Steel siding: Is it right for your home?

Steel siding: Is it right for your home?

Steel siding has been the exterior cladding of choice on commercial and agricultural buildings for many years. However, you may have to look long and hard to find the veneer installed on a home. The reason: the panels offered by many manufacturers in the past appeared to be better suited for barns.

That could be about to change as more steel siding companies bring panels specifically designed for residential applications to the marketplace. Is the material a viable exterior cladding option for your home?

The pros and cons of steel siding

When it comes to choosing a new siding for your home, there are almost countless materials, styles and colors from which to choose. Fiber cement and vinyl siding are very popular in many parts of the country, but brick veneer and wood siding will always have their loyal supporters. Well, now you can add steel siding to your list of veneers to consider. Here are a few pros and cons that may help with your decision:


  • Fire resistance. Steel isn't flammable and while it can melt, it's very rare for a fire around the home to reach the required temperature.
  • Seams. Panels are available in longer lengths than many other types of siding materials. Midwest Manufacturing offers their steel siding in sizes up to 20 feet long, which can mean fewer seams on your home's exterior walls.
  • Eco-friendly. Steel can be made from recycled material and can easily be used to make another steel product when removed from a home.
  • Maintenance. The material has about the same upkeep requirements as vinyl siding -- which means very little at all. It can be cleaned with a water hose and a little soap.


  • Installation. Steel panels can be much heavier than vinyl siding or wood and usually require an experienced installer. If you're planning a DIY project, steel may not be the best choice.
  • Availability. Many distributors consider steel siding to be a special order product. The Alside supply center in Virginia Beach, Va., reports that it can take up to two weeks to get their Satinwood steel panels. If you don't order enough for your home, there may be a long wait to finish the project.
  • Energy efficiency. Steel can conduct more exterior heat into your home than materials such as fiber cement or vinyl. Insulation panels should be installed prior to the panels to avoid reducing the energy efficiency of your exterior walls. That may be an added expense if you live in a region with hot summer temperatures.

When it comes to cost, steel is about on par with the higher quality vinyl siding products. Menard's, a large building material supplier in the Midwest, quotes Midwest Manufacturing's double 4-inch steel panels at $140 per square. Their price for the same profile in CertainTeed's Monogram vinyl panels is $120.

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