While no siding material is flawless, engineering wood siding might be the closest to fulfilling that claim.
Homeowners who love the appearance of traditional wood siding, but not the drawbacks and the cost, might see engineered wood siding as the perfect alternative.
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Engineered Wood Siding Explained
Engineered wood – or composite wood as it’s also known – is still a relatively new type of siding but has become incredibly popular over the years due to its many advantages.
Before we go into specifics about the cost and brands, it’s essential to define engineered wood siding. Some might think it’s only a synthetic material and doesn’t contain natural wood, but that’s entirely inaccurate.
Engineered wood siding is typically made from wood strands or fibers that have been sustainably harvested. These strands are put together and processed with resin composite, wax, and other materials.
Then, manufacturers use extreme levels of heat to bond the components together. This form of pressure-applied heating is what makes the engineered wood siding so strong and durable.
When the heating process is complete, the siding receives a protective coating layer that prevents water and mold damage.
The final manufacturing step is zinc borate treatment, which boosts the siding’s resistance to infestation and fungal decay. After that, the siding is painted and cut into different shapes and sizes.
How Much Does Engineered Wood Cost?
One of the top reasons many homeowners consider engineered wood siding is that it costs a lot less than traditional wood siding.
However, how much it would cost to install engineered wood siding on the house depends on several factors, including the quality of the material and the location of the property.
Still, engineered wood siding costs nearly half the price of traditional wood siding and ranges between $4.50 to $7.90 per square foot for materials alone. Meanwhile, the installation cost can be anywhere between $1.90 to $4.80 per square foot.
Therefore, installing engineered wood siding on a 1,500-square foot home ranges between $9,585 and $19,170.
|Engineered Wood Siding||Range|
|Material Price Per Square Foot Only||$4.50 – $7.90|
|Installation Per Square Foot Only||$1.90 – $4.80|
|1,500-Square Foot Home Total||$9,585 – $ 19,170|
Keep in mind that, as with any siding, engineered wood comes in different qualities, which are usually qualified by the contractors as basic, better, and the best.
It’s also crucial to point out that a DIY-engineered wood siding installation can cost even more, as you will likely need special equipment the licensed contractors already have.
Again, your ZIP code will affect the overall price of the siding as well. So, it’s vital to get as many quotes as possible before starting this renovation.
Homeowners should also expect prices to drastically vary from one contractor to the next, as not all have the same overhead expenses and staffing.
The total installation cost of engineered wood siding will also depend on the style of your home. Colonial- or Victorian-style homes might require more time and special skills to get the job done, which inevitably costs more.
You can use our Siding Cost Calculator to estimate the cost of installing engineered wood siding on your house.
The Many Advantages of Engineered Wood Siding
|Affordability||Colors Fade Over Time|
|Versatility||Rain Screen Installation|
|Resistance to Weather Elements|
Choosing a siding for your home is a major decision and taking the time to do proper research goes a long way.
If you think that engineered wood siding might be the right fit for your home, but want to be sure, here are all its benefits you can consider.
We’ve touched on the fact that engineered wood is less expensive than traditional wood siding. That’s because it doesn’t need the same extensive manufacturing process.
But also, engineered wood is much lighter, allowing a significantly more manageable and more affordable installation.
The lightweight boards cover a lot of areas and expedite the installation. Plus, there are fewer noticeable joints on the house’s exterior.
Resistance to Various Elements
One of the biggest downsides of traditional wood siding is that it’s prone to water damage and pest infestation.
Engineered wood siding might be an excellent solution if these are your top two concerns.
The zinc borate treatment ensures the siding is rot-resistant and keeps the termites away.
You also don’t have to worry about fungus, mold, mildew, weather damage, and warping caused by extreme heat.
If you’re looking for siding that can withstand freezing weather, hail, tree branches flying into it, cracking, or peeling, engineered wood might be suitable for you.
Once installed, engineered wood siding keeps your home safe and comfortable. This is an ideal choice for those who don’t plan on changing the exterior of their home for decades.
Pro tip: How the engineered wood siding is installed is crucial. For example, using the wrong nails can cause the panels to split or buckle. Poor quality hardware can even lead to rust, which will shorten the lifespan of the siding and ruin its finish.
Once you decide engineered wood siding is what your home deserves, the next step is to choose a custom design. Fortunately, this type of siding allows homeowners to get as creative as they want.
Engineered wood siding manufacturers offer products in a whole range of colors, textures, and cuts. Many opt for the siding that most convincingly mimics cedarwood or even brick and stone.
Premium options allow you to make the most out of this siding without going over the budget.
When you apply; the paint color of your choice on your engineered wood siding, you’re all set for many years. However, for best results and proper maintenance, it’s advisable to re-paint engineered wood siding every 10 years or so, depending on its condition.
Engineered wood siding is built to last for many decades, and manufacturers back that notion with extensive warranties.
Depending on the brand, siding can be covered for up to 50 years for materials and 30 years for the finish.
Even the most affordable brands offer at least 25-30-year warranties. The best manufacturers include protection against hail damage under the warranty and will replace the siding if there is any damage.
Some homeowners might wonder if the engineered wood siding is eco-friendly. The good news is that choosing this siding is a sustainable option in a few different ways.
First, engineered wood material is made from wood strands and even sawdust, which reduces the wood waste significantly, especially when compared to traditional wood siding.
Furthermore, engineered wood manufacturers only use fast-growing, sustainably harvested trees to ensure efficient renewal.
Also, the factory finish reduces the overall maintenance needs and increases the lifespan of the material. However, when it’s time to replace the engineered wood siding, you can rest assured it is fully biodegradable and recyclable.
While the purpose of exterior siding is to protect your home from elements and keep household members comfortable, it’s impossible to ignore that it also impacts the first impression someone has of your home.
Engineered wood siding ranges can look nearly identical to traditional wood siding or offer a more modern and unique appearance. If you opt for a cedar finish, your engineer wood siding will appear as solid wood without all the negative aspects.
Did You Know? Engineered wood boards come pre-primed, but customers also have the option to have them pre-painted. The choice of colors is endless, and homeowners can work with manufacturers to get the best solution for their homes.
A Few Drawbacks of Engineered Wood Siding
While engineered wood siding has very few flaws, there are some aspects potential buyers should keep in mind.
Some might argue that the siding looks a little too perfect, which makes it evident that it is not solid wood. But for others, that’s precisely the appeal. However, let’s examine a few legitimate concerns regarding engineered wood siding.
Loss of Color Vibrancy
Engineered wood siding is low maintenance, but the vibrant colors you enjoy post-installation will fade over time.
Ideally, pick a UV-resistant paint that will slow down the fading process significantly.
Still, around every 10 years, the siding will need a touch-up to get that original color back. Plus, choosing to re-paint the siding will add a protective layer that will increase its longevity.
However, that can be a hassle for some homeowners who would rather avoid re-painting their siding.
Requires rain screen Installation
When it comes to any type of siding, proper installation is essential; otherwise, even the best materials will become useless. The engineered wood siding should always be installed with a rain screen system.
Essentially, the rain screen represents adding an air gap between the wall sheathing and siding. The rain screen increases the structural rigidity and creates a pathway for water to move along the wall and drain out at the bottom.
It ensures the siding doesn’t trap water and dries more quickly. While rain screens might not be necessary for some areas of the country, those with frequent rain and cold winters could benefit from it greatly. However, the rain screen will increase the overall cost of installation.
Top Engineered Wood Siding Brands on the Market
When choosing the right siding for your home, there are many decisions you must make. If you’re settled on engineered wood siding, one of the biggest steps is to choose the right brand.
Homeowners should be encouraged to perform their own research, but the best and most experienced contractors can help here too. No brand is ideal, but several stand out from the rest.
Undoubtedly, one of the best-known engineer wood siding manufacturers and dealers is KWP. The company uses top-quality recycled wood for its Eco-Side series and mixes it with an entirely eco-friendly resin compound.
The Naturetech series offers many color options and is available in a range of widths and thicknesses.
In terms of warranty, they beat every other brand in the game. The 50-year warranty exceeds the industry standard and establishes KWP as the top contender.
It offers both smooth and textured finishes and a wide array of profiles and designs. Furthermore, the cost of KWP siding is lower because it only requires one installer per project.
This is another top-quality engineered wood siding brand known for versatility and durability. Homeowners looking for a brand that offers the most creative freedom should consider Truwood as their collections are available in a wide variety of profiles, styles, textures, and colors.
It’s also important to point out that Truwood has been a family-owned business for over 100 years and offers the experience and expertise that comes with that.
Their zinc borate formulation is adjusted to be more eco-friendly, vitally important for many homeowners. Their most distinctive product is the reversible trim, available in several textures and sizes. Their products are covered with a 30-year warranty which is the industry standard.
Pro tip: Your engineered wood siding is low maintenance, but there are a few routines you can incorporate to make it last longer and look even better.
Removing spider webs, moving sprinklers away from the siding, and cleaning any visible dirt from time to time can make a world of difference.
This brand has been on the market for a long time and has a stellar reputation. They use an overlay for coating purposes which adds an impressive level of protection against mold, mildew, and infestations.
The engineered wood siding made by LP SmartSide is robust, durable, and pretty easy to install. This is the perfect brand for those who want to give the DIY installation a go.
Their product comes with an impressive 50-year warranty for quality and a 5-year warranty for primer.
However, if you’re buying LP SmartSide siding, perhaps it’s prudent to invest in a better-quality finish.
Engineered Wood Siding vs. Vinyl Siding
Vinyl is the most popular choice for siding in the U.S. But engineered wood is slowly catching up in terms of popularity. So, what do they have in common?
They’re both cost-efficient options, offer excellent resistance to moisture and rot, and they’re long-lasting solutions.
But they have their differences too. Vinyl siding is made from polyvinyl chloride, and while it offers excellent versatility, to some, it can’t convey the charm associated with engineered wood and its natural-looking finish options.
Also, engineered wood siding can withstand wind gusts of up to 200 mph, whereas some vinyl siding doesn’t have the same durability when exposed to extreme weather. Engineered wood siding is better for geographical areas with more frequent weather fluctuations.
The warranty is where vinyl siding has the upper hand compared to engineered wood. Some vinyl siding brands will attach lifetime warranties that are understandably appealing to customers.
It doesn’t mean that vinyl cannot be damaged. But compared to the 30-year warranty average for engineered wood, it’s clear to see why vinyl is the best-selling siding in the country.
Finally, engineered wood siding offers more than vinyl siding when it comes to energy efficiency. It has a high insulation R-value which ensures lower energy bills than vinyl siding.
Engineered Wood Siding vs. Fiber Cement Siding
Fiber cement siding is made from sand, cement, and cellulose fibers. It also uses some amount of recycled ingredients such as fly ash from burning coal.
Compared to engineered wood, it’s a lot heavier and more robust. It’s an inexpensive siding option and offers a relatively long lifespan if installed correctly.
A person with an untrained eye might not notice any difference between engineered wood and fiber cement siding, such as Nichiha. They are both available in a wide range of textures and colors.
But fiber cement requires special cutting tools and has a complicated installation process. It’s even heavier than solid wood, and it releases a cloud of silica dust during the cutting process.
Therefore, it can only be done by professional contractors with the appropriate safety gear. Engineered wood siding is much less prone to installation issues and mistakes, making it a preferable choice.
However, fiber cement offers excellent protection against water damage, similar to engineered wood siding with accurate installation.
How Long Does Engineered Wood Siding Last?
While some factors can impact how long your engineered wood siding lasts, it is designed for longevity. Homeowners can expect their siding to stay in great shape anywhere between 25 and 50 years with proper maintenance.
Thanks to the unique and protective coating, engineered wood siding will reduce the impact of water, weather elements, and pests and extend the material’s lifespan.
Can You Pressure-Wash Engineered Wood Siding?
It is not recommended to use a pressure washer on engineered wood siding. It can cause moisture penetration and even discoloration. If you need to remove dirt from the siding, use different, less-invasive cleaning methods.
How Long Does It Take to Install Engineered Wood Siding?
The exact installation duration will vary depending on the project size and location, but overall, it can be anywhere between one and two weeks. Remember that painting the siding will add more days to the timeline.
Is Installing Engineered Wood Siding Difficult?
Compared to other types of siding, engineered wood is super easy to install. It’s much lighter than solid wood and fiber cement, and due to its content, it’s easy to cut and form into panels of various sizes.
While professional installation is highly recommended, with proper skills and tools, a DIY installation is possible.
Is Engineered Wood Siding the Right Choice for Your Home?
Choosing engineered wood siding for your home can indeed be a fantastic option. Of course, it’s vital to take the time, research contractors, and find the best deal before committing.
You can allow your imagination to flourish with engineered wood as there are so many designs and styles to consider.
This material is easy to install, offers excellent value and warranties, and the best part is that it’s eco-friendly.
This natural wood composite siding delivers versatility and visual appeal, which to many homeowners matters so much.
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