The Powerful Force That Damages Siding in Winter & What You Can Do About It
by Amy Lindholm, January 11, 2018
Most siding materials perform well in optimal conditions, but the true test comes when strong winds blow and temperatures fluctuate above and below freezing. This subtle force of nature, known as the freeze-thaw cycle, can be as damaging to siding as sun, wind and hail.
What Is the Freeze-Thaw Cycle?
The freeze-thaw cycle is a powerful weathering agent. For example, if water seeps into a small crack in a rock and freezes overnight, the water will expand nearly 10%. The expansion makes the crack larger, making room for more water. The next time the temperature falls below freezing, water freezes and the crack expands further. This cycle continues until, over time, large rocks are broken into small fragments.
This same powerful cycle can affect siding materials that absorb water, such as fiber cement. Water penetrates the siding and remains in the substrate. When it freezes, the water expands and creates extreme pressure within the material. As 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.
LP® SmartSide® Siding Resists Water Infiltration
Engineered wood siding from LP is a great solution for contractors who are building in cold climates. LP® SmartSide® trim and siding are wood-based products that resist cracking, warping and splitting. These products are manufactured from an innovative combination of wood fibers or strands, water-resistant resins and industrial-grade binders. The result is a material that resists water infiltration and can withstand high humidity, extreme temperatures, fungal decay and termites.
A Reliable Option for Cold-Weather Siding Installation
Just as not all siding can stand up to freeze-thaw cycles, not all siding can be installed when it’s cold outside. Siding installed in very cold weather will expand slightly when temperatures rise, which often causes issues with joints and corners, and around windows. Vinyl siding in particular becomes brittle and is prone to cracking when installed in cold temperatures. Thanks to their advanced durability and stability, LP SmartSide siding products can be installed in low temperatures without fear of cracking or extreme expansion.
Start Using SmartSide® Products
If you are a siding contractor, we’re confident you will love the outstanding workability of our LP SmartSide products, and your customers will love the exceptional durability and beautiful curb appeal. To learn more or to purchase LP products, find dealers near you.