James Hardie® Sail Cloth Hardie Lap Siding® And Arctic White Trim

Aluminum vs Vinyl Siding

11 minutes

The exterior of your home is like a canvas, waiting for you to paint it with your choice of siding. But with a myriad of siding material options available, selecting the right siding material can be a daunting task. Among the most popular choices are vinyl and aluminum siding, each with its unique set of characteristics. In this blog post, we will embark on a journey to unravel the key distinctions between these two siding materials. Whether you are planning a renovation or constructing a new home, understanding the differences between vinyl and aluminum siding is paramount in making an informed decision that not only protects your home but also enhances its curb appeal. 

In this detailed comparison, we will thoroughly assess the differences between vinyl and wood siding. We will start by examining the materials themselves, looking at their composition and structure. After that, we will evaluate their energy efficiency and environmental impact. 

Next, we will break down the installation methods, comparing how vinyl siding and wood siding are put in place. We will also discuss the cost considerations for each option. 

Durability is a critical factor, so we will analyze how well vinyl and wood siding hold up over time and their resistance to environmental elements. We will also consider their environmental impact. 

To wrap it up, we will discuss the maintenance requirements for both types of siding, helping you understand what is needed to keep them in good condition. We will also review the price difference between these two types of siding material. By the end of this comparison, you will have a clear understanding of the key distinctions between vinyl and wood siding, making your decision for your home’s exterior simpler.  

Vinyl Siding vs Aluminum Siding 

Composition & Structure 

The composition and structure of vinyl and aluminum siding differ significantly, impacting their properties and applications. Vinyl siding is composed of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a synthetic plastic material including PVC resin, additives, and colorants. PVC resin provides durability, while additives enhance UV resistance, impact resistance, and color retention. Vinyl siding comes in interlocking panels, horizontally or vertically oriented, designed to snap or lock together during installation, creating a weather-resistant barrier with overlapping seams and a hollow back that offers some insulation. 

On the other hand, aluminum siding is primarily made of aluminum metal, often processed by rolling or extruding aluminum sheets into specific profiles. These sheets can be coated with finishes such as paint or enamel to enhance their appearance and durability. Aluminum siding typically consists of flat sheets or panels that are fastened to a building’s exterior. They are attached using fasteners or clips, and their surface can be smooth or textured, depending on the desired aesthetic. Unlike vinyl, aluminum siding is solid, lacking interlocking panels and hollow spaces. 

Installation Differences 

Vinyl siding is often preferred for its ease of installation. It is lightweight and flexible, making it more manageable for contractors to work with. The interlocking panels of vinyl siding are designed for straightforward installation, as they can be snapped or locked together, creating a secure and weather-resistant fit. The simplicity of vinyl siding installation typically results in shorter labor times and, consequently, lower installation costs. However, it is essential to ensure proper alignment and handling during installation to prevent issues such as warping and buckling over time. 

Aluminum siding installation can be more labor-intensive than vinyl, primarily because aluminum is heavier and less flexible. Contractors need to take extra care when working with aluminum to prevent dents, scratches, and other forms of damage during the installation process. Aluminum siding is typically fastened to the building’s exterior using fasteners or clips. Due to its solidity, it may not have the same interlocking panel system found in vinyl siding, making the installation a bit more complex. While it may take longer to install, it is important to note that aluminum siding is known for its durability, making it a worthwhile investment despite the additional labor required during installation. 


Vinyl siding is known for its resistance to rot, mold, and insect damage, making it a durable choice for various climates. While it requires minimal maintenance and does not need painting, it can gradually fade due to exposure to sunlight and weather conditions. However, advancements in vinyl technology have led to more fade-resistant options. One of its drawbacks is its susceptibility to impact damage, which can lead to cracks or chips, sometimes necessitating replacement. 

On the other hand, aluminum siding is highly rust-resistant, making it an excellent choice for regions with high humidity or saltwater exposure. It boasts a long lifespan and can withstand harsh weather conditions, making it a durable option for homes in diverse climates. Like vinyl siding, aluminum siding requires minimal maintenance, does not need painting, and can be cleaned easily. Moreover, it is less resistant to impact damage, standing up better against elements such as hail and flying debris during storms. 

Energy Efficiency  

Energy efficiency differences between vinyl and aluminum siding can have a notable impact on the thermal performance of your home. Vinyl siding, in its standard form, lacks inherent insulation, but insulated vinyl siding with a backer board can enhance energy efficiency by reducing heat transfer and improving insulation. However, vinyl siding is susceptible to thermal expansion, which may result in gaps or seams if not installed correctly. The color and finish of vinyl siding also influence solar reflectivity, with lighter shades reflecting more heat and light, potentially reducing cooling costs in warm climates. 

Conversely, aluminum siding is highly conductive, which means it readily transfers heat. Depending on external temperatures, this property can lead to increased heat loss or gain through the siding. Aluminum siding typically lacks inherent insulation, so additional insulation may be necessary during installation to improve energy efficiency, although this may raise the overall cost. Like vinyl, aluminum siding’s color and finish can impact solar reflectivity, with lighter colors providing better heat reflection. When choosing between vinyl and aluminum siding, consider your local climate, budget, and the potential need for additional insulation to optimize energy efficiency in your home. 


Vinyl siding is known for its minimal maintenance requirements. It does not need to be painted, which means you do not have to worry about repainting or touch-ups. Cleaning vinyl siding is easy, typically involving a simple wash with a hose and mild detergent. However, it may be more prone to dirt, algae, and mildew buildup, which can be addressed through occasional cleaning. Over time, vinyl siding may show signs of wear, and if any panels are damaged, they can be replaced individually without affecting the entire installation. While it is limited maintenance overall, you should periodically inspect for any damage or warping, especially after extreme weather conditions. 

Aluminum siding is also relatively minimal maintenance. Like vinyl siding, it does not require painting, saving you the hassle and cost of repainting. Cleaning aluminum siding is straightforward and can be done with a hose and mild detergent, like vinyl. However, aluminum siding can develop a chalky residue on the surface over time, which may require more frequent cleaning. One advantage of aluminum siding is its resistance to rust and corrosion, so you do not have to worry about rust-related maintenance. Like vinyl, damaged aluminum panels can be replaced individually without affecting the entire siding installation. Routine inspections for dents, dings, and chalking are advisable to maintain its appearance and performance. 

Colors & Options 

Vinyl siding offers a wide range of color choices and styles, making it a versatile option for homeowners seeking to match or enhance their home’s design. You can find vinyl siding in an array of colors, from classic neutrals to bolder shades, allowing you to achieve the look you desire. Vinyl siding often mimics the appearance of traditional materials like wood, brick, or stone, making it suitable for various architectural styles. Furthermore, it is available in different profiles, such as horizontal and vertical panels, shakes, scallops, and more, offering flexibility in achieving the desired look for your home. 

Aluminum siding typically provides fewer color options compared to vinyl siding. While there is a selection of colors available, it may be more limited in comparison. Aluminum siding can have a smooth or textured finish, which influences its appearance and can be a factor in achieving the desired look. In terms of style, aluminum siding may not mimic traditional materials as closely as vinyl. Its appearance is often smoother and sleeker, which may appeal to those seeking a more modern or industrial look for their homes. While aluminum siding may offer some style options, it tends to be more tailored toward contemporary designs. 

Environmental Differences 

Vinyl siding has a resource-intensive production process involving the extraction and processing of fossil fuels, which raises environmental concerns. Moreover, the recyclability of vinyl siding is relatively limited, and its recycling rates remain lower than desired. The manufacturing of vinyl siding can also release harmful chemicals into the environment. While the disposal of PVC can pose problems due to the release of toxic chlorine gas if incinerated. 

In contrast, aluminum siding is considered more environmentally sustainable. Aluminum is highly recyclable, and it ranks as one of the most recycled materials globally. Recycling aluminum requires significantly less energy compared to producing new aluminum, reducing its environmental impact. Additionally, aluminum siding’s long lifespan reduces the need for frequent replacements, contributing to its overall sustainability. It is worth noting that aluminum siding reflects more solar heat than vinyl, potentially reducing energy consumption for cooling in warmer climates. Thus, if environmental considerations are a priority, aluminum siding may be an eco-friendlier choice, given its favorable recyclability and sustainability attributes. 

Aluminum vs. Vinyl Siding Cost 

The cost differences between aluminum and vinyl siding have a substantial impact on your budget when considering siding options for your home. Vinyl siding is known for its cost-effectiveness, primarily driven by its lower material costs and straightforward installation. The lightweight nature of vinyl siding means it can be installed more quickly, which also helps reduce labor expenses. Furthermore, vinyl siding is low maintenance, eliminating the need for periodic repainting or resealing, which can add up over time. While initial costs are lower, it is essential to keep in mind that the long-term cost may be higher due to potential damage and the need for replacement, although proper maintenance can help maintain its cost-effectiveness. Overall, vinyl siding is a wallet-friendly option that appeals to homeowners with budget considerations. 

Which is Better, Vinyl or Aluminum Siding?  

Vinyl siding emerges as the preferred choice, offering a host of compelling advantages. Firstly, vinyl siding is renowned for its cost-effectiveness, making it an attractive option for those working within a budget. Beyond its affordability, vinyl siding boasts minimal maintenance requirements, sparing homeowners the hassle and expense of repainting or resealing, ensuring that it remains visually appealing for years to come. 

Another striking feature of vinyl siding is its incredible versatility. With an extensive palette of styles and colors to choose from, homeowners have the flexibility to tailor the exterior of their homes to their exact preferences and architectural designs, creating a visually pleasing and personalized appearance. 

Additionally, the ease of installation and shorter labor times associated with vinyl siding further bolster its affordability, a factor worth considering. For those concerned with energy efficiency, vinyl siding provides the option of insulated variants, which can help reduce heating and cooling costs. When looking for an all-encompassing siding solution that combines cost-effectiveness, low maintenance, and style versatility, vinyl siding is undoubtedly the superior choice for homeowners aiming to enhance their homes affordably and aesthetically. 

DaBella is Your Dedicated Siding Replacement Company 

Revitalize your home with DaBella’s top-tier siding replacement services, where excellence meets craftsmanship. Our team of factory-trained installers is dedicated to elevating your home’s exterior using only the finest materials available. We understand that your home is a valuable investment, which is why we back our work with industry-leading warranties, providing you with peace of mind and confidence in the longevity of your siding. 

With DaBella, you do not have to compromise when it comes to quality and durability. We believe in delivering results that stand the test of time and exceed your expectations. Your home deserves the best, and that is exactly what we offer. 

Do not wait to enhance your curb appeal and safeguard your home. Contact us today at 844-DaBella and let our experts help you transform your home’s exterior with the utmost precision and care. Experience the DaBella difference and discover the beauty of a home that truly stands out.  


Read more articles.

Steven Shortridge

District Manager

Portland, OR

Learn more about Steven