Cypress is an ideal wood to use for siding because, just like redwood and cedar, it’s naturally rot resistant. So even if you don’t take the time to finish the siding and protect it from the elements, it will will last for many years without a problem. The siding is a warm reddish-amber color and often sought after for its natural appearance. Unfortunately that color will be lost over time if it isn’t properly protected against sunlight. That’s one of the main reasons that cypress siding is so carefully maintained after it’s installed.
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The Benefits of Cypress Siding
Cypress siding is one of the most durable types of wood siding sold today. It’s inherently rot and insect resistant, and it stands up to weathering quite well compared to pine or cedar siding, since Pine wood doesn’t weather well at all and cedar tends to develop defects over time that cypress doesn’t suffer from.
Cypress is a very long-lasting wood when cared for properly. As with any other wood, it has to be painted or stained to keep it in good shape for a long time, but when done so it can last for hundreds of years. There are literally barns and old homes that are falling apart that still have good usable cypress siding on them. Some of these buildings are a few hundred years old and the siding is ready to go onto another home for a second life. That’s the kind of durability and long-lasting protection that you can expect from quality cypress siding.
The Downsides of Cypress Siding
There are plenty of benefits to going with cypress siding, but there are some downsides as well. It’s better to know both sides of the store before you decide on this siding option for your home.
Cypress siding isn’t significantly more expensive than other wood siding options, but it is quite expensive when compared to something like vinyl. You’ll spend quite a bit more money buying cypress to put on your home. This can be a real issue for people looking to protect their home without spending a lot of money. Cypress will surely be more eye-catching, but it’s simply too expensive for people on a budget to rely on.
High Maintenance Requirements
In order to keep cypress siding in good shape, you have to be willing to do some regular maintenance. You’ll have to keep applying sealant to the wood to prevent warping. If you fail to follow standard maintenance policies, you could find yourself paying to replace sections of the siding that simply don’t look as good as they used to.
Suffers from Fading
Over time, cypress siding will fade and can experience some discoloration. This isn’t a huge issue because you will likely stain or paint the wood, but it can cause some sections of your siding to have an uneven look. Not all the wood is going to fade and discolor at the same rate. This is something that you should be aware of, but most homeowners decide that they don’t mind the look too much.
Different Siding Styles
Depending on the final look that you want and the level of weather resistance that you are interested in, you have several cypress siding options to pick from.
Beaded bevel siding has more of an angular look to it because the pieces feature sharp angles at both ends. They are designed to overlap one another and create an attractive, yet slightly uneven look overall. If you want a siding style that stands out a bit more and still has those horizontal seams, beaded bevel is a good option.
Channeled siding has a more weather-tight seal than other options because the pieces are cut with very real grooves so that they almost slide right together with one another. When looking at the siding from the side it almost looks like little chairs sitting on top of one another securely. If you want a nice thick siding style that stands up well to weather and wind, channeled is a good option. It’s also easier to install because the channel design helps hold up the pieces as you go.
Board and Batten
For a different siding look you can go with board and batten cypress siding. It creates a series of vertical seams that really stand out in a world of horizontal seams. The vertical seams create a classy look on homes and many homeowners will mix in some board and batten siding up at the top just to vary the appearance of the siding at the gables while going with a horizontal option around the rest of the home.
The way that board and batten siding works is quite simple. A series of wide cypress boards are installed vertically with small gaps in between each of them. These boards are installed over top of thin horizontal pieces of wood known as furring strips. Once all the boards are put in place, thin pieces of wood known as battens are put in place in between the boards and used to hold them in place. The battens are nailed back into the furring strips and aren’t fastened to the boards in any way. This allows the boards to swell and shrink without causing any issues.
Buying Cypress Siding
When purchasing cypress siding it’s important to look for the right grade of siding and to know what style you want. You want siding that’s #2 grade or better because those options are the most durable. You’ll have to decide if you want Selects or Historic siding. Selects siding is free of most knots and offers mostly nice straight clean pieces that will look uniform and nice. Historic wood tends to be a bit stronger, but it’s made from more heartwood and contains more knots and defects. If you’re the type of person that likes wood siding to show its defects for the added character, historic grade is right for you. Try to see both options before deciding on the one that you want.
Maintaining the Siding
Many people protect cypress siding with a varnish or oil coat that lets the natural wood show through. No matter how you decide to preserve your cypress siding you’ll have to do regular maintenance on it to keep it in top shape.
When cypress siding is preserved with an oil coat it should be applied heavily using a garden sprayer. This coating will likely have to be reapplied on a yearly basis to keep the wood from being affected by the weather and from fading.
Varnishes are a bit more durable than oil coatings and they will provide effective protection to the siding for two or even three years. Just check on your siding regularly to see if it is taking on a chalky appearance. As soon as the siding begins to look chalky is must be sanded down and a new layer of varnish must be applied.
This is the least popular way to preserve cypress siding, but there are some people out there that paint their siding it keep it looking nice and fresh. IF the siding is painted it will likely have to be scraped and sanded down to the base once every six to ten years. From there a new coating of paint must be applied. As soon as you notice the paint peeling and blistering it’s time to put on a new coating to protect the siding.
Cypress siding is one of the best ways to protect your home if you plan on living there for decades to come. It holds up well and offers reliable performance without a ridiculous level of maintenance to keep it going. That being said, it isn’t for everyone. Only those with a budget big enough for quality wood siding should consider cypress, but if you can afford the option it’s one that will be with you for the life of your home in most instances.