What is Engineered Wood Siding?
Engineered wood siding is a manufactured siding that is made up of composite wood. Composite wood is mixed with different fibers and strands of various woods to create the finished product. Engineered wood siding is typically available in 4 foot by 8 foot sheets or lap panels, as well as in smooth or embossed textures. Engineered wood siding is relatively inexpensive–$1.50 to $3.00 per square foot. You can expect your engineered wood siding to last between 20 to 30 years.
How Does Engineered Wood Siding Compare to the Real Thing?
Engineered wood products are designed to provide the look of wood while eliminating flaws, resisting deterioration, and being more cost effective to install and maintain. Manufacturers of engineered wood siding claim that the product is superior to real wood in the following ways:
- Strength: Engineered wood siding is made up of wood strands that are coated with a resin binder and compressed to create a board of superior strength, making your siding more durable when it comes to standing up to inclement weather.
- Moisture, Rot, and Pest-Free: Engineered wood siding is treated to protect against termites and rot. It is also coated with a moisture-resistant overlay that creates a cedar-grain pattern for an authentic wood appearance while providing superior protection against moisture.
- Ease of Installation: Engineered wood siding is easier and less costly to install than real wood siding. It is lighter in weight than wood and features advances that make installation easier. For instance, engineered wood siding can be purchased pre-primed, ready to paint, or pre-finished in any number of finish options, which reduces the field and labor time once installed.
Benefits of Engineered Wood Siding
Versatility: Once you choose engineered wood siding for your home, you still have a wealth of options to customize your siding to the aesthetic you are trying to achieve with your home. Engineered wood siding is available in a variety of colors and design options, including textures that convincingly mimic cedar, brick, and stone–making the look of premium siding options that may be beyond your budget more attainable.
Durability: Engineered wood siding will not split, crack, or warp after installation and the production process also avoids knots in the wood surface. Engineered wood siding can stand up to hail and other weather damage, keeping your home safe from the elements. During production, engineered wood siding receives an additional chemical compound that helps it withstand mold, mildew, decay, and insect infestation. These chemical resins coat the surfaces of the siding to form a tight and impenetrable layer of protection that traditional wood siding can’t offer. Engineered wood products typically carry a 30 year warranty.
Less Expensive: Engineered wood siding does not require the same extensive manufacturing process as wood siding, making it considerably less expensive, between $1.50-$3 per square foot. Engineered wood siding is also lighter than wood, reducing the labor cost of installation. Additionally, in contrast to natural wood, engineered wood siding pieces are uniform and consistent in appearance, creating less waste during installation.
Environmentally Friendly: If you like the look of wood for the exterior of your home, but want to make the most environmentally sustainable choice, engineered wood siding is a great alternative. Engineered wood siding contains sawdust and a bonding agent that holds the sawdust together effectively. The high wood waste content of engineered siding boosts its sustainability factor. Engineered siding also comes with baked-on factory finish that reduces maintenance. And though the lifespan of engineered wood ranges between 20-30 years, it is good to know that when it is time to replace your siding, your discarded engineered wood siding will easily biodegrade in a landfill.
Drawbacks of Engineered Wood Siding
For the homeowner that desires the natural look of wood, engineered wood may look a little too perfect, but for some, that might be a plus, because the siding on your home will always look fresh. Additionally, even though engineered wood siding is now supported by significant research and solid product warranties, earlier versions were plagued by moisture problems, resulting in class-action lawsuits. Some builders believe that the new variety of engineered wood siding hasn’t been on the market long enough to truly demonstrate its durability.
Maintaining Your Engineered Wood Siding
Engineered wood siding is virtually maintenance free. You may want to rinse your siding with a power washer to remove loose dirt once a year, but no further maintenance is required to keep your siding looking attractive and to preserve its strength.