siding. Vinyl siding is made of solid piece vinyl, so the color cannot be scratched off, as it could with the metal siding products. The only drawback is that in very cold climates, it can become brittle and crack. Vinyl is a little less expensive than aluminum or steel siding, but the cost of installation is about the same.

Research the differences among all three types of siding, and consider your particular situation to decide which is the best type for you.

Steel and aluminum siding are metal products which are painted. Steel siding is the most durable in snow country, or in areas of severe cold. Both aluminum and steel offer greater energy efficiency than vinyl, which translates into lower heating and cooling costs for years to come. Because they are metal instead of plastic, they can withstand more heat than vinyl, as in the case of fire. However, aluminum and steel are more expensive to repair, so if hail is a common occurrence, vinyl may be the way to go.

Although siding companies usually promote one type of siding over another, all major siding manufacturers make all three types of siding. Therefore, if you insisted that you wanted one kind of siding over another, almost any siding company should give you cost comparisons on all three types. I recommend you contact at least three siding companies and ask them for such cost comparisons. That should help you make your final decision about what kind of siding to choose as well as which contractor to install it.

Please visit us at http://www.servicemagic.com, join as a member (it's free) and let us help you find the perfect service professional in your area to install whichever type of siding you choose!

Good luck!

Aluminum Siding Clean-Up

There is a solution if the aluminum siding on your home is looking dingy. Usually there's a chalk and mildew residue growing on the substrate of any "aged" siding. To remove these, use a Prep line vinyl siding wash (or equivalent).

Killing mildew involves the use of bleach, so make sure when you're washing the siding, you use proper safety equipment. A few items you should have are gloves, boots, safety glasses/goggles, and wear old clothes in case bleach comes in contact with them.

Note: Any "sensitive" items, such as prize-winning flowers, etched glass and metals should be protected from direct prolonged contact with bleach.

Removing chalk, especially in severe cases (as well as removing severe cases of mildew), will involve some elbow grease. The use of a scrub brush along with the siding wash or non-ammoniated soap will work well. Typically, the use of a long handled brush makes this easier on the side of a house. A power washer will also work, but typically it's one that is best left to the professionals. Incorrect use may leave you with water forced behind the siding (and into the insulation, drywall, etc), or "textured" wood trim.
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