"Understanding Your Home" by Building Inspector Mark Visser
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Chalk or dust
residue is the most common problem with older aluminum siding. It is this chalky buildup — a result of exposure to the weather and erosion of the factory finish — that is primarily responsible for the diminished appearance of older aluminum siding. As this chalk slowly builds over the years, it increasingly fades the siding’s original color into a dull, washed-out appearance.


Aluminum and Vinyl Siding
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Aluminum siding. Vinyl siding. Siding contractor. Painting aluminum siding.

Aluminum siding was introduced in the 1940s and quickly caught the attention of homeowners and builders because it is easy to handle, and can be applied over existing siding. In only a few years it replaced the popular low budget asphalt siding (Insulbrick) and the more durable asbestos cement siding. Aluminum siding is available in vertical and horizontal panels as well as in many colours and textures. Aluminum siding dents easily and does not “bounce back.”
Aluminum siding is painted and colour fading is a problem. When the painted surface is scratched the silver coloured raw aluminum becomes quite visible. Damaged sections are not easy to replace because to find a good colour match is next to impossible. Another problem with aluminum siding is that, in older applications, the paint will often chalk, leaving a white residue on masonry walls. Aluminum production is energy-intensive and aluminum siding became increasingly expensive as energy costs soared in the 1970s.

Late 1960s home with aluminum siding
Faded or scratched aluminum siding can be painted with an oil-based metal priming paint and an acrylic latex exterior house paint. The product has largely been replaced by vinyl siding.
Vinyl siding.
PVC was first used as a siding material in the late ’50s and early ’60s. By the ’70s vinyl siding began to compete directly with aluminum. The siding was initially sold mostly for remodeling, but soon became the siding of choice for new-home construction.
Homeowners prefer vinyl siding because it easy to work with, does not dent and scratches don't show because the colours are solid through. The siding does not conduct electricity like aluminum siding and does not require grounding. Vinyl siding should be installed by a professional contractor, especially for larger jobs.
WARNING: Vinyl siding has a low melting point so it is important to make sure that BBQs and other sources of heat be kept a safe distance from your vinyl siding to prevent an ugly 'melt down.'

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