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Tips to get ready for engineered wood siding installation

Traditional wood siding is typically made from cedar or redwood because these softwoods are more resistant to water damage. However, over time, water damage and other issues in traditional wood siding products are unavoidable. Besides susceptibility to water damage, traditional wood siding products are also prone to pest and mold infestations. Damage from termites and other wood-boring pests is a significant concern for homeowners with wood siding. While there are some ways to protect your traditional wood siding from a pest infestation, installing manufactured wood or vinyl siding is your best bet to completely bypass that possibility. Traditional wood siding also requires continuous maintenance and re-staining to retain its durability. With proper care, wood siding can last up to 25 years. However, it will require professional staining and painting every 2-3 years to prolong its lifespan. To sidestep these potentially detrimental and expensive issues, engineered wood siding products came to fruition. Keep reading to learn if engineered wood siding can meet your quality and longevity expectations. We will dwell on the cost of this siding material and its critical advantages and downsides.

Tips to get ready for engineered wood siding installation

What is engineered wood siding?

Engineered siding is a wood and resin composite material. Strands or fibers of the wood are coated with wax to make them resistant to water. Binders are added, and the material is heat-pressed for structural strength and density.

Manufactured wood siding is usually treated with zinc borate to make the material resistant to fungal decay and insects such as termites. Manufacturers claim that the treatment is safe for people, pets, and the environment.

The composite core of manufactured wood siding is cut into planks, panels, shakes, and trim/accessories. A top layer of overlay saturated with resin is applied using industrial glue to create a solid moisture barrier. The overlay may be embossed to give it a woodgrain appearance or made smooth.

How to prolong the service life of your engineered wood siding?

Engineered wood siding is an easy-maintenance product. Here are helpful tips you should know on regular upkeep to ensure it stays looking newer for longer: 

  • Annual inspections. Check your siding at least twice a year by walking around the house and carefully examining the exterior from foundation to roof. Make sure to inspect your house after major storms too.
  • Clean mildew. To clean mildew, use a solution of three parts water and one part white vinegar with a cloth or sponge. Then, gently rinse off with a garden hose. Never use a pressure washer, as it can force water underneath the panel and cause damage to the finish.
  • Remove dirt. Apply a cloth, sponge, or soft brush along with mild detergent and water to remove dirt from your siding. Do not use abrasive cleaners or solvents because they could damage the paint. Gently wash off with a garden hose.
  • Remove spider webs. To remove pesky spider webs, take a broom and gently sweep away along with the accompanying leaves they collect.
  • Move sprinklers. Even if it’s just for a day, don’t allow sprinklers to water the siding because it can cause discoloration and allow an environment for fungus and mildew to grow.

What are the key advantages and downsides of engineered wood siding?

If you’re looking for a low-cost, low-maintenance siding solution for your home but are unwilling to compromise on the aesthetics of wood siding products, engineered wood siding might be a fantastic option.

Available in a wide variety of colors, textures, and finishes, engineered wood siding is durable and incredibly resistant to damage. However, since engineered wood siding products have only been on the market for a short time, the longevity of the siding is unknown.

With proper maintenance, any type of siding, such as vinyl siding or Hardie Board, should last through the duration of its expected lifespan. If cared for properly, engineered wood siding should last between 20 and 30 years, with a fresh coat of paint every 10 years.

There are many upsides to engineered wood siding and just a few downsides. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the product:

  • Engineered wood siding cost is less than natural wood siding 
  • It looks more like natural wood siding than vinyl or aluminum siding
  • It is more resistant to insects, mold, and mildew than natural wood siding
  • It resists impact better than most siding materials, including vinyl, aluminum, and fiber cement siding, as independent tests indicate
  • Engineered siding handles extreme heat and cold/thaw cycles without warping or deteriorating
  • Most products are made from recycled wood and wood waste, so it is a green building material
  • The material cuts like wood siding and is installed without the need for special tools
  • Transferable warranties of up to 30 years give good peace of mind

Along with these benefits of engineered wood siding, keep in mind its most significant drawback. Any damage to the exterior coating will result in the wood composite taking in moisture and swelling or warping. In short, the surface must be meticulously maintained and regularly painted to keep it in good condition. Take a look below to discover the key downsides of engineered wood siding:

  • The vibrancy of colors can fade over time
  • It’s a relatively new product, so its longevity of it is not entirely known
  • The resin coat may crack over time
  • Any cracks or damage to the product can allow moisture in
  • The binding agents within the engineered wood product are not eco-friendly
  • Dioxins, a carcinogen, are released during the manufacturing of the products
  • The finish can look unnatural
  • Lacks the natural variations in the grain of real wood

How much does engineered wood siding cost?

Engineered wood siding costs anywhere from $3.58 to $8.58 per square foot to install. If you were to install engineered wood siding on an average size 1,500 square foot home, you could expect to pay between $5,370 and $12,870 in total installation costs.

In comparison, natural wood siding can cost $6 to $12 per square foot, depending on the type of wood. Replacement costs vary depending on the size and design of your home, local labor rates, and whether you are doing a full vs. partial engineered wood siding installation.

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