Engineered Wood Siding Installation

Engineered wood offers the look and beauty of wood but is more durable. It’s created by processing wood strands or fibers in wax for water resistance, adding zinc borate to help resist termites and fungal decay, and binders to increase strength. The siding works equally well in both hot and freezing climates. It’s recommended that you order the boards pre-finished. The paint or stain is applied, then baked or air-dried in a controlled setting, which results in even color and a durable finish.

Boards and panels come already treated and are available in standard and long lengths. They can be cut using regular woodworking tools and hung easily, whether by hammering nails by hand or using a nail gun. You’ll need to hire a reliable contractor to install engineered wood siding properly. Great Guys Home Improvement offers free quotes in just seconds from licensed, insured siding contractors. Click here to learn more.

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Engineered Wood Siding Repairs

Engineered wood is generally more immune to many of the wear and repair issues common to wood siding. With the addition of moisture-resistant waxes and zinc borate, it’s a sturdy, attractive choice. Normally, it’s easy to maintain, needing only a hose-down ohttps://www.cladsiding.comnce a year to remove dirt. But there are occasional problems that you need to be aware of if you’re considering engineered wood siding.


When installed properly, engineered wood siding is resistant to warping, cracking, and splitting. It stands up well to the elements but has been known to freeze and crack in cold weather if moisture has found a way to seep in.

Swelling and Warping

Composite wood is particularly susceptible to moisture if there are any spaces between the boards, in which case they can buckle or warp from excessive dampness or humidity.

Mold, Mildew, and Rot

Mold, mildew, and rot can grow in humid areas if moisture is trapped within the wood’s interior fibers. Water can also permeate the boards, causing the plywood to decompose.


Engineered wood has been designed to resist decay, but if the interior cellulose becomes damp due to poor installation or product imperfections, it will be attractive to pests such as termites and carpenter ants.

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Wood Siding vs. Engineered Wood Siding

Engineered wood siding improves on all the characteristics of natural wood, offering wood’s natural beauty while reducing its vulnerability. Engineered wood is made of fibers that are coated with industrial-grade resin binders and special water-resistant waxes for greater durability. The treatments give the product the strength of wood with increased resistance to moisture and rot. While natural wood might warp and buckle in extreme temperatures, engineered wood won’t. Multiple layers of stain or paint are baked into the siding and sealed with a clear coating so the boards won’t split or crack. Engineered wood is usually less expensive to purchase and maintain than traditional wood siding.

Engineered Wood Siding Pros and Cons

Engineered wood siding is a great and less expensive alternative to wood siding. It’s a composite made of recycled wood and bonding agents which are then coated with resin binders for strength and a moisture-resistant top coat. It has grown in popularity because it looks just like traditional wood siding but is much stronger. It’s lightweight, easy to install, and will last for decades. The resin top-coat helps prevent rot, decay, and insect damage. And best of all, maintenance is easy – all it needs is a rinse once a year or so with a garden hose.

But engineered wood siding does have its downsides, so the following is a list of pros and cons to help you decide if it’s for you or not.



Engineered wood siding costs less than natural wood siding. It’s a popular choice because it looks more like natural wood siding than vinyl or aluminum siding that’s created to mimic wood. It’s also lightweight and easy to install, saving on labor costs.

More durable

Due to the process used to create engineered wood, it’s more resistant to insects, mold, and mildew that natural wood siding. If installed correctly, it can handle extreme fluctuations in heat and cold without warping or deteriorating. And it’s been shown to be super strong, resisting impact better than other siding materials such as vinyl, aluminum, and fiber cement. Most brands come with warranties that last for 30 years or more.


Engineered wood is largely eco-friendly as it’s made from recycled wood and wood waste. The coating and resins used to protect the product do contain certain binders that aren’t entirely sustainable, but overall it’s largely a green building material.

Easy to install

Engineered wood cuts just like natural wood siding and installs without the need for special tools or specialized training. It’s easy to lift into place and doesn’t need a large crew, so your job can be completed more quickly and effortlessly.

Looks better than vinyl

If you’re shopping for a good-looking wood-like finish at an affordable price, engineered wood is probably a better option than vinyl. Woodgrain vinyl siding tends to have an unnatural appearance close-up, while engineered wood – which is made of recycled wood – looks more realistic.

High ROI

The return on investment for engineered wood siding is @79%, 2% higher than natural wood’s 77%, which is lower than many other siding options.


Must be well-maintained

If there’s any damage to the coating of engineered wood boards, the interior wood composite material can potentially absorb moisture and swell or warp. It’s important to keep engineered wood siding clean at all times and inspect regularly for damage. If any is spotted, it should be fixed immediately and sealed/re-painted to prevent further problems.

Buy quality product

Some engineered wood products on the market are of lesser quality and don’t come with long-term transferrable warranties. Make sure whatever you buy is good quality and has the warranty you expect. And most importantly, ensure that you find good siding contractors, familiar with the materials, by getting quotes through Good Guys Home Improvement. Proper installation is half the battle.

It’s not natural wood

While engineered wood looks better than other wood-look sidings, it doesn’t offer the richness and range of textures that natural wood can provide. If your heart is set on a particular wood profile, engineered wood may not be able to deliver. But keep in mind, engineered wood can cost up to 50% less than natural wood, so consider the trade-off.

Might require repainting

Color on engineered wood tends to fade faster than regular wood, so it may need repainting every 3 – 10 years. On the plus side, it doesn’t contain salts and minerals that can cause “efflorescence,” the chalky discoloration that’s seen on something like fiber cement siding, so you won’t have to worry about that.

More susceptible to fire

As engineered wood siding is largely made of wood products, it’s more susceptible to fire although it does have a 1-hour fire rating, meaning it can resist fire exposure for one hour.

Cost to Install Engineered Wood Siding – Material and Labor Installation Costs

Engineered wood siding can cost anywhere from $3 to $10 per square foot installed. To clad a 1,500 square foot home in engineered wood, it would cost an average of around $7,500 in total installation costs. In comparison, natural wood siding can cost anywhere from $7 to $12 per square foot. There will be additional costs for sheathing and/or insulation behind the siding. But because engineered wood typically comes fully treated, you won’t have additional costs for painting or staining. Keep in mind that labor costs vary widely. A licensed and bonded contractor will give higher estimates than a handyman with basic siding skills.

Popular Engineered Wood Siding Manufacturers

Engineered wood siding is becoming a more popular choice with homeowners than ever before. There are several well-known brands on the market that look good and provide long-term durability. It’s important to know that not all companies manufacture their product the same way, so it’s vital to do your research and make sure you’re getting the quality you seek. Following are some of the top-performing brands on the market today:

Collins TruWood

Collins Truwood Siding has been around more than 40 years and is popular for the many styles and profiles they offer. Their products come in many different lengths and textures but they offer fewer color choices than some of the other brands. They apply EcoGuard technology during the manufacturing process which makes their product eco-friendly, but the quality of the recycled wood is reportedly not as high-caliber as other brands. They offer 30-year transferable warranties on their engineered siding systems.

Georgia Pacific Catawba

Georgia Pacific Catawba engineered wood siding offers long-term performance and is available in a variety of styles and textures. Their hardboard siding is made from pulp-grade wood chips pressed and bonded at high temperatures. This process makes the wood weather resistant. Catawba is factory-primed and ready to paint. They recommend two coats of paint after installation, stating you won’t have to paint it again for ten years. Georgia Pacific offers a 50-year transferrable warranty on products.


KWP has been on the market for over 40 years. They use high-quality materials and environmentally-friendly additives that give their products great strength and durability. They’re also well-known for the wide array of profiles and colors to choose from and offer both traditional and more modern looks. KWP engineered wood siding has a 50-year, Substrate Limited Warranty, and 25-year Finish Limited Warranty.

LP SmartSide

The LP SmartSide siding manufacturing process utilizes a mixture of wax, zinc borate, and other binders that provide durability, although some customers complain of flaking and susceptibility to rot. Both smooth and textured finishing is available and looks great. The boards are easy to install with regular woodworking tools. LP backs all siding and trim products with the LP SmartSide 5/50 Limited Warranty, one of the most competitive warranties on the market. The five-year, 100% labor and material replacement feature comes with a 50-year prorated warranty.

Common Engineered Wood Siding Profiles

If you love the classic look of wood siding but don’t want to deal with the upkeep, then engineered wood is a great choice for you. Engineered wood siding has the look and texture of real wood without the high maintenance. It’s stronger and more durable than natural wood siding, cheaper and easier to install, and is a great eco-friendly alternative.

Engineered wood products come in many styles and textures ranging from realistic wood grains to stucco finishes. Boards can be installed horizontally or vertically and have many decorative options to choose from. The following are brief descriptions of available engineered wood profiles to side all or a portion of your home.

Horizontal Lap Siding

Lap siding is the most common kind of horizontal siding seen on homes, especially on the East Coast. This traditional form of siding features boards overlapping each other, thus creating the term “lap.” There are many styles of lap siding including clapboard, beaded, Dutch lap, and more. They’re all installed horizontally but have different shapes and profiles. Following are some of the most popular lap styles for horizontal engineered wood siding:

  • Clapboard: Clapboard siding got its name from the Dutch word klappen which means “to split,” referring to the method used to originally hand-split the logs. Also known as plain board or traditional lap, clapboard siding overlaps flat, narrow boards that are thicker on one horizontal edge, with the thick edge down. The curvature at the bottom creates a unique shadowing effect that is classically New England and highly desirable. Most manufacturers offer a cedar-look or smooth finish for clapboard siding.
  • Channel rustic: Channel rustic siding, sometimes called channel lap siding, has a rustic texture and feel. It’s installed with the rough side exposed, although it can be installed with the smooth side up. It’s characterized by the deep groove that’s left between boards which adds depth and allows for breathing in variable climates. The most popular engineered wood looks for channel rustic are Western Red Cedar and cypress.
  • Beaded lap: Beaded lap is similar to clapboard siding but has a thicker “bead” at the bottom edge of each piece of siding that offers a smooth, attractive finish. It also overlaps but casts a different shadow line due to the deep “V” cut and curvature at the bottom of the board. You’ll see this look a lot in East Coast seaside communities.
  • Shiplap: Shiplap siding looks very much like a rough tongue and groove pattern. It was traditionally used for utilitarian buildings such as barns and sheds due to its inexpensive installation and solid ability to protect against the cold. It has recently become more popular as a siding choice for homes due to its interesting texture. It’s paneling that’s formed by the overlapping of boards with a “rabbet” cut that runs the length of the board on both sides. It forms a tight joint with a groove in between that looks sharp and protects the building well.

Vertical Siding

The most well-known form of vertical siding is “board and batten.” This design is created by using wide boards, spaced apart, with narrow boards placed in between. The width of both types of boards can vary according to taste, creating all kinds of looks. Another way to install is to lay the board over the battens, resulting in a deep channeled look. The engineered wood boards that are usually used for this style are crafted to look like rough-hewn pine, Western red cedar, or cypress.

Shakes, Shingles, and Scallops

Shakes and shingles are a time-honored method of roofing and siding buildings. Traditionally made of tapered pieces of wood that are either hand-split from logs (shakes) or machine cut from bolts of wood (shingles), they can be cut in all kinds of patterns or shaped by steam bending. Shakes are traditionally rougher-hewn and used for a rustic effect. Shingles are smooth and consistent in appearance. They’re usually used to accent areas of a home. Scallops are shingles that are cut in half circles and laid to create a “scaled” appearance. Each of these effects are most commonly spotted on historic homes or seaside cottages and can be created with engineered wood.

Adobe Stucco-Look

If you’re a big fan of the Southwestern adobe look, but don’t live in an area where stucco siding is recommended, you can get the effect with engineered wood. Engineered wood siding can be manufactured to give the appearance of either a rough or smooth stucco finish. Boards are easier to install than stucco and deliver all the warmth and beauty of traditional stucco with the durability and workability of treated engineered wood. The manufacturing process improves upon nature, creating products that are engineered for strength, performance, and protection against cracking, decay, and termite damage.

Find Engineered Wood Siding Installers Near Me

It’s important to hire a reputable contractor who knows and understands the type of siding you’ve chosen for your home. When it comes to engineered wood, you won’t need quite the labor specialization you might require with a material like fiber cement. Because engineered wood cuts and installs just like natural wood, an experienced handyman or carpenter can potentially do the job. But you’re going to want to check a few things before hiring:


One of the best ways to find a reputable contractor who’s experienced working with engineered wood is to ask friends and neighbors to give you their recommendations. Be sure to talk to people who’ve recently completed a job that’s similar in scope to yours and make sure you like the end result. Because problems with engineered wood siding can show up later on down the road, it’s a good idea to speak to people who had a job done several years ago. Find out if the materials were installed correctly, if they held up well, etc.

On-site Visit

An installation company or contractor should come to your home and see the job before bidding on it. They’ll need to know the parameters of the project and take measurements to properly estimate materials costs. An in-person meeting also helps you determine whether you like the person handling the job and if they communicate well with you.

Numerous Bids

In order to accurately compare quotes, be sure to get at least three. This way you can compare materials recommendations, projected labor costs, and timelines. If bids come in about the same, you can make your decision based on whoever feels right. But if they’re wildly different, you’ll want to understand why and do more research.

Written Estimate

Once you’ve decided upon a siding installer, you need to ask for a detailed written estimate that covers everything in the job. Then you’ll know how long the job is expected to take and how much it should cost. The estimate should function as a blueprint for the project and give you recourse if something goes wrong.

Proof of Insurance & Licensing

Finally, make sure the contractor you choose has the proper liability, property damage, and workers comp insurance in place. In addition, every state has its own regulations regarding licensing for contractors. Find out what’s required for installing engineered wood products in your state. Make sure your contractor has the correct licenses and understands which permits will be required for your particular job.


Want a “wood-like” appearance for your home’s exterior with the convenience of low maintenance? Get free no-obligation siding quotes from fully licensed and insured engineered wood contractors near you. Click now!

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