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The Amazing Benefits of Engineered Wood Siding

By Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers®

Choosing products for your new home takes a number of variables into account. You have to consider cost, style, maintenance, and durability, and most homeowners find that the perfect solution eludes them. When it comes to siding, there’s a range of materials available, and they couldn’t be more different between their installation requirements and how they perform over time. Here are the reasons why engineered wood siding is a great choice across the board!

LP SmartSide Lap Siding

Look closely and you can see the natural woodgrain texture on this LP® SmartSide® Lap Siding, Panel Siding, and Trim and Fascia, all of which provide the coveted appearance of real wood without the maintenance concerns.

Comparing Quality and Eco-Friendliness

The shift away from natural wood siding when man-made alternatives became commercially available was understandable, but wood still provides advantages over its competitors. Engineered wood is in a category of its own and stands out among other products that aim to mimic traditional wood siding, like vinyl and fiber cement. Here’s how they stack up:

Vinyl – Inexpensive material and installation; requires little to no maintenance; PVC material expands and contracts with temperature swings, can become brittle and crack, and occasionally melts in harsh direct sunlight
Fiber Cement – Relatively expensive material due to heavy shipping weight and requires special knowledge and tools to install because it breaks easily; may need recaulking and paint to maintain waterproof barrier; can dent, absorb water and weaken through freeze-thaw cycles, and expose the house frame to moisture
LP® SmartSide® Engineered Wood – Material costs about the same as, or less than, fiber cement and can be installed as easily as natural wood; easy to maintain; resists termites and fungal decay

When it comes down to it, engineered wood offers the beauty and simplicity of wood, but it addresses the durability concerns that come with a natural, biodegradable material. Despite this vulnerability, wood is still a more sound siding choice for you and the environment, because it sequesters carbon from the atmosphere. Manufacturing vinyl and fiber cement releases many tons of carbon dioxide without the same sequestration. Vinyl also releases a number of harmful toxins during its production and as it ages, it continues to be a source of pollution. So, don’t be fooled by what you think is a good deal upfront—you should look at the whole picture to find the best siding.

LP SmartSide Panel Siding

The quick-to-install LP® SmartSide® Panel Siding used on this home has a smooth finish to help it achieve a Tudor-esque appearance with overlapping trim in a fraction of the time that stucco would take.

Opting for Easier Installation

You’ll be happy to know that a product like engineered wood can actually save you on installation time and cost. Its durability-enhancing treatments don’t complicate installation measures. Each board and panel can be cut using regular woodworking tools and hung easily, whether by hammering nails by hand or using a nail gun. Building contractors should already have everything they need to apply engineered wood siding.

Not only is it easy to work with, but LP® SmartSide® products save time because they are available in longer than standard lengths. That means you can cover a home in fewer pieces, reducing the number of seams. The speed at which you can complete your project depends on the type(s) of siding you choose. Lap comes in different widths, so fewer wider pieces may take significantly less time to install than thinner pieces. Panel siding is by far the quickest to install. It covers a four-by-ten-foot swath of wall with a single piece, which is why this is a popular choice for completing a home even when other styles are used for the façade.

Getting the perfect color also couldn’t be simpler. If you buy through a Preferred Prefinisher, your siding will arrive in the color(s) you want, and some even offer custom options. Factory prefinishing is desirable because predictable results can be achieved when paint is applied and baked or air dried in a controlled setting, and it yields a super durable finish. That saves time on the worksite, because the painting process usually stretches out over days. If you choose to prefinish, the reduction in man-hours might cover the extra cost.

LP SmartSide Cedar Texture Shakes

Anybody who insists on shake siding wants it to look real. The LP® SmartSide® Cedar Texture Shakes here have been prefinished for that authentic appearance, and they won’t rot and will resist damage by termites thanks to the SmartGuard® process.

Investing in Durability

Quality siding is a must. It protects your home and everything inside, but the challenges that different materials can withstand vary widely, so much so that climate and geography sometimes dictate what you see used. Engineered wood siding is unique in that it is equipped to handle situations where others fail, thanks to the treatments included in its construction.

The SmartGuard® process coats strands or fibers in waxes for water resistance, zinc borate to help resist termites and fungal decay, and binders to increase strength with flexibility, so things like hail and wayward baseballs bounce off rather than causing breakage. This protection is full-thickness and comes wrapped up in a resin-saturated overlay for a first line of defense. The siding has been tested in hot climates—both humid and arid—as well as freezing ones, and it has been proven to endure the wide range of trials without a loss of integrity. You can see why LP® SmartSide® siding stands up to homeowners’ concerns across the country here.

If you’re ready to consider LP® SmartSide® siding for your home, you can explore their different products up-close while using this Style Guide. Mix and match cedar and smooth textures, staggered versus straight edges, and different widths of trim to find a combination that is perfect for your exterior design. And if you want to try it out on different kinds of homes or even a picture of your own, you can use this Visualizer tool, which also allows you to test different colors. The siding you choose will be in it for the long haul, so be sure to contact a local retailer if you need any assistance!