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Aluminum is not a common choice for porch materials, though there are many advantages to using aluminum for such a structure. An aluminum porch is essentially a small deck on the front of a house, and it is intended to provide a place for people to sit, stand while waiting for entrance to a home, or otherwise enjoy the outdoors. Building an aluminum porch is a good choice because aluminum is naturally resistant to water damage and corrosion, lightweight, and generally fairly strong.
It is not, however, as strong as some other materials such as steel, or various types of wood. Aluminum tends to be fairly brittle, which means it can crack when impacted; bending aluminum back into shape is very difficult or even impossible, which means the aluminum porch can be damaged fairly easily if a heavy object impacts it directly. Steel, on the other hand, can be bent back into shape, and replacing wood panels is usually much easier than replacing an aluminum panel. In many cases, the aluminum porch panels need to be cut to length before being transported to a job site, since special cutting tools will be necessary. Wood, on the other hand, can be cut to fit on site and shimmed if necessary to fill gaps. The tolerance for cutting aluminum is very tight, and shimming is usually not possible.
The cost of aluminum may be slightly more than other materials, often because the options for aluminum porch materials are fairly limited. This is not a popular decking choice, so not many options are available, which can increase the cost of the materials overall. Otherwise, aluminum tends to be fairly inexpensive, usually far less expensive than various types of wood that are water resistant and suitable for use in building a porch.
While aluminum does not absorb and retain as much heat as steel, it will retain more heat than wood. This means it can be warm to the touch if it is exposed to direct sunlight, potentially making the space unusable. This is not an everyday occurrence, of course, and most of the time the aluminum will be suitable for use because it will be suitably cool to the touch.
Many aluminum decking systems feature integrated accessories such as gutters or drains. This makes installation much easier, and it cuts down on maintenance since water is less likely to pool on the aluminum porch.
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