Aluminum siding is both durable and long-lasting when installed correctly. However, it is subject to wear and tear as well as the elements, and eventually, it may break down. At that point, you may want to remove all of the aluminum siding and start new or replace the damaged siding with a new panel.
Removing aluminum siding is not complicated. It can be tiresome, but there is nothing complex about the process. If you want to remove a section of the siding without damaging it, however, will take a bit more finesse.
Since aluminum siding is installed in an interlocking pattern, pieces can be separated easily using a siding removal tool. Once separated, remove the nails and carefully pull the aluminum panel down to remove.
What You’ll Need for The Job
- Siding Removal Tool (or Screw Driver)
- Work Gloves
- Wood Scraps
What is a Siding Removal Tool?
A siding removal tool helps to separate all of the hidden joints that lock aluminum siding pieces together. Which can really help when you want to remove or replace a panel of siding without damaging it.
The siding removal tool is made with a small hook at one end and a bend at just the right angle on the other end. It allows you to get under the top and bottom edges of the siding pieces where they interlock.
This tool is key to removing panels with little to no damage. Siding removal tools can be purchased for around $10 at most home improvement stores.
How To Remove Siding Without Damaging the Panel
Aluminum siding panels are interlocked at their top and bottom edges via J-shaped channels. Each panel overlaps the panel below it and locks into place along the joint. By using a siding removal tool, you run less a risk of harming the aluminum siding when removing the panel.
Below you will find the basic steps to removing an aluminum siding panel without damaging it.
Step 1: Unlock the Bottom Joint
- Start at the bottom edge of the aluminum siding panel you want to remove.
- Work the tip of the siding removal tool under a loose spot at one end of the panel. This should catch the siding removal tool onto the back lip of the lock.
- From here, look for an enlarged hole located close to the end of the panel. Once found, slide the siding removal tool into the hole.
- Separate the lock joint by putting a downward pressure on it using the siding removal tool.
- Slide the tool along the length of the siding panel to release the rest of the joint locks.
Step 2: Unlock the Top Joint
- To unlock the top joint, hold the aluminum panel firmly while sliding the siding removal tool along the length of the top panel.
- This should release the remaining joint
- Hold the aluminum panel firmly against the wall, in a position that exposes the nail hem and nails that secure that panel in place.
Step 3: Pull the Nails
- Next, you will need to remove the nails holding the panel in place.
- Firmly pull at the upper corner of the siding to expose the nail hem
- Take a pry-bar or the claw side of a hammer and carefully pull all of the nails from the hem.
- Nails should be every 14 to 26
- Once all of the nails have been removed, carefully separate the panel from the wall/roof and remove it.
Tips for This Job
Use Small Wood Pieces/Scraps
Place small wood pieces or a scrap of wood under the unlocked upper-edge of the aluminum siding. This should expose the nail hem while holding the siding away from the wall. This makes pulling all of those nails much easier.
I Don’t Have a Siding Removal Tool?
Back in the good ole’ days, before we had a fancy tool for every home improvement job, people used screwdrivers for practically any household job. And, removing aluminum panels is one of those.
While a screwdriver will definitely help to remove aluminum siding panels, a siding removal tool is designed to cause less panel damage during the removal process. Use a screwdriver the same way you would use a siding removal tool. But keep in mind, using a screwdriver can easily harm your panels during removal. Work slowly to reduce panel chipping and cracking.
Older Aluminum Siding Is Brittle
Aluminum siding becomes brittle with age which makes it much more difficult to remove without causing damage to it. If your aluminum siding is more than 25 years old, you’ll want to work much slower and put less pressure on the joint locks to reduce chipping and cracking.
And, if you are working on the south or west-facing side of your house, the siding has a greater potential to break because of sun exposure and damage.
Thicker Siding Is Easier to Remove
Thicker aluminum siding is often easier to remove (than the thinner panels) and typically incur less damage during the removal process. Since thicker siding is made to be stronger and more durable than standard aluminum panels they are more difficult to damage. This makes them less likely to chip or crack during removal.
But, remember when I said thicker siding is easier to remove? If the siding is very thick, you may find it more difficult to work with. Especially when trying to expose the joint locks on the top.
Work During Warmer Temperatures
Avoid removing aluminum panels when the weather is cold. When temperatures dip below 40 degrees, aluminum siding panels are more likely to crack. This is especially true when the siding is worn and weather damaged.
Looking to Speed Things Up?
If you are removing an entire wall of siding, start at the top and work your way down. By clearing the upper section of aluminum panels you gain easier access to the all of the lower panel’s nail hems. This should make pulling all of those nails much easier.
What is the best way to cut aluminum siding?
The best way to cut aluminum siding is with a radial saw, tin snips, and a nibbler. First, cut across the edges of the aluminum siding with a radial arm saw. You can use another panel to reduce the risk of snags while cutting. Be sure to work slowly.
Use straight tin snips when cutting the width of the aluminum siding. Use a nibbler to cut straight lines.
How much does it cost to remove aluminum siding?
Since the cost of installing aluminum siding varies nationally, its removal is no different. The national average for aluminum siding removal is around $1 to $2 per square feet. When attaining estimates, make sure the cost includes hauling and throwing away any damaged pieces.
How long does painted aluminum siding last?
Paint can add years to your aluminum siding as long as it is done correctly. Typically, when aluminum siding is painted properly, it can last for more than 20 years. When painting aluminum panels, make sure they are cleaned properly for an even paint application.
To repaint, enlist the use of a power washer or exterior house cleaner to remove a water sealer, grime, mold, or chipped paint. Once properly cleaned, apply the new paint evenly.