This year, LP celebrates 20 years of success by looking back at the very unique story that is the LP® SmartSide® brand, as told by the people who know it best.
Rain comes before the rainbow, and such has been the case with LP SmartSide siding. The current success of LP SmartSide engineered wood siding options began with a lawsuit against a prior exterior wood siding product known as Louisiana-Pacific Inner-Seal® siding. In what was one of the largest class-action lawsuits in the history of the siding industry, LP paid out more than 129,000 claims – but failure didn’t sit well with the LP team.
“Some courageous business people decided rather than abandoning the siding product line, they wanted to re-engineer it,” explains Brad Southern, Chief Executive Officer of LP Siding. “We went back in, we added the zinc borate, we added MDI resin and the phenolic overlay, and really recreated the product. It’s nothing like the Inner-Seal product that had all the quality problems.”
Mike Sims, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing, notes the extensive preparation that preceded the launch of the LP SmartSide siding line in 1997. This included a significant investment in third-party scientific testing to ensure the product would perform as intended. “We wanted to make sure it could fulfill the promise we’re making out in the field,” says Sims.
Over the next 10 years, LP sold approximately three billion square feet of LP SmartSide siding with an industry-leading low claims rate. The success of the LP SmartSide product line surprised even some of its earliest supporters. “I didn’t really think SmartSide would be what it is today,” says Dave Ritter, Director of Quality and Technology for the siding segment. “It was only until 2005 or 2006, when we kicked in the new marketing plans and segment marketing initiatives, that we really saw the traction.”
“I attribute success of LP SmartSide to a couple of key things,” says Ben Skoog, Vice President of Growth and Innovation. “First, you start with a great product. When you look at all the features, attributes and performance of LP SmartSide siding, it’s no wonder that once folks try LP SmartSide, they like it. Not only do we have a great product, but we’ve also got folks who can take it out to the market and make sure that people are aware of how great that product is.”
“We’ve watched this product grow significantly, year over year,” says Greg Harrison, Vice President of Siding Manufacturing. “It’s only because the customers love using it. They like the value they get from the product and they like the way it looks.”
A Product to Be Proud Of
Thanks to the durability and excellent long-term performance of the brand, LP employees are proud to associate themselves with LP SmartSide products. “We all go out there empowered to promote a product that we know is going to perform and is going to stand up, and we’re very proud of that” says Chemeka Dabney, Brand Marketing Associate.
“There are a couple of things I really enjoy about selling SmartSide products,” explains David Pearson, General Sales Manager for the South Central Region. “One, it’s a great product and over the years, we’ve been able to continue to grow it. Second, the great people at LP make it really easy to sell.”
LP’s confidence in its products is backed by a 50-year prorated Limited Warranty that includes a five-year, 100% labor and material replacement feature. Hail damage is also included in the warranty.
A Customer’s Perspective
“When we found SmartSide siding and trim by LP, we decided we would give it a try on our homes. We started using this product, and we have exclusively used SmartSide siding on our homes since,” says Bill Kimberley of Kimberley Development Corporation, a builder of single-family and multi-family homes in greater Des Moines, Iowa. Kimberley notes that his company has not had any of the callbacks or problems that they dealt with when using fiber cement siding. “SmartSide is the only siding we will put on our homes, and I would recommend it to anybody building a new home.”
Before installing LP SmartSide products, the owners of The Home Company, a custom home builder in Omaha, Nebraska, visited an LP manufacturing facility to see for themselves how the products are made and determine if it met their quality standards. “We’ve made a conscious effort to select products that offer the longevity that people deserve,” explains co-owner Nick Dolphins. “We chose LP SmartSide siding for all Home Company homes because of its value, its impact resistance and all the qualities we look for in all of our products.”
The Future Is Looking Bright
Today, over 10 billion square feet of LP SmartSide siding have been sold, making it one of the fastest-growing siding brands in the U.S.
“As we go forward with SmartSide, I see growth in a lot of new markets, and continued growth in existing markets,” says Ritter. “It’s the perfect product.”
“We know we make the best siding product on the market,” says Southern. “When you have a great product, and you couple it with a great sales force, a great marketing team and a great operation team, how could you possible have anything other than the biggest market share in siding?”
Happy 20th birthday, LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding! The future is looking bright.