Wood Siding

There are a dozen different varieties of wood siding, all the way from the traditional bevel cedar siding to plywood products, cedar shingles, and vertical cedar siding. There are also various forms of re-manufactured wood siding, such as hardboards, oriented strand board, plywood, and masonites. Our experience suggests that good quality wood siding is one of the best choices for siding material in the Pacific Northwest. Properly installed, plywood siding, such as T1-11, results in a very economical, low maintenance, and long lasting exterior siding product.

Many turn-of-the-century homes in the Pacific Northwest are sided with the original clear cedar bevel siding. Such siding, when properly maintained, can remain in excellent condition for years. Wood siding, like all other products, needs to be properly installed and maintained. However, unlike many other siding products, it can be repaired and partially replaced. Most older styles of wood siding products are available on today's market.

Not all wood siding products are of equal quality. In recent years, we have seen the increased use of half by six, tight-knot cedar siding and other similar thin, bevel, tight-knot siding products. These products are typically manufactured from young trees. The wood from such trees does not have good dimensional stability; i.e., it shrinks, warps, and splits. In addition, such wood does not appear to have the characteristic of old growth cedar for resisting rot.

We also find that when cedar shingles are used as a side-walls product, it is mandatory that good quality paint or stain is used to minimize the splitting and warping of these shingles. Typically, we will find the greatest amount of deterioration to the side-wall shingles on the south and southwest side: the weather side in this area. Replacement of the damaged shingles with a matching material is relatively easy, and a recommended process if it is followed by a good quality paint or stain application and proper maintenance.

A common problem seen with wood siding is associated with side-wall insulation and vapor barriers. Wood siding should be installed in a way which allows the siding to "breathe." Improper siding installation over a vapor barrier, and/or over insulation can result in a higher humidity content in the siding, and eventually add to paint and moisture deterioration problems.