Aluminum siding is a popular choice for homes because of its low maintenance and relatively low cost. Like every siding choice, however, aluminum siding has its disadvantages. Primarily, it can be easily scratched and dented because it is so soft. Aluminum in its pure manufactured state is too soft to use for things like siding so it is combined with other metals and used as an alloy in manufacturing aluminum siding. Nevertheless, it is still a very soft material. Fortunately, aluminum siding is relatively uncomplicated to repair. If your siding has nicks, dings, dents, or scratches from errant baseballs, rocks, hailstones, or shrubbery that is too close to the house, follow these easy steps to repair those damaged areas and restore your aluminum siding to like new condition.
- Clean your siding thoroughly. A pressure washer works best for this. Do not get the end of the pressure washer wand too close to the siding or you can damage it.
- Let the siding dry thoroughly.
Repair the siding
- If the damage is on the lower edge of a siding panel or in the part of the panel that is “to the weather”, scribe a line on either side of the damaged area and along the top of that same area to form a rectangle or square.
- Using a metal straightedge as a guide, cut along the lines with a sharp razor knife.
- You can also use a power tool like the zip tool or roto-cutter. Set the bit or blade of any power tool to cut very shallow so you do not cut into the sheathing underneath the siding.
- Remove the damaged piece of aluminum siding.
- Cut a piece of new siding the same shape as the damaged one and approximately 2″ to 3″ larger all the way around.
- Cut the nailing flange away from the top edge of the new piece of siding.
- Apply a good quality silicone or polybutylene caulking compound to the edges of the siding adjacent to where the damaged area was removed.
- Lay the repair piece into the wet caulking compound and push upward until the bottom of the new piece snaps into the bottom edge of the existing siding panel.
- Press the new piece firmly into the caulking.
- Clean all the excess caulking compound with the appropriate solvent.
You can use duct tape to hold the repair in place until the caulking cures. You can also brace something like a two by four against the repair to help hold it if it is close enough to the ground.
After the caulking compound has cured properly, you can apply a good quality primer designed for use on aluminum and cover that with one or two coats of acrylic paint. Make sure the coats are thinned well for proper adhesion and long wear.
If the damage is small, you can simply pull the dents out with small screws, then fill the holes with auto body filler, sand them smooth, and touch up the paint as described above.
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