Maintenance8 min

How Freeze-Thaw Cycles Affect Popular Siding Materials

The elements are constantly working to break down the components that protect a home’s exterior. We all know the damage sun, hail and high winds can do to siding, but did you know there is another equally damaging force? It’s called the freeze-thaw cycle.

The freeze-thaw cycle occurs because water expands  by nearly 10% as it freezes. If water is trapped inside a material such as concrete and the temperature falls below 32°F, it creates extreme pressure on the material as it expands. When the temperature rises, the water contracts as it melts. When the freeze-thaw cycle happens over and over, year after year, the cumulative effect can eventually cause cracking and serious structural damage to siding material. 

freeze thaw cycle
In addition to siding damage, freeze-thaw cycles also cause potholes in roads.

The number of freeze-thaw cycles a home experiences varies by location. The National Climatic Data Center estimates that Jacksonville, Florida, has an average of 13 freeze-thaw cycles annually, while Denver, Colorado, endures 105 every year! Here’s more about the damage that can be done to siding in parts of the country that experience freeze-thaw cycles.

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement is naturally more brittle than engineered wood siding and other materials, making it more susceptible to breaks or cracks when hit by a high-speed projectile. Cracking and degrading may also occur when water penetrates the substrate, then expands as the temperature falls. Repeated freeze/thaw cycles will cause the cracks to expand, weakening the substrate.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl contracts and expands significantly with the temperature. For this reason, vinyl siding must be loosely installed on a house to allow for movement. The downside is strong winds can cause vinyl siding to chatter and even detach from the structure. Vinyl also becomes very brittle in the cold, making sections of vinyl siding more likely to crack in the winter.

Traditional Wood Siding

Traditional wood siding requires a high level of maintenance to protect it from freeze-thaw damage. Without routine maintenance such as painting and scraping, wood will easily warp, crack and split.

Engineered Wood Siding

Engineered wood siding resists warping, cracking and splitting. Because it is made from a combination of treated wood fiber and industrial-grade binders and resins, LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding can withstand extreme temperatures, high humidity, fungal decay and termites. It is a durable, stable option in areas that experience freeze-thaw cycles.

Learn More About Engineered Siding from LP SmartSide

Find out why builders and remodelers have installed more than nine billion square feet of LP SmartSide Trim & Siding, and why LP is celebrating 20 years of manufacturing excellence in 2017. Find a retailer near you.

Learn more about the benefits of becoming an LP® BuildSmart™ Preferred Contractor.

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Renovation5 min

Tips on Re-Siding in Historic Districts

If you own a home in a historic district, you can forget about replacing the existing siding with vinyl. Most historic districts require replacement siding to closely match the original, hence wood (or engineered wood) and brick. Understanding home building regulations based on historic overlays can help eliminate the headache during renovations, so it’s important to stay in the know before embarking on the project.

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Renovation5 min
Top Four Home Exterior Tips for Fall

With fall just around the corner, it’s time to plan how you will ensure your home’s exterior is ready for the cooler temperatures while also keeping up with the latest seasonal trends. Not sure where to start? We break down the top four home exterior tips for fall for a little inspiration.

Trends6 min
Using the Right Siding for a Ranch Home

Ranch-style home designs are known for low and wide single-story profiles, large picture windows, sliding glass doors and attached front garages. These close-to-the-ground homes were first built in the U.S. in the 1920s, but they didn’t gain widespread popularity until the post-World War II era into the 1970s. As suburbia spread, the ranch-style house became one of America’s favorites. The popularity of ranch-style homes waned in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but it’s making a comeback as younger homebuyers rediscover the ranch’s charm—much like they did with bungalows.

Maintenance4 min
What First-Time Buyers Should Know About Home Maintenance and Storage

Most first-time homebuyers arm themselves with a lot of information about mortgage interest rates and closing costs. What they sometimes overlook are the repair costs prior to moving into previously owned homes and the long-term maintenance costs associated with homeownership.