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Wood Siding: Types, Pros & Cons, Styles, Maintenance & More

Wood is a popular type of siding material for those that truly do not believe that the mimicking styles do justice to the look. While you can get things such as vinyl siding or fiber cement siding that both do a great job at looking like wood, it’s simply not the same.

Wood siding is naturally an extremely attractive material to put on someone’s one house to help protect it against the outside elements, the same way that your roofing does. It’s a material that has a premium look, feel and price tag tog it and we hope that this article will help you in finding out everything there is to know about the material.

It comes in a range of different styles as well as different types of wood that you can choose from. It also has certain maintenance requirements that you need to know about, or you will soon find your siding looking aged in a lot less time than you want it to. Improper maintenance, especially with wood, will lead to premature deterioration. That is no matter if you use it outside for the siding, roofing, decking or the patio.

Wood has a timeless, classic feel that would make a great addition to your home. Some of the different wooden materials are better at withstanding decay and therefore become perfect candidates for your home remodeling project.

Pros and Cons When Choosing Wood Siding

Besides being a beautiful material that looks very upscale, the material has other advantages such as the following:

Pros

Ease of Installation

It’s one of the easier materials to install on your home. Other things such as fiber cement may end up cracking if handled improperly, but that’s not as likely to happen with wood, and its production processes means it’s a material that can be installed by a skilled DIY person with carpentry skills or a professional¬†handyman. Before you hire a carpenter or handyman for the project, do make sure that a specific siding license is not required in your state.

Won’t Crack the Same Way Other Materials Do

It won’t crack as easily and has great impact resistance. Brick will chip, and vinyl and fiber cement may crack upon impact while metal roofs and siding may dent. Wood is a more dynamic material that keeps on reacting with its surroundings and dents may therefore become less obvious.

It’s Simply Beautiful

It “wood” be a shame not to mention its beauty again as a pro since the aesthetic appeal is likely the main reason why homeowners choose this material.

Easy to Cut

One of the reasons why it’s so easy to install is also because it’s relatively easy to cut in comparison to other materials. Fiber cement will spew a lot of dust if it’s not being cut correctly and that’s one of the nuisances of that material.

Ease of Replacement

The same way that it’s easy to install in the first place makes it easy to replace if a panel gets damaged in one way or another, making repairs and replacements pretty cheap in comparison to other materials.

Green Option

If you’re looking for ways to go green, and you’re a person that prides yourself on recycling as much as possible, choosing wood can be a really good, green and sustainable siding option, especially if you go with recycled wood.

It’s also considered more eco-friendly since it won’t take nearly as long for it to degrade once it does end up in the landfill. That

Lots of Colors and Styles Available

Wood is easy to paint no matter if you’re getting a professional house painter to do it or you choose to spend the weekend working on it yourself. You can either paint or stain it according to your desires, meaning you can get the color or finish that you desire.

Cons

With that being said, it also has some drawbacks that you should be aware of that could potentially make you consider other types of material instead.

It’s not that Cheap

Wood is not a cheap option to go with, and especially not if you’re choosing a more premium type of material. In comparison, you can get premium types of vinyl instead that will cost roughly the same but without some of the other drawbacks.

It Requires a Fair Bit of Maintenance

Stucco, masonry and vinyl are other options with significantly less needed maintenance than do types of wood. The paint or stain is the main type of protecting layer that the material has and it needs that protection to keep it from rotting, warping or cracking.

Insects Love it

Termites and other types of insects love wood and that is a big drawback with this type of material. While it may look great, if you live in an area that has a lot of these pests, it could be the deciding factor in not going with this type of material. Boring beetles and wasps are other insects that may choose to invade your siding.

Water Damage is a Risk

The same way hardwood floors can suffer from water damage, so can wood siding. Again, the paint and staining can significantly help in keeping this from happening, however it is incredibly important that sufficient roof vents are installed along with other measures protecting against excessive moisture buildup.

Make Sure That You Factor in the Possibility of Unforeseen Costs

Estimating the cost of maintenance of other types of siding will end up being a little bit easier than is the case with wood, and you should be sure that you factor this into the whole equation when you’re considering buying it.

Choosing the Right Type of Wood Siding

Contemporary building with wooden siding

There are different types of wood that can be used for siding, each one of them has their own advantages and disadvantages that you should be sure to read up on. It’s also always a good idea to ask for the recommendations of your local siding contractors to make sure that you make the material decision that works best given your projects specifications.

Some types of material may be especially difficult to get in your area, be expensive for you, or predictably end up causing delays. Your local contractors are aware of the limitations since your project isn’t the first one that they’re working on. Local climate conditions may also end up meaning that one option is especially bad in your given region.

Factors You Should Consider When Choosing the Planks for Your Project

Insect-Resistance

It’s just one of the factors you should be aware of, especially if you live in a forest.

No splits or Other Problems in the Planks That You’re Buying

You should visually inspect the individual planks you’re getting, assuming they’re coming from a local hardware store so that you can make sure that there aren’t any of the things known to cause problems with the material, such as splits.

Flat and Straight Planks

Since you’re dealing with a natural type of material, these vulnerabilities are the first to end up warping, if you don’t get the planks that are straight to start off with.

Good Rot-Resistance

Some types of wood are simply better at keeping rot at bay.

Types of Wood Siding

Pine

Yellow pine is commonly used for construction framing and white pine is used for siding and other finishing purposes. The yellow version is stronger than the white option, and it’s also not as good at accepting stain and paint, which is required when it’s the outer layer of your home.

The planks will often have knots and you should make sure to inspect the boards to find the ones that seem the least likely to split. Paint or stain is very needed with this type of siding to add protection against insects and rot.

Cedar

Cedar is a great option to go with if you live in an area that has a good amount of moisture since it will resist water better than other types of wood will, and it is still an option that is within the budget of homeowners that choose to go with wood siding.

It’s comparatively not likely to swell, split or cup, which helps make it an attractive option to consider. It comes available in different grades and colors, which helps determine the price you pay for the material.

Redwood

Redwood is another great option to consider when water is a concern. It does generally cost somewhere between $8-20 per square foot. It helps in adding elegance to any structure that it is added to. It’s also tough and long-lasting to which are features you are looking for in a siding material. It fares better than most types of wood when it comes to insects, and it’s pretty stable in comparison too, meaning it won’t expand or contract as much as some of the alternatives.

Its lightweight features makes it a relatively easy option to install, although it is obviously not the cheapest material you can go with. The people that go with this type of material will be glad because it has really long boards available that can look beautiful when installed because there are significantly fewer seams than other options available.

it accepts stain and other finishes very effectively and it’s a little less likely to warp than other types of wood. It should be cleaned and sealed according to the recommendations of the manufacturer.

Cypress

A lot of the cypress that goes on houses as siding is in fact salvaged from old homes, which helps make the whole process a lot more sustainable. It’s a highly desired type of hardwood that will compliment the different aspects of your house.

In comparison to other comparable materials, it’s lightweight, rot-resistant and is pretty good with not getting infected by insects either. It’s not cheap, which you should keep in mind.

Fir

Fir is a popular softwood that can be purchased as longer boards for homeowners desiring only a limited amount of seems. Resin and sap are the things that often cause problems in cutting it, and fir doesn’t have much of it, making it an easy option to cut.

Homeowners often choose to paint this material as it provides more protection, which can be a good idea given that it is not naturally very good at protecting your home against rot and insects. It also means that an inspection needs to be done more regularly.

Since it absorbs more moisture, it is especially important to be wary of the quality to limit the amount of warping that will naturally happen as a consequence.

Spruce

It is a lot like pine since it is in the same tree family, and it’s a softwood that can be turned into the style that you desire. The same as with fir, it does have the issue that it isn’t good in terms of protecting against moisture and insects and will therefore also need careful and regular inspection.

It also comes in different grades.

Charred Wood/CharWood/Burnt Wood Siding

You can also get charred wood siding, which is commonly called burnt wood siding or CharWood. Its Japanese name is Shou Sugi Ban. By actually using this finish, you’re creating a more weather-resistant surface which helps in making the material more durable. It’s very unique and unlike other types of material on the market. It comes in both different grades, lengths and styles depending on your preferences.

Engineered Wood

Unlike the above mentioned materials, engineered wood is not grown but manufactured. It’s an artificial product made up of composite wood and fibers. Given the ingredients and the way it’s made, it’s easier to get a more uniform look. It’s also cheaper than other types of wood siding.

When you want to make sure that your siding of choice is a green option, you should look into the specific production processes related to the engineered wood siding that you’re considering using. Do that to make sure that it’s recycled wood that’s going into the process rather than newly grown wood. There’s so much wood available out there, and reusing some that would otherwise end up in the landfill is simply the right choice.

Hardwood is obviously an expensive option to put on your home, so the engineered wood is very inexpensive in comparison. If you want a smoother look, this is also a better option to go with. Where it is difficult to use small pieces of wood meaningfully to make siding panels, these pieces that would otherwise get wasted can go into the production of engineered wood.

When you think of the natural charm of wood siding, they tend to not think of the engineered option so if charm is important for you, there are better options than this one. It will also have different things added to it which will help it better resist insect infestations and rotting.

Consider reading our article on T1-11 siding too.

Maintaining Wood Siding

As you have realized by now, wood isn’t the type of siding that requires the least amount of maintenance. Painting or staining it is important to ensure adequate protection, especially if you have a type that isn’t good at naturally keeping rot and insects away.

You can choose to get something that comes with a factory finish, which traditionally lasts longer than having it painted or stained when it’s been installed. It’s not the cheaper option, though. You will need to make sure it hasn’t just been primed but also stained or painted. Priming in itself won’t do much.

Besides that, you can generally expect that stains should be reapplied every 2 to 3 years depending on the type you’re going with. Clearer ones have to be applied more often, while paint, which is a bit more permanent, can be applied every 4 to 5 years, depending on the wear patterns. When you have once painted the siding, it will be hard to go back to staining it, and staining will bring out more of the traditional charm associated with wood.

The paint or stain helps keep the material water and weather-proof, but a moisture-barrier is also crucial to have installed underneath the material to keep potential moisture from getting further into the house. Joints and knotholes are places that are especially vulnerable that should be checked upon as they are more likely to cause problems and don’t necessarily soak up the stain or paint as well as other parts.

Good maintenance is important if you want to keep your siding looking beautiful for 20 to 30 years.

Different Styles Available

Wood siding can be cut in many different styles to provide the look that best suits what it is that you’re trying to achieve. While lap siding may the most traditional one, other styles may provide more uniqueness to your home.

Lap

wooden lap siding

No matter what type of siding material you go with, lap siding is by far the most common style to go with, and it’s also the case when you choose wood. It’s also by far the easiest option to install. Other names that it goes under includes bevel or clapboard. It’s durable, easy to install and will also be easier to maintain. The boards will overlap slightly, hence the name. The individual panels are sawed triangularly so one end is relatively thin, and the other end is thicker.

Because of the layout, it’s probably also the most water-resistant style since there are fewer seems and edges which is often where the water tends to make its way in through. The overlap between the different boards is determined together with the contractor, although some of these may recommended overlap suggestions given the way that they were cut. As is obvious, when there’s more overlap, you will need more material but it also means that you get a sturdier build.

Make sure that the caulking is doing its job and that it keeps providing a water-tight seal.

Shingles and Shakes

Shingles and shakes are very similar, but shakes are thicker than shakes and that naturally means they’re also a lot more durable. They can be made more or less uniform in the way they’re produced which is what adds to their charm. They come in different lengths.

Since they’re installed on top of each other, on top of the sheathing behind, you work your way upwards during the installation process. The typical length is between 16 and 24 inches.

They’re sometimes regulated by your local building codes, and are likely treated with fire-retardant chemicals to lessen the risk of fires happening that could be devastating.

Shingles are sometimes made more smooth and consistent than shakes are. Either of the two are often used for historical buildings that could have limitations in terms of materials. Different types of wood can be used for both shingles and shakes depending on the desired look.

Drop Channel

Drop channel cut

The drop channel is cut in a way that allows it to be installed in different fashions, including both vertically and diagonally. It’s a good type of cut for wood that expands more since enough room is allowed for this process. Since it’s still wood, it needs the sealing and painting required for other types of wood too.

Tongue and Groove

Tongue and groove also directly relates to the cut of the siding, and it too can be installed in the direction you wish as well as the desired smoothness. It’s most commonly done with either pine or other types of clear wood.

When the interlocking mechanism joins, the siding is very smooth yet sturdy. The different boards tie in throughout the length of the planks making it a strong interlocking mechanism.

Split Logs

This style, the split logs, commonly go on cabins in the wood and helps in establishing an unparalleled coziness. They’re typically custom made from oak, cedar or cypress. Split logs are traditionally made form wood, but they can also be made from wood-imitating materials.

They traditionally go through a drying process that will make them less likely to shrink and warp afterwards.

Board and Batten

This style often goes on farm buildings and barns giving it their traditional look. It’s a vertical installation with major boards being overlapped by smaller ones, the batten, together they create the look known as board and batten. They have an even amount of spacing in between them and it gives good room for expansion of the wide boards too. If you want to create a less uniform look, that can be done by using boards of different widths.

Metal Siding That Looks Like Wood

While this article was technically supposed to be about wood siding, there are also metal options such as TruCedar that looks a lot like wood without actually being it. In fact, it’s made of steel. By adding a zinc coating to it, it becomes even stronger than traditional steel siding.

If you’re ready to have siding installed on your home, we’re ready to help connect you with the most relevant wood siding contractors in your area.