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Although it’s unfortunate that aluminum siding is prone to denting, the good news is that repairing the dents and dings is something you can do yourself without any specialized equipment.
Before you get to work, make sure to assess whether repairing the dents is worth it. In some cases, it might more be sensible to replace the damaged boards. You can find my replacement guide further down in this article.
Step-by-Step Guide to Fixing Dented Aluminum Siding
Aluminum siding is popular because it does not rot, rust, or catch fire. Aluminum is strong and lightweight, but it is easy to dent, which can make the siding look tatty and old. Repairing aluminum siding can save you up to 70% of the cost of a replacement.
With a few simple tools and the right technique, you can pull out and repair dents, leaving your aluminum siding looking like new. For small scratches on bare aluminum, you can try rubbing a ball of steel wool in the direction of the grain.
If the siding is painted, you will need to touch up the surface with an aluminum paint of similar color. For more severe damage from weather and general knocks, try the below methods for repairing dents in your aluminum siding:
Materials and Tools
- Assorted grit sandpaper
- Scrap wood
- Work gloves
- Masking tape
Note: Always wear work gloves when cutting and handling aluminum siding. The cut ends are razor sharp, and it does not take much for a splinter of aluminum to give you a serious laceration. And if you are repairing siding without taking it off, you will want to protect the neighboring siding with scrap wood and masking tape.
Step 1 – Drill
For deep dents, attach a 1/8-inch metal drill bit to your drill. Aluminum is quite soft, and a drill bit for metal will make a nice clean hole. Drill a starting hole for a screw to grab into the center of the dent. If your siding has a big dent, more than 2 inches across, you will need to drill more holes, so you can insert more screws.
Step 2 – Screw
Place a washer over the hole and hold it in place with a screw that is a little wider than the hole. The screw also needs to be long enough to get pliers between the head of the screw and the washer.
Step 3 – Pull
Use your plier to pull on the screwhead. The washer will protect the surrounding metal from your pliers scratching the siding. Keep pulling on the screwhead until you level out the dent. If you feel like the screw is pulling free, tighten it back up.
Step 4 – Clean Up
Remove the screw and use 60-grit sandpaper around the hole and within the area where your dent was. You need to scratch up the area where you are going to apply a filler paste so that your filler has something to stick to.
Step 5 – Fill
Fill the hole with a metal body filler and putty knife. You also want to fill any of the smaller dents still showing, so ensure that you have mixed enough of the compound.
Step 6 – Level
Once you have leveled the filler, let it dry. Once the filler dries, you may find that you see small air bubbles or cracks. If so, rough up the filler with some wire wool, then mix a small batch of filler so that you can finish leveling the surface.
Step 7 – Sand
Sand the filler with increasingly higher grits of sandpaper. Use a sanding block to prevent the shape of your fingers from working dips into your dried filler. Start with a 220-grit to remove the deep lines, and then up to a 340-grit for smoothing. there is no need for a finer grit at this point.
Step 8 – Primer
Apply a primer to the filler, up to the edge where you can still see aluminum. Let the primer dry and give it a rub with 400-grit sandpaper to level the paint and air bubble out to the aluminum.
Step 9 – Paint
Apply two coats of aluminum paint over the repair, giving the first coat a decent amount of drying time before applying the second.
Step 10 – Finish
Use a 1000-grit wet-and-dry sandpaper to finish off the paint and integrate it into the color of the original aluminum siding.
How to Replace Aluminum Siding Panels
To save money and time on aluminum siding repairs, you can often find bargains from warehouses wanting to get rid of old stock. People often order too much siding and want to clear up their storage space rather than have it sitting around doing nothing.
You may also want to switch your aluminum for vinyl siding. Vinyl siding is around the same price but offers better longevity, better resilience to dents, and a better heat insulator. Repairs to aluminum siding are possible, and a repair can look reasonable with the correct tools.
But once the aluminum is compromised, any type of repair will wear fast and need ongoing treatments to keep fillers from popping out. When you have bent or badly damaged siding, the best thing to do is replace it. Since the siding is in sections, you can remove individual boards.
Materials and Tools
- Scrap wood
- 1 1/2-inch aluminum roofing nails
- Siding removal tool
- Set square
- Tape measure
- Work gloves
- Tin snips
- Masking tape
So, if it is within the budget, your best option is to place your damaged aluminum siding. Here is how to do it:
Step 1 – Mark
Look over your aluminum siding and mark out the pieces that need changing so you do not have to remember later where they were. You can use white chalk, which is easy to wipe off after.
Step 2 – Find the Edge
Insert your siding removal tool at the edge and wiggle it between the gaps. Take care when pushing the blade of the tool into the gap, as it is easy to scratch aluminum siding. You can use a piece of scrap cardboard or masking tape to protect the metal and its coating.
Step 3 – Separate
Insert the tool beneath the siding that you are going to remove and pull out any nails holding the piece in place. There may be a flange covering the nail, which you will have to bend open with your pliers.
Step 4 – Measure
Use the damaged siding as a measuring guide to help you cut the length of the new siding. When marking the new strip of siding, use a carpenter’s square to draw a straight 90-degree line.
Step 5 – Cut
Use the tin snips to cut the siding along your line. With thin siding, you should also be able to use a sharp utility knife, which will give you a less frayed cut.
Step 6 – Nail
Nail up the siding into place and try to give each end equal spacing from the surrounding siding. Hammer in nails every four inches through the pre-made nail guides in the siding.
Step 7 – Reconnect
Reattach the siding using the siding tool.