Aluminum Siding as a Design Feature of a Queen Anne Home?
Protecting your home investment is so vitally important if you own a vintage home. The Queen Anne is one of the more visually stunning types of vintage homes. While there are broad variations in features, the Queen Anne is typified by some common features--asymmetrical design, bay windows, turrets and ornamental exteriors. While you should do your best to preserve the lovely ornamental finishes that characterize your Queen Anne home, aluminum siding has been a historically common replacement for worn siding in a Queen Anne and is an obvious choice for replacing clapboards.
Coming into vogue in the years immediately after the Second World War, aluminum siding is still clad to Queen Anne homes across the country. Used alone, or as a complementary trim, aluminum siding is stronger than many other siding options and can be custom bent to work with historical features.
Preserving Queen Anne Features with Siding
Installing aluminum siding won't necessarily preclude you from restoring or creating historical Queen Anne features such as a wrap-around porch, spindle-work, or hybrid touches from more recent design eras. In fact, many styles of Queen Anne homes in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest were designed with simpler horizontal sidings that are amenable to replacement with aluminum siding.
A key benefit of aluminum siding over other manufactured siding materials is its ability to retain color - especially when it is purchased pre-finished. This is especially useful given the flamboyant color treatments on homes in some major American cities, especially in the Upper Haight or Cole Valley districts of San Francisco.
For homeowners who prefer to paint their siding or are refinishing existing siding, aluminum siding can be primed with an oil-based paint designed specifically for aluminum metal work and finished with acrylic latex exterior paint designed for houses. But to ensure proper adhesion, you should start by thoroughly cleaning aluminum siding before undertaking any painting.
Aluminum Siding Features
When compared with vinyl, aluminum siding always fares better in cold climates. As temperatures shift throughout the year, aluminum siding is less vulnerable to contraction and expansion. That's why you still see aluminum in the trim-work and design features of many Queen Anne homes and converted offices in the American Northeast and upper Midwest.
On the negative side, aluminum siding can be scratched or dented--but it can also be re-painted. It can be installed in less time than vinyl, is fire resistant, waterproof, and has solid insulating qualities. Routine maintenance of aluminum siding includes washing. Before using a power washer, it's important to test the integrity of the aluminum in an easily reached but low-visibility section of the siding.
Woodrow Aames has written articles and profiles for Yahoo, Microsoft Network, Microsoft Encarta, and other websites and print magazines around the world. He holds an MFA degree and has taught English abroad.