Finishing a house with wood siding is a time-honored way to protect the structure of the house. An added bonus is that wood, whether painted or varnished, is an ideal material for house finishing. Varnished, pressure-treated, or unfinished natural wood siding gives a house a warm, traditional appearance that maintains its appeal as the wood naturally weathers over time.
Wood Siding: The Environmentally-Friendly Choice
Manufacturing wood siding is one of the most environmentally friendly wood processing industries as well. Very little wood is wasted in the sawing and sizing of wood siding, and wood that is often rejected by furniture makers due to perceived imperfections such as knottiness is often in demand for the more "rustic" varieties of wood siding. In addition, the types of trees most commonly used in the manufacture of wood siding are quick-growing species of Pine and other coniferous trees that are often grown on plantations, not cut from old-growth forests.
Types of Woods Used for Wood Siding
The most popular wood species used for wood siding are Western Red Cedar, Pine (Red, White, Jack and Lodgepole), Spruce, Douglas Fir, and Cypress. These woods have certain features that make them ideal for use in siding:
- Lightness: Heavy wood tends to sag over time and may cause stress to supporting walls and pillars.
- Resistance to Decay: The natural resins and turpenes produced by conifer trees provide natural protection against insect pests as well as the ravages of the elements. This protection continues after the trees have been processed into wood siding.
- Natural Tone: The life span of wood siding is measured in decades, so the wood must look good throughout that lifespan, even as it tones and weathers through the years.
Wood Grades for Wood Siding
Wood siding is available in various grades. The grading system is based on the clarity of the wood and freedom from large knots that may loosen and fall out. A lower grade of siding may be quite suitable if your intent is to paint it and cover the grain, or if a grainy appearance is to your liking.
Use Siding to Decorate the Outside of Your Home
There are several different ways wood siding is trimmed, then applied to an outside wall. Beveled siding is cut to a tapered, nearly triangular cross section. This enables it to be applied much like roof shingles in an overlapping pattern. Other types of wood siding are variations on "shiplap" or tongue & groove patterns that lie flat against the wall, "locked" into one another. One style or pattern is much like another when it comes to coverage and protection; the main difference is in the appearance. Any way you cut it, there's nothing like the natural beauty of wood to make a house a home!