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Business Advice7 min

Not All Siding Is Created Equal

If you are in the process of selecting the right siding type for your project, it is important to know the differences between the substrates. 

Engineered wood siding is made by combining treated wood strands and adhesive resins. The resulting product is a compositing material stronger than traditional wood. LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding products are made with a proprietary process that offers superior protection against hail, wind, moisture, fungal decay and termites – delivering Advanced Durability For Longer Lasting Beauty®

Engineered Wood Siding vs. Traditional Wood Siding 

Similarities:                                                                                                                                                                            Since engineered wood siding is made from real wood, it has the authentic look of traditional wood, which is typically made from cedar or redwood. Like engineered wood siding, traditional wood comes in both horizontal and vertical profiles, traditional shakes and shingles. Where engineered wood can be painted any color or purchased pre-finished, traditional wood can also be treated with an oil or stain in addition to being painted.

Key Difference:                                                                                                                                                                Traditional wood siding carries with it more required upkeep to avoid or postpone rot, decay and warping, and it is susceptible to termites. On the contrary, LP SmartSide engineered wood siding is treated with zinc borate during the manufacturing process, which has been tested and proven to effectively resist damage from termites and fungal decay for decades. It is also treated to resist moisture and provide incredible strength against impact. 

Pricing:                                                                                                                                                                                        Pricing will vary by market and by project, but traditional wood siding may cost more to purchase and install than engineered wood siding. Additionally, the maintenance required by traditional wood can add to the lifetime cost of the install. 

Engineered Wood Siding vs. Vinyl Siding

Similarities:                                                                                                                                                                               Over the years, vinyl siding has advanced its technology and now requires relatively low maintenance for upkeep. Like engineered wood siding, vinyl siding resists rot, termites and fungal decay. 

Key Differences:                                                                                                                                                            Appearance is the key difference between engineered wood siding and vinyl siding products. Engineered wood is thicker and stronger than vinyl, lending it to be more durable than plastic-based vinyl siding. The thickness enables engineered wood siding to be much more durable to impacts. Engineered wood siding carries the appearance of real wood, whereas vinyl siding may have a shallower texture and a less realistic wood look. 

Pricing:                                                                                                                                                                                In general, vinyl siding is less expensive to purchase and install compared to engineered wood siding. However, susceptibility to freeze/thaw cycles, extreme heat and impact can cause cracks, breakage or damage that must be repaired, adding to the overall cost to maintain vinyl siding. If damaged vinyl siding is not repaired, further costly damage to the siding and the sheathing underneath can occur.

Engineered Wood Siding vs. Fiber Cement Siding

Similarities:                                                                                                                                                                              Like engineered wood, fiber cement siding is also superior to traditional wood siding in the areas of aesthetics and durability.

Key Differences:                                                                                                                                                              Engineered wood siding surpasses fiber cement siding in areas of workability and durability. Because engineered wood works and cuts like traditional wood, it requires no special or additional tools, and its lighter weight can make engineered wood siding easier to carry. Longer lengths (up to 16’ for engineered wood compared to typical 12’ lengths of fiber cement) means engineered wood can eliminate some of the time-consuming seams during installation. The durability of engineered wood siding lends itself to less breakage and subsequent waste on the jobsite plus stronger resistance to impact after install.  

Pricing:                                                                                                                                                                            Depending on the market, pricing fluctuates but engineered wood and fiber cement siding options are generally comparable at point of purchase. The lasting durability of engineered wood siding can extend its longevity compared to fiber cement siding, which may require repairs for damage, breakage and efflorescence. 

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