Wood siding has always been the most popular choice for siding in the United States and Canada. There are a few species and grades that are used for most applications, whether the siding is vertical, like board and batten, or horizontal, like clapboards, shakes, and shingles.
A builder or installer in the area knows which species are easy to find in the local market. If you want wood that comes from far away, isn’t cut down often, or isn’t right for your area, you could slow down a project and make it much more expensive.
Ask about rot resistance, splitting, checking, and cupping before you choose a siding material. As a general rule, you should buy the best siding you can afford. Look for wood with clear grains as much as possible, and make sure the wood gets used to its new environment, is properly sealed, and is well protected before installation.
What is Wood Siding?
Wood siding refers to the exterior covering or cladding of a building made from various types of wood. It is a popular choice for both traditional and contemporary architectural designs due to its natural aesthetic appeal and versatility. Wood siding can be crafted from different species of wood, such as cedar, pine, redwood, or cypress, each offering unique characteristics and durability.
This type of siding provides insulation, and protection from the elements, and adds a timeless charm to the overall appearance of a structure. It can be installed in various styles, including clapboard, shingle, board and batten, or log siding, allowing for diverse design options to suit individual preferences and architectural styles. Proper maintenance, including regular staining or painting, is essential to preserve the wood’s integrity and extend its lifespan.
Why Do You Choose Wood Siding?
Wood is a popular choice for siding on traditional homes like cottages, bungalows, and Cape Cods because it is natural, beautiful, and strong.
The cost can vary a lot depending on the type and style, but it can be a cheap choice for a house’s siding because it will last as long as it is regularly maintained to keep its strength and the rich look of the wood.
This guide gives an overview of the most common styles, then lists the most common types of wood used in North America, along with an estimate of how much they cost and how much care they need. Usually, you can order each style with either a smooth cut or a rough cut. Wood siding is a traditional choice that needs some upkeep.
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Wood Siding Material Types
Pine and Cedar Siding
Pine and cedar are the two main wood species used for exterior siding. Cedar types include eastern white cedar, red cedar, and Alaskan yellow cedar; each type has a colour true to its name. Pine siding can be very cheap, but it doesn’t stand up to rot and insects, as well as cedar, does. Cedar is also less likely to get bigger or smaller, crack or warp as pine does.
Wood Fiber Cement Siding
The wood fibres that are used to make fibre cement siding come from real wood. Portland cement, sand, and water are mixed with these fibres. Then it is shaped so that it looks and feels like real wood.
Clapboards made of wood flakes and resin, like oriented strand board, come in 16-foot lengths with a primer that was put on at the factory to reduce the number of joints.
“T1-11” plywood panels are 4×8 and can be put upright on top of wood framing, so there’s no need for exterior sheathing. Most of the time, the outside of these plywood panels is rough-sawn and channel-rustic, and the edges are lapped to hide the seams between panels.
All cedar siding is made of wood. It can be left to naturally weather or painted or stained. Cedar siding can be made from either the less expensive white woodgrain section or the more expensive, dense heartwood section. If you don’t paint or stain cedar, it turns a silvery-grey colour over time.
Redwood has a deep grain and a deep red colour. It is mostly sold in the western part of the U.S. While cedar changes colour quickly as it ages, redwood stays red and even gets darker at first. Redwood, on the other hand, will turn grey over time, like driftwood.
Fir Siding on a House
Fir is a very popular choice. This is a real softwood from the West, and it comes in longer boards. This wood is easy to cut because it doesn’t have much sap or resin that sticks to saw blades. This makes it a popular choice for sidings like tongue-and-groove that need more milling. Fir siding has a smooth grain that is easy to paint or stain. Most people paint fir, but the grain looks good when it is stained.
Fir is not naturally resistant to either insects or rotting. So, it needs to be taken care of regularly to make sure it doesn’t soak up water or become a home for pests. To keep its shape, it needs to be sealed with paint or stain. The amount of warping, cupping, and shrinkage depends on how well the wood is made. This softwood will warp when it gets wet, unlike redwood and cedar.
Charred wood, which is also called “burnt wood” or “Shou Sugi Ban,” is one of the most popular types of wood siding. In the charring process, a wood plank is held over an open flame to make a light char on its surface without making it weaker. This char keeps the plank from getting wet and keeps bugs away, which is important for both new and old homes.
This softwood comes from the same family as pine and is often sold in East Coast markets as a pine substitute. It is longer than pine and has many of the same qualities. Usually, it is used for siding, especially clapboards. Again, since it is not a naturally rot-resistant wood, it is important to maintain and seal it regularly.
Engineered wood is just lumber that was made by people. This type of wood is made to be as strong and durable as possible while still looking like real wood. Depending on the brand, engineered wood can be made of a mix of different materials.
As a hardwood, cypress is a very durable and popular choice for siding because it lasts a long time. It’s great for many kinds of wood siding projects because it’s reliable and doesn’t cost much to keep up. It has been known to last for hundreds of years. But some kinds may have a bad smell and can make people with certain lung diseases feel worse.
Even though some people might not know what ashwood is, they have probably used it at some point. Ashwood has been used for a long time to make garden tools like rakes and shovels, as well as high-quality furniture.
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Different Styles of Wood Siding
Tongue and Groove
Tongue and groove planks are made so that one edge has a groove and the other edge has a tongue that fits into the groove. It makes a strong, tight joint when put together. If your hardwood floors are older, they likely have tongue and groove joinery. You can put tongue and groove siding in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal pattern.
Lap Wood Siding
Lap siding is a traditional way to cover a house that dates back to the early days of the United States. It is also called bevel siding or clapboard siding. It is still used because it looks good and lasts a long time.
For lap siding, you cut a board lengthwise into a small pie shape. This makes the length of the board have a narrow edge on one side and a wide edge on the other. The contractor will start by putting the first board at the bottom of the wall. He or she will then overlap the boards. The word “lap siding” comes from the way these boards overlap. This type of siding does a good job of keeping water away because it doesn’t have any edges that could hold water.
Shakes and shingles are alike. But because they are cut with a saw instead of a knife, they are smooth and have clean edges. This makes them easier for people to put up on their own.
Most real wood shingles are made of cedar, which can make them pricey. Their uniform shape makes it easier to make them out of materials like vinyl or fibre cement that last longer and are easier to take care of.
Split log siding is made from planks cut from whole logs. This gives the outside of the house the look of a log cabin. It would only work in a rustic, mountain-style home because of its unique, natural look. It can’t be painted like some other types of siding.
Since it’s easier to move and put up than real logs, split-log siding gives the look of a log cabin for much less money.
A cheap way to side a house is with 8-foot-tall by 4-foot-wide wood panels. Wood panels go up quickly because of how big they are.
Engineered wood and plywood are used to make wood panels. The look of large-format panels is simple, functional, and utilitarian. Large panels can make a home look better, though, if they are stained or painted in the right way.
Traditional wood has a nice look, but it doesn’t last as long as other materials because it naturally breaks down. It can be hurt by moisture and termites, which can cause it to rot and warp. It also needs to be painted or stained often.
One of the most common types of wood siding for cabins is the drop channel. It’s a versatile style that can be installed vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, and it’s made to create an overlap that shows the sculpting without having a ledge where water can gather. Drop channels are good because they give the wood plenty of room to grow and shrink. It’s about the same as other styles when it comes to maintenance.
By laying or lapping part of a top board over a lower board, shiplap siding makes a weatherproof seal. This fit is tight enough to keep rain, snow, and wind out, but it’s also flexible enough to let the house siding grow and shrink.
For shiplap siding, the best kinds of wood are fibre cement, engineered wood, spruce, and fir. Shiplap gives any house a classic, timeless, and cute look.
Board and Batten
Another old style that is still popular with homeowners today is board and batten. It is often used to cover the outside of barns and other farm buildings.
Board and batten is a type of siding with wide strips of wood and thin strips of wood in between. Most of the time, the wide board strips are about one foot wide, and the battens are about half an inch wide. This style is put up vertically, with wide boards spaced evenly apart and battens nailed over the gaps. Thin strips of wood are used as battens.
Shakes look like shingles, but they are much thicker and stronger. Handsaws are sometimes used to cut them from bolts or blocks of wood. Shake siding is attractive because the shakes are not all the same thickness.
Most shake is made of cedar, but it can also be made of fibre cement or engineered wood. Wood shakes can hold too much moisture, so fibre cement shakes are a better way to keep moisture out.
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Upgrade Your Home’s Exterior With the Natural Beauty of Wood Siding Panels
Your home’s siding is one of the many things that work together to give a good first impression of the outside of your home. Wood panels are the best way to add natural beauty to the outside of your house. But they have other benefits, too, like being easy to paint or stain and good for the environment. When it comes to the outside of your house, wood siding panels are a strong choice that will last if you take care of them.
Also, you can choose from different types of wood, like cedar siding, as well as different styles, like lap, board and batten, and more, so you can make it look the way you want it to. If you want to replace or improve the outside of your home, wood sheet siding is an investment that will make your home look better and raise its value.
What Maintenance is Required?
How often you have to take care of your wood siding will depend on the material you choose and how it was put up. But it’s important to remember that all wood siding needs some kind of regular care to keep it in good shape. Even though factory finishes are made to last longer, they may cost more. Pieces that have been primed at the factory are a good compromise because they only need to be painted or stained afterwards. Stain usually needs to be reapplied every two to three years, while paint can last up to five years.
Other Siding Options to Consider
When it comes to siding, wood can be a great choice. But it doesn’t always work for everyone, and there are other options as well. Let’s look at what these things are.
- Vinyl Siding – Your shed looks much better with vinyl siding on it. It lasts a very long time and doesn’t need much maintenance at all. Vinyl comes in a wide range of colours, so it should be easy for people to match it to the siding on their homes. The best part is that vinyl is easy to put up, which is great for people who are building their own sheds.
- Metal Siding – Metal siding is one of the most long-lasting options out there. It works better than vinyl in many ways because it can stand up to any weather. It also uses a very small amount of energy. Metal is resistant to warping, chipping, and fading, so it is easy to take care of. Most of the time, all you will need to do to keep it clean is give it a good rinse with the hose.
- LP Siding – LP siding might be the best choice for your shed if you like the look of traditional wood siding but want it to last longer. It makes it look nice and clean, and unlike other materials, it keeps the inside of the shed much cooler. It is easy to put up and may be less expensive than other types of siding.
Wood Siding Pros and Cons
Real wood is an option for siding that looks more rustic because it has real wood grains. It’s a classic style that probably will never go out of style, especially if you’re building a cottage, bungalow, or Cape Cod house. Here are some good things about wood siding and some bad things about it.
- Not affected by big temperature changes.
- Biodegradable and harvested in a sustainable way.
- There are many different sizes and styles of planks to choose from.
- It looks like it is made of real wood.
- You can burn it to make shou sugi siding.
- termites and other pests that eat wood can get in.
- Requires more frequent, time-consuming maintenance.
- When the humidity changes, it tends to warp and bend.
- Installation is more difficult.
- More expensive at $2–$6 per square foot.
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Wood siding remains a top choice for homeowners looking to elevate the aesthetics and durability of their homes. Its natural appeal, versatility, and sustainable qualities make it an attractive option for both traditional and modern architectural styles. By understanding the various types of wood siding, installation methods, maintenance tips, and the impact they can have on your home’s value, you can confidently choose wood siding as a long-lasting and visually appealing solution for your exterior needs. Embrace the charm of wood siding and enjoy a beautiful, durable, and eco-friendly home.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Wood Siding
What is wood siding called?
Siding is a building material that is put on the outside of a building to protect it from damage. It is also called wood cladding.
What type of wood is best for exterior siding?
The most common types of wood used for siding are pine and cedar. There are different kinds of cedar, such as eastern white cedar, red cedar, and Alaskan yellow cedar. Each type is the colour that its name suggests. Pine siding can be very cheap, but it doesn’t stand up to rot and insects, as well as cedar, does.
Is wood cheaper than vinyl siding?
Wood siding, on the other hand, usually costs more than vinyl siding. Wood siding costs $2 to $6 per square foot on average, while vinyl siding only costs $2 to $3 per square foot.
What are the disadvantages of wood siding?
Taking care of wood siding can be expensive and time-consuming. Some styles need to be stained at least every two to three years to prevent damage from moisture, and wood siding should be painted every four to five years. Termites like to eat wood.
How Does Wood Compare To Vinyl Siding?
The 2019 census says that wood siding is one of the most sustainable ways to cover the outside of a house, while vinyl siding is one of the least sustainable. So why does vinyl make up most of the market? It comes down to how much it costs. It costs $12,455 to put cedar clapboard on the sides of a 45-by-20-foot ranch-style house. Vinyl siding costs about $7,000, which is about half of that.
Can barn wood siding be used for exterior projects?
Yes, old barn siding has been used to cover the outside of barns for a long time. When the material is put up correctly, it can still be a great exterior product for a new building.
How long does wood siding last?
Wood siding can last for at least 40 years, but it needs a lot more care than vinyl siding. Especially if you use softwood, which can get rot or be attacked by termites.
Does wood siding attract more bugs?
Pests can do a lot of damage to wood siding, which can lead to leaks and structural problems in your home. Termites and powderpost beetles are attracted to wood because it is a food source, and they can keep eating away at your wood for years before you notice the damage.
Why is wood siding the best?
Wood siding, on the other hand, is a much better choice because it is not as fragile. Even though fibre cement material and brick or stone veneer may be more durable than wood, they are often not meant to cover the whole outside of a building.
What is the cheapest siding for a house?
Almost always, vinyl siding is the least expensive way to cover your house. Vinyl siding can be found for as little as $2 per square foot. Obviously, you’ll be looking at the siding on your house for a long time, so it’s important to weigh the cost against how much you like looking at the material.