Wood siding is a beautiful option for the facade and decoration of a home. In 1986, it was the main exterior surface used in 43% of houses. But in 2019, that percentage had dropped all the way to 5%!
How could that happen? Well, the truth is that wood siding has a lot of downsides. It's a natural material, so pests, birds, and critters love it.
It isn't resistant to fire and requires a lot of maintenance to be kept strong and durable, especially due to mildew and mold. Plus, it's pretty high in cost for something that needs so much care!
But that doesn't mean it's not also a delightful and beautiful choice. Wood siding is environmentally friendly, lightweight for easy installation, reliably durable, and easy to repair.
The huge variety of wood siding options available also makes it all the more attractive! So, is wood siding right for you? Let's consider the pros and cons of wood siding!
9 Pros And Cons Of Wood Siding You Need To Know
Pros Of Wood Siding
1. It's environmentally friendly
When it comes to siding, it doesn't get much more sustainable than wood! This environmentally-friendly material is biodegradable and will decompose when disposed of.
It's an entirely renewable resource, especially certain wood like cedar, which grows quite quickly.
On top of that, the methods used to make and develop wood siding are energy-efficient when compared to other siding materials that are petroleum-based.
Harmful pollutants aren't released during the process, either. Those who are concerned about their carbon footprint may, therefore, elect to choose wood siding.
2. It's easy to repair
Wood siding is a surprisingly easy material to fix and repair. For general repair, wood putty is sufficient to fill most small holes in wood siding.
Loosening or warped siding can be fixed with screws applied more tightly. Even with major repair work, wood siding reigns!
This is because repairs and replacements can be done sectionally. A lot of siding options tend to require full removal of entire panels just to fix a small issue or replace a mildly damaged area.
But with wood siding, individual wood shingles, blocks, or boards can be simply removed, with new pieces applied quickly and seamlessly.
3. It's lightweight
Wood is relatively lightweight in nature. This allows wood siding to be easier to install than heavier forms of siding material. In turn, that lends itself to reduced labor costs overall.
The benefit is mostly a small one, but it's notable for those considering all options before deciding on their chosen siding!
4. It's durable
Wood siding is relatively durable. High-quality makes of this product can last for decades on end, even up to 40 years and beyond. It's even more durable when well taken care of.
While it's not necessarily the easiest to maintain, doing so pays off a lot with wood siding. You'll be adding many more years to its service life by being mindful and caring for it well!
Cleaning planks, reapplying varnish, and brushing your siding is pretty much all you need, aside from addressing any necessary repairs.
5. There's a lot of variety
Wood siding can be made to look so many different ways that you're pretty much set no matter what your artistic vision is. There are numerous facade types, installation techniques, and customization options available.
Better yet, each one often comes with its own unique strengths and weaknesses, so you can truly pick the option that thoroughly works best for you. To begin with, the kind of wood cladding available for wood siding is pretty extensive.
- You can use lap siding, which is beveled and involves overlapping boards, for a traditional look.
- There's also split log siding, which lets you use half-rounded, half-flat boards for a very natural appearance with visible bark.
- You can also opt for board-and-batten siding, a vertically installed mix of narrow timber strips and wide boards, ideal for contracting and expanding wood.
- Then, there's drop channel siding, a milled-down plank style that allows for puzzle-like connections between planks, common in cabins.
- You can also have shingle siding, which, while mostly used in roofs, can still be provided uniquely and beautifully for facade cladding.
- Finally, there's tongue-and-groove siding, which has an interesting carved appearance.
You also have the choice of various different types of wood. All of them have their own unique coloring and character.
Some of the best options are redwood, cypress, pine, cedar, and even thermally engineered or modified wood. Fir wood is also a favorite, as it's very easy to install but is like pine in many ways.
Like with the facade styles, each type of wood has its own set of upsides and downsides, so you're free to choose between them as you wish. Last but certainly not least, wood can also be aesthetically variable.
Wood siding takes well to paint and can be coated with many kinds of finishes and colors. Different varnish will create a different end appearance, too.
Wood siding can also be repainted with ease, so if you change your mind a few years down the road, you can go back to your numerous options.
Cons Of Wood Siding
1. It has high maintenance requirements
As previously said, regular maintenance is extremely crucial to the upkeep and performance of your wood siding. If you want the siding to last for decades, you need to ensure that it's well-cared-for.
Siding must be inspected on a regular basis in order to prevent the growth of mildew and mold. If you don't perform these inspections, rotting can occur when moisture issues go unnoticed!
You'll also need to plug and repair weak spots very regularly so pests can't get in – but you also shouldn't plug holes if pests are already inside, or you'll just keep them in there!
Staining or painting your wood as a touch-up also needs to happen relatively often. You should aim to get this done once per three to seven years.
That's more often than most forms of siding, but it's needed. It keeps the wood looking nice and ensures it stays sealed against the elements and other forms of damage.
Repairing any issues in wood siding quickly is endlessly crucial to its upkeep and survival!
2. It's susceptible to pests
Wood siding, as something made from a natural material, struggles with natural damage from pests. Lumber is especially prone to the attraction of critters, especially bugs like termites and worms.
These creatures can slowly but surely degrade entire chunks of wood at a time. Some wood is able to protect itself against pests, but these tend to be higher in price.
Most may not consider the extra cost worth it unless the siding will be used in a pest-prone area. You can try to deal with potential issues by paying for regular pest control inspections on your home.
Spraying insecticide on your siding on a frequent basis is also a good idea. Woodpeckers and similar birds are also a problem, often creating holes in siding.
You have to be ready to quickly repair any shingles that you see with holes from woodpeckers. If you don't, they may become damaged by water or may harbor moisture that grows mold and mildew.
Squirrels may pose a threat, too. They can fit in very small holes and gnaw through wood like champs. Pest inspections for wood siding are highly necessary if you live in an area where squirrels are abundant.
3. It has a high price
Whenever you purchase siding made from a natural material like wood, you have to expect a higher cost than artificial materials.
The natural, rich beauty of wood makes it very desirable from an appearance point of view, so of course, its price tag reflects that! Sure, you get the high-end material that you paid for, but it's still a big investment.
Some people who struggle with the high cost of wood siding end up using other materials hand-in-hand with wood. This reduces cost and gives them the chance to still use wood, even opening up some design possibilities.
On the bright side, this high cost is supplemented by the added value you'll give your home. When you have wood siding that is well-maintained, your house's resale value goes up!
This can make the investment worthwhile.
4. It's not fire-resistant
Wood siding has little to no resistance to fire, including fire caused by lightning.
In an area where forest fires and lightning storms are common, it's almost dangerous to opt for wood siding over other more resistant materials.
To some degree, this may also increase the insurance cost for your home. To counter the risk of fire-related issues, you can attempt to purchase wood with a higher rating for fire resistance.
However, these may be more expensive than the price you intend to pay.
Wood siding is pretty balanced in terms of pros and cons.
- It's a pain to maintain, but it's easy enough to repair and is lightweight for simple installation.
- It has a very high price, but it's environmentally friendly and comes in so many designs, styles, and varieties.
- It's not great with fire and doesn't play well with pests, but it's durable enough for that to be worth it to some.
Ultimately, if you decide to get wood siding, you have to consider it an investment. It's the kind of material that you put your effort and care into so that it pays you back in turn.
Be ready to ensure its regular maintenance, repair, and pest control, and shop around for the exact type of wood and cladding style that best suits your needs.