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Alumaboard® Alternatives: Exterior Siding That Looks Like Wood
Lauren Risotto

By: Lauren Risotto on February 10th, 2021

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Alumaboard® Alternatives: Exterior Siding That Looks Like Wood

Metal Siding | T-8 Plankwall®

You’re searching for a wood look for your project. Upon realizing the potential of termites, dry rot, wood warping, and expense from using real wood, now you’re looking for alternatives. Luckily, there is no shortage of materials that replicate a wooden look to choose from. Two of the most common products are Alumaboard®, T-8 PlankWall®, and Metal Board & Batten.

Alumaboard® is a wood-grain aluminum siding that is designed to look like wood while T-8 PlankWall® and Metal Board and Batten are steel siding that are designed to look like wood. They both arrive ready to use, which takes the hassle of cutting and staining when using authentic wood away. 

At Western States Metal Roofing, we are the proud manufacturers of T-8 PlankWall®, the alternative to Alumaboard®. However, we know our customers have many materials to choose from and we realize Alumaboard® is often considered.

We also manufacture Metal Board & Batten is another option to the traditional wood board and batten siding.

There are circumstances when Alumaboard® or wood board and batten may in fact be the better option for you. Our goal with this article is to help make your decision easier by comparing the two materials in terms of cost, installation, appearance, and uses.

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Exterior Siding That Looks Like Wood: Aluminum vs. Steel

The decision between using Alumaboard® or T-8 PlankWall® starts with deciding if you need a siding material made of aluminum or steel. Since both materials are technically metal, they both bring the many benefits of metal like a long lifespan and energy efficiency.

There are still some differences between them that we will go into detail in the sections below to help you decide which is better for you.

Material Cost


Alumaboard® costs between $7- $8 per linear foot.


T-8 PlankWall®

T-8 PlankWall® costs between $8-$11 per linear foot


Installation And Applications


Alumaboard® can be installed vertically, horizontally, or diagonally; from the wall base upward and from left, right, or center outward. For soffit installation, Alumaboard may be installed perpendicular, parallel, or diagonally to the wall or fascia and from left, right, or center outward. It can be applied over open framing or a solid substrate.

Alumaboard® panels are available in 4”, 6”, 8”, and 10” planks in lengths from 12’ to 24’.

Alumaboard® can be used for indoor or outdoor installations. It can be used on projects including: 

  • Exterior Siding
  • Accent Walls
  • Ceilings
  • Soffits
  • Battens
  • Sunshades
  • Privacy Screenings

It is highly recommended that Alumaboard® only be installed by professional contractors with previous experience installing aluminum soffits and siding materials.

Find complete installation details for Alumaboard® here. 



T-8 Plankwall®

T-8 PlankWall Distressed Wood®

T-8 PlankWall®

T-8 PlankWall® is for vertical or horizontal installations with concealed fasteners for wall, soffit, and fascia. It can be applied over open framing or a solid substrate.

T-8 PlankWall® panels have a width of 8”, the same as real wood planks, and lengths that vary from 1' to 45'. 

T-8 PlankWall® can be used in indoor or outdoor installations. It can be used for many different projects including:

  • Interior Accent Wall
  • Exterior Siding
  • Soffit
  • Interior Ceiling
  • Interior Wall Panels

We highly recommend that T-8 PlankWall® be professionally installed by contractors with previous metal siding experience.

Find complete installation details for T-8 PlankWall® here.


Design Options And Appearance 

Alumaboard® planks

Alumaboard® 10” Planks. Photo credit:



Alumaboard® is available in 10 standard woodgrain finishes and 5 specialty wood finishes. 

These finishes include:

  • Light National Walnut
  • Dark National Walnut
  • Hazelnut Brown
  • American Walnut
  • Medium Cherry
  • Super Oak
  • Light Fir
  • Colony Maple
  • Dark Knotty Pine
  • Amber Bamboo
  • Driftwood 
  • White Oak
  • Barnwood Wash
  • Honey Cherry
  • Light Maple

If you are interested in panel options beyond those that simulate wood, Alumaboard® also comes in 10 standard painted colors and 5 metallic colors.


T-8 PlankWall®

T-8 PlankWall® comes in three colors that are designed to look like authentic wood panels.

T-8 PlankWall Distressed Wood® 

Distressed Wood® is designed to mimic reclaimed wood. The panel is designed with four distressed wood patterns, each grain pattern replicates wood lines from different wood types.


T-8 PlankWall Walnut Wood® 

Walnut Wood® is designed to look like real walnut wood in a natural dark brown finish. It's a versatile panel that can be used in either a traditional or modern design.

The Walnut Wood panel comes in the Cool Tech® 500 PVDF finish. The panels have a width of 8”, the same as real wood planks, and lengths that vary from 1' to 45'.


T-8 Plankwall In Burnt Wood

T-8 PlankWall Burnt Wood® Panel


T-8 PlankWall Burnt Wood® 

Burnt Wood® is designed to look like wood with a charred blackened finish. The panel duplicates the beauty and look of Shou Sugi Ban, the ancient Japanese technique that involves charring a wood surface to result in a deep charcoal-black finish. Burnt Wood® is an authentic take on heat-treated siding.

If you are interested in exploring finishes outside of the T-8 PlankWall® series, metal panels are available in over 100 standard and custom colors.


Why Use Alumaboard® Panels?

Alumaboard® Use On The Coast

The aluminum that Alumaboard® is made from is compatible with coastal properties. Properties near the ocean, especially those that are within one mile from the ocean, are surrounded by a high amount of salt particles in the atmosphere. The aluminum is resistant to salt particles and will not rust or corrode. 

On the other hand, the steel of T-8 PlankWall® tends to not hold up as well as aluminum does when exposed to salt spray. Any area with excessive moisture can also be problematic for steel.

To prevent any issues resulting from geographic elements, properties that are waterfront, or close to water, should use Alumaboard® instead of T-8 PlankWall®.

More Wood Color Options

If you are interested in a variety of wood grain finishes, Alumaboard® has a wider selection to choose from compared to T-8 PlankWall®.

Alumaboard® Warranty

Alumaboard® comes with a 15-year finish warranty. The panels will be repaired or replaced as long as the damage falls within the guidelines of the warranty.


Why Use T-8 PlankWall® Panels?

T-8 PlankWall Is More Affordable Than Alumaboard®

At $4-$5 per linear foot, T-8 PlankWall® is almost half the price of Alumaboard®. You want to choose T-8 PlankWall® if you are looking for the more economical material.

Longer Panels

T-8 PlankWall® panels can be made up to 45’, which is up to twice as long as Alumaboard®. If your project requires long panels, T-8 PlankWall® is a better solution as you’ll be able to purchase less material because it covers more surface area.

T-8 PlankWall® Warranty

T-8 PlankWall® painted panels come with a 40-year limited paint warranty. The surface will be either repainted, repaired, or replaced if crackling, flaking, or peeling occurs.


Alternative To Wood Siding: Metal Board And Batten Siding Panels

Material Cost For Metal Board & Batten Siding

The cost of siding materials widely differ, but metal board and batten is an option for homeowners to attain a timeless elegant look without breaking your bank. At an average cost of $9-12 per square foot, it’s more expensive than Alumaboard and T-8 Plankwall®, competitive with other siding options. 

Another cost-saving aspect of metal board and batten siding is its relatively straightforward installation process. Experienced contractors can effectively install it, reducing labor costs. 

Metal Board & Batten Paint Warranty

With a 40-year warranty, you can rest assured that your siding will maintain its vibrant appearance and protective qualities that will last.


Metal Board & Batten - Walnut Wood

Unique Style

Unlike horizontal siding, Metal Board & Batten siding panels place a strong emphasis on vertical lines. This vertical orientation not only adds height and prominence to your home but also makes it stand out from the typical horizontal siding choices. The vertical lines draw the eye upward, creating a visually pleasing effect which is poplar for modern farmhouse designs and traditional styles.

Popular Wood Finishes For Metal Board & Batten Siding


Metal Board & Batten - Walnut Wood




Aluminum Siding vs. Steel Siding

When you’re looking to incorporate a wood aesthetic into your interior or exterior design without having to do any labor or maintenance to materials, you have multiple wood replicating options to choose from including aluminum, or Alumaboard®, and steel, or T-8 PlankWall® or Metal Board & Batten.

Take factors such as your budget, location, project type and panel specifications into consideration to decide which panel is best for your project.

The chart below summarizes the main differences between the three materials:



T-8 PlankWall®

Metal Board & Batten 


$7-$8 per linear foot

$4- $5 per linear foot

$9-$12 per square foot


4”, 6”, 8”, 10”




12’- 24’

1’- 45’

30' Max






15 year finish warranty

40 year paint warranty

40 year paint warranty


If you have decided that T-8 PlankWall® is the better fit for you, continue on to learn more about T-8 PlankWall® including product specifications and installation information.

Learn More About T-8 PlankWall® 

If you have decided that Metal Board & Batten Siding is the better fit for you, continue on to learn more about this panel including product specifications and installation information.

Learn More About Metal Board & Batten Siding

See how T-8 PlankWall® compares to other wood alternatives by reading:

Metal That Looks Like Walnut Wood: T-8 PlankWall® v. Longwood® v. Fabral Knotwood


T-8 Plankwall - Free Product Guide - Click To Download Now


Metal Roofing Learning Cener

About Lauren Risotto

Lauren is the Content Manager at Western States Metal Roofing and provides insight on content creation and product promotions.