Vinyl siding doesn't require as much less maintenance as aluminum siding and has a longer average lifespan, but it is more expensive to buy and install. Aluminum siding is prone to scratches and dents, but repainting is an option both for restoring the finish and for changing the house's look.
Aluminum siding was on the market before vinyl siding. Its light weight cuts down on installation costs, and it offers good protection against wind, water, insects, fire and mold. Because its color is baked on and reveals bare metal when scratched, it requires repainting every five to 10 years to look its best. Dented sections usually require replacement. With proper maintenance, aluminum siding usually lasts 30 to 40 years.
Vinyl siding came on the market in the 1950s and is now the more popular type in spite of costing more than aluminum siding. It resists dents and does not require repainting as its color goes through the entire thickness of the material, and it can last up to 50 years. Its main drawbacks are that it is difficult to paint if the owner wants to change the color and that it expands and contracts in response to extreme temperatures, causing it to become brittle during cold weather.