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Aluminum Siding

Often sold alongside vinyl siding, aluminum siding can be seen as the precursor to vinyl. However, the two are not the same. Aluminum is metal and very sturdy but it is not necessarily durable. In fact, it can easily dent. Additionally, because aluminum siding is metal, it will need to be painted just like wood.

Quick Fixes for Blemishes

If you have only minor dents or blemishes in your siding, you can give it a cosmetic touch-up without much work at all.

Scratched Siding
Paint a coat of rust-retardant metal primer made for aluminum over the affected area. Once dry, apply acrylic house paint.

Corroded Siding
Buff the area with fine steel wool and prime with rust-retardant metal primer made for aluminum; when dry, apply acrylic house paint.

Dented Siding
Wear protective goggles for this fix. Locate the center of the dent and drill a pilot hole there. If it’s a large dent, place two or more screws evenly across the area. Insert a sheet metal screw slightly larger into the hole(s), and use a pair of locking pliers to grip the head and carefully pull the screw until the dent fills out. Remove the screw(s) and fill the hole(s) with two-part auto body filler smoothed on with a spatula or putty knife. Sand area when dry (120-grit sandpaper is ideal) and paint with acrylic house paint.

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Replacing Aluminum Siding

If your siding has more than minor cosmetic problems, you’ll probably have to replace the damaged section. But unlike wood siding, aluminum siding requires you to remove and replace only faulty areas rather than actually replacing an entire piece of siding, which can be quite hard to cut and remove. Therefore, if damage covers an extensive area, it may be a job for a pro. If it’s limited to a couple feet replacing it isn’t complicated, nor does it require a long list of tools.

Aluminum Siding Tool List

  • Safety goggles
  • Tin snips to cut aluminum
  • Utility knife (box cutter)
  • Polyurethane caulking or silicone sealant

Check your basement, garage or other storage area for matching aluminum panels, which your siding installer may have left for repairs. If you have none, you’ll have to do your best to find a piece that matches. If possible, contact the manufacturer of your current siding for purchasing options. Once you have a matching piece, here’s how to make the repair.

1. Mark vertical lines on either side of the damaged area. Using a utility knife, cut across the center of the panel between your two marks. Remove the lower half of the damaged section, leaving the top part as is. If you dislike the idea of using a utility knife, you can drill holes halfway down and just inside your two vertical lines and cut across the panel with tin snips.

2. Cut your replacement piece so that it is 3 inches longer on either side than the damaged piece. If the damaged piece meets a corner, adjust accordingly. Use tin snips to cut off the slotted flange (the nail strip) alone the length of your replacement piece.

3. Slather on a liberal amount of polyurethane caulk or clear silicone sealant to the remaining section of damaged panel. Slip it under the upper piece of siding and snap it into place. Prime with rust-retardant primer and paint with acrylic house paint.

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Have more questions about aluminum siding? Talk to others in our Siding forum about your DIY projects!