Each of these siding materials comes in a wide array of finishes with varying degrees of durability. Steel sidings are slightly more expensive than aluminum sidings. However, both metals cost far less than proprietary composite board sidings. Aluminum sidings are easier to set up as they lighter and cut easier compared to steel sidings. Unfortunately, aluminum siding are more susceptible to damage during construction and when being shipped.
The large majority of steel sidings today come with a topcoat layer that does away with the need for painting. You can choose from an assortment of topcoat textures and colors. Some of these sidings come pre-painted in a polyvinyl or vinyl top coating. Others come galvanized, something that assures their durability.
You can order steel sidings that are precut or uncut. The steel can either be corrugated or flat. The corrugated steel sidings come in an assortment of scales and profiles. You can order conventional corrugated steel (the type that is usually seen on barn roofs). This has a larger-scale profile that provides more dramatic light and shadow. You can also order standard B profile, normally utilized for decking. Other profiles include triangular, rectangular and square profiles in varied scales.
Professional building designers and architects normally use a special kind of corrugated steel siding generally referred to as ‘Corten’. Corten steel is a fine-grained product that quickly rusts if left unpainted, as all unpainted steel does. However, the fine molecules of rust readily amalgamate with the Corten steel limiting the depth of rust to effectively form a protective coat. According to its manufacturers, the material’s lifespan is over forty years, meaning its durability compares well with other steel finishes.
Faux- Corten steel
This siding material looks like Corten and has the same properties as ordinary steel siding. However, the main difference between this steel and others is that it doesn’t rust as it comes finished with a polyvinyl fluoride powdered material that prevents rusting. Manufacturers are increasingly offering similar faux-natural finishes that replicate the look of other unpainted metals; some antiqued or weathered and others permanently new and shiny.
Aluminum siding comes with finishes that bear similarities to those used on steel sidings. They also come with the same choices of texture and color. Similar to steel sidings, aluminum sidings are low-maintenance, but with higher resistance to rust. They come in both corrugated and flat panels. The corrugated varieties come in a wide variety of styles. Some manufacturers offer corrugated panels with a faux-corten, polyvinyl finish, and also others that imitate the look of new or antique copper and zinc.
All in all, while steel and aluminum sidings are available with similar finishes and looks, and in a wide range of price points, quality aluminum sidings cost less than the same types of steel sidings. Simply put, there is a wide range of cheaper aluminum sidings with lower price points than any steel products. Moreover, aluminum sidings are lighter making them easier to cut and install. Steel sidings have a certain look and roughness that high-end designers and architects tend to prefer. They are also more long lasting and don’t dent as easily. When it comes to choosing between the two, it all comes down to the available financial resources and aesthetics.