Understanding the durability attributes of engineered wood siding
Engineered wood siding is designed to withstand stresses like severe weather, insects, and impact. AIA partner Louisiana-Pacific Corporation and an architect explain what makes the cladding unique.
Home siding takes a lot of punishment, from hail and high winds to termites and fungus to unintended impacts from rocks and baseballs. Here’s how engineered wood siding is designed to provide protection from these stresses.
During the manufacturing process, wood strands are treated to the core with an advanced formula of binders, waxes, and zinc borate before bonding with a water-resistant, resin-saturated overlay.
There are four key elements that help engineered wood siding deliver long-term durability and protection from harsh weather:
- Water-resistant waxes coat each strand or fiber of engineered wood for greater durability in rainy, humid environments.
- Zinc borate is a broad-spectrum fungicide that offers protection against both termites and fungal decay.
- Industrial-grade binders and resins give engineered wood the ability to withstand the impact of hail, rocks, baseballs, golf balls, and more.
- The resin-saturated overlay offers the final layer of protection by resisting moisture intrusion and providing a durable base for paint adhesion.
Engineered wood’s durability enhancements help architects ensure that home exteriors can withstand these threats:
Damage from freeze/thaw cycles
Many North American cities experience low temperatures followed by unexpected warm-ups. This repetitive cycle of freezing and thawing can cause significant damage to home siding. Engineered wood siding is better able to withstand freeze/thaw damage and is not susceptible to breaking when water penetrates the substrate and expands as temperatures fall.
“In upstate New York, we have to design with freeze/thaw cycles in mind,” says Dominic Rigosu, AIA, with RIDA Architecture in Albany. His firm recently selected engineered wood siding for a modern multifamily community to not only bring a distinctive look to its exterior, but also to help ensure it would stand up to the region’s elements.
Protection against hail
About 6,000 hailstorms hit the United States every year—with many of them arriving in the “Hail Zone” that stretches from Texas to North Dakota. During tests conducted at the National Wind Institute’s Debris Impact Facility at Texas Tech University, engineered wood siding showed no signs of impact after being struck by 1.75-inch hail at 81 miles per hour. LP SmartSide Trim & Siding is now warrantied for hail damage.
Overall impact resistance
Homes get struck with more things than hail. NASA recently conducted impact testing that revealed that a golf ball traveling at 63 miles per hour and a baseball thrown at 77 miles per hour left no visible damage to engineered wood siding.
Protection against termites
Termites were once limited to the Southern regions of the United States, but now they’ve migrated to states like Wisconsin and Michigan—and even into Canada. In field testing, engineered wood samples were exposed to Formosan termites; even after a number of years, the engineered wood siding showed no structural damage.
Engineered wood enhances Mother Nature’s design to help architects choose siding that’s highly resistant to impacts, freeze/thaw damage, termite infestation, and more.
Learn more about the durability attributes of engineered wood siding.
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