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The Basics of Metal Siding

Metal siding is a less-common home-exterior product than vinyl, wood, and fiber-cement. Here's why.

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Metal siding comes in a variety of profiles and sizes, but it has declined in popularity as a home-exterior finish product. The reason? It's gotten more expensive, and it's less resilient to normal wear and tear compared with other products on the market, says Phil Davis, a spokesperson for the National Association of the Remodeling Industry who works with Harris Exteriors and More in Streamwood, Illinois.

Metal siding includes products such as aluminum siding. It is typically cut to fit the exact measurements of a home and resists some common ailments -- termites and rot, for instance -- of siding products such as wood. However, metal siding cannot withstand hail damage or even dents from items such as rocks thrown from a lawn mower. Metal also may rust if not properly finished. More often than not, it is found on buildings such as sheds.

However, metal siding is a still-used exterior home product, as well as an oft-seen addition to some areas built in the mid-1940s. After World War II, metal -- no longer needed for war manufacturing -- was a cheap material for the boom in suburban housing. It was inexpensive, too, and with its resistance to water and storms, used in the South in particular. Metal siding can be found in a variety of forms such as lap siding and corrugated panels.

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