What Material Works Best, Aluminum or Vinyl Siding?


QUESTION: We want to install new siding on our home. We are wondering which siding you would recommend, vinyl or aluminum?

ANSWER: We don't have a preference. No siding material is perfect, and your choice should be based on which siding, in your opinion, has more advantages than disadvantages.

Aluminum siding comes in planks that are either smooth or embossed with a wood-grain texture, shingles or vertical panels. It is relatively maintenance-free, noncorrosive, termite-proof and will not rot. Its surface finish is a durable baked enamel paint that lasts for many years before it fades.

If aluminum siding is scratched, the silver color of the bare aluminum below is exposed. However, the scratch is only of cosmetic concern and can easily be corrected with touch-up paint. One problem with aluminum siding is that it can be dented if it's struck with sufficient force--such as by a baseball or by a ladder pressing on it. Many communities require that aluminum siding be grounded electrically as a precaution against electrical shock.

Vinyl siding is very much like aluminum siding in size, shape application and appearance. Vinyl siding normally does not dent from impact. However, during very cold weather, the siding becomes brittle, and a hard blow could crack or shatter it. Vinyl siding expands and contracts as the temperature changes. If it is improperly nailed, this movement results in waviness in the vinyl panels.

Special Stripper Won't Harm Terrazzo Surface

Q: I'm removing a parquet floor from terrazzo. How can I remove the parquet adhesive left behind?

A: Try using Peel-Away 5, a stripper formulated for adhesive and coatings removal. According to its manufacturer, it won't damage terrazzo. After it softens the adhesive, you remove it using a long-handled scraper. If the adhesive is really tough, you may have to scrub it with a brush before scraping it. You can find it at paint stores. Contact Dumond Chemicals, 1501 Broadway, New York, NY 10036.

To submit a question, write to Popular Mechanics, Reader Service Bureau, 224 W. 57th St., New York, N.Y. 10019. The most interesting questions will be answered in a future column.

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