Engineered Wood Siding: Pros & Cons, Options, Manufacturers and Cost
Engineered wood siding is marketed as a lower-cost, easy-to-install alternative to solid wood siding. It is a popular choice for homeowners who prefer the look of wood siding to the mundane aesthetics of vinyl but want to keep their siding costs in check.
You’ll also see this material referred to as engineered siding, manufactured wood siding, composite wood siding and synthetic wood siding.
This engineered wood siding guide includes pros & cons, costs and additional details that will assist you in making an informed siding decision. We also have buying guides for cedar siding and log cabin siding.
WHAT IS ENGINEERED WOOD SIDING?
Engineered siding is a wood and resin composite material. Strands or fibers of 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 are 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.
THE BENEFITS OF ENGINEERED WOOD SIDING
According to homeowners, the top reasons to choose engineered siding are that:
- Engineered wood siding cost is less than natural wood siding (see Costs below)
- It looks more like natural wood siding than vinyl or aluminum siding
- It is more resistant to insects, mold and mildew that 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 installs without the need for special tools
- Transferable warranties 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.
ENGINEERED WOOD SIDING OPTIONS
There are several choices you’ll have to make as you plan your engineered siding project. They represent your options.
Siding styles: Both lap siding and panel siding are available. Lap siding is installed horizontally while panel siding can be installed in any direction, though most gets a horizontal application. The lap boards are made in longer lengths (up to 16 feet) than natural wood boards to cut down on seams.
Faux cedar shake siding is created in panels for easier installation. Both straight and staggered edges are produced for the look you desire.
Finish choices: If you plan to paint the siding yourself to reduce cost, then choose pre-primed/ready-to-paint siding. Each manufacturer also has a range of pre-finished/painted options that are ready for installation.
Trim, fascia and soffit: Composite wood siding options include complementary accessories in a range of attractive styles. These allow you to customize your home’s exterior.
ENGINEERED WOOD SIDING MANUFACTURERS & BRANDS
Here is a summary of the products from the two engineered wood siding manufacturers that dominate the market.
LP Building Products: LP SmartSide siding has huge market share and is produced in lap, panel and shake options plus an impressive range of trim products and style.
- 38 Series 3/8” lap siding, strand, 16’ boards in widths of 6”, 8” and 12”.
- 38 Series 3/8” panel siding, strand, grooved 8” on center, boards 48” wide in lengths of 6’, 7’, 8’, 9’ and 10’. No-groove option.
- 76 Series 3/8” lap siding, strand or fiber, widths of 6”, 8”, 9.5” and 12”, 16’ boards, textured and smooth options.
- 76 Series 3/8” panel siding, strand, grooved 4” or 8” on center, boards 48” wide in lengths of 6’, 7’, 8’, 9’ and 10’. No-groove option. Textured and smooth options.
- Stucco texture 3/8” panel siding, boards 48” wide in lengths of 8’ and 9’.
- 12” Bold Profile 7/16” lap siding in Triple 4” and Double 5” options, fiber, 16’ boards.
- 16” Bold Profile 7/16” lap siding in Quad 4”, Triple 5” and Double 8” options, fiber, 16’ boards.
- Colonial Beaded 3/8” lap siding, fiber, 16” boards in widths of 8” and 9”, textured and smooth options.
- Reverse Board and Batten 3/8” siding, fiber, grooved 12” on center, boards 48” wide in lengths of 8’ and 9’.
- Cedar Texture Shake 3/8” siding, fiber, 4’ boards in widths of 12”
- Complementary trim, fascia and soffit lines for new homes, remodels, sheds and light commercial buildings
Collins: TruWood is Collin’s engineered siding line. It is offered in about 60 styles spread over lap, panel and shake siding boards. Collins uses a high percentage of recycled content, making it among the greenest synthetic wood siding brands.
- Old Mill 7/16” and 1/2″ lap siding, 16’ boards in widths of 6”, 8”, 9.5”, 10.5” and 12”.
- Cottage Lap siding, 16’ boards in 4”, 5”, 8” and 12” widths.
- 8” Sure Lock and Sure Lock Six 6” Cottage Lap siding systems with 16’ boards.
- Self-Aligning 1/2″ lap siding, 16’ boards in widths of 8” and 12”
- 7/16” and 1/2″ panel siding in 4’x8’ sheets
- Adobe 1/2″ panel siding in 4’x8’ sheets
- Cedar Shake 7/16” and 1/2″lap siding, 8’ boards. Shapes include round, fishscale, octagon, cove, diamond and craftsman staggered.
- Full ranges of trim and other accessories including reversible trim with a smooth side and a textured side for two appearance options.
ENGINEERED WOOD SIDING COST
This good-looking cladding material is attractive from a price perspective too. Engineered wood siding cost:
- $1.25 to $2.15 per square foot for lap siding or panels
- $2.35 to $3.25 per square foot for shake siding
Note: These prices factor in the full complement of accessories and installation supplies. Engineered siding price is 20% to 50% below natural wood siding price.
Labor cost varies widely. Homes with more stories and complex architecture cost more to side. In addition, a licensed and bonded contractor will give higher estimates than, for example, a handyman with basic siding skills.
Expect engineered wood siding costs for installation to be $1.85 to $6.00 based on your home’s design and who does the work.