A cabin in the woods — it’s just about every outdoor enthusiast’s dream. When it comes time to make that dream a reality, investing in high-quality materials and smart design choices can be a game-changer in terms of cost, safety, maintenance efforts, and long-term property value. Log siding comes in many shapes, styles, and materials, and making a fast choice based on gut instinct or basic familiarity can cost homeowners a lot of headaches in the long run.
One of the most recognizable siding installation methods is the tongue and groove style, but is tongue and groove log siding the best choice for your home? After reading this article, you may have second thoughts about choosing this easy — and risky — wood siding option.
Take a look at some of the common problems faced by homeowners with tongue and groove log siding. After all, maybe you’re up for the challenge! Chances are that you’ll be ready to explore alternative options in a heartbeat.
Tongue and Groove Installation
Tongue and groove is a traditional plank format that has been used for decades, both inside and outside the home. One edge of the wood plank will have a narrow channel carved out. This recessed channel is called the groove. The other edge of the plank will have a thin tab. This is called the tongue. Tongue and groove log siding is installed by slipping the tongue of a new panel into the groove of a panel already attached to the wall so that the pieces are fixed securely to one another. This installation makes it easy for DIYers and first-time homebuilders to install the siding successfully.
In theory, tongue and groove log siding makes sense, as it provides a way for individual panels to fit together precisely. In practice, however, tongue and groove log siding tends to have many issues because the seams are not airtight. Wood is a fairly fickle material that is sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity, making tongue and groove log siding particularly susceptible to damage.
Gaps, Moisture, and Mold — Oh My!
Warmer temps can cause natural wood to expand, while cooler temps can cause it to shrink. This slight change can take a toll on tongue and groove siding, because the tongue and groove format is not designed to accommodate much give and take. Natural reactions to temperature can cause tiny gaps to form at the seams, which can lead to big issues down the line.
When moisture enters the gaps, it can begin to wreak havoc. Trapped moisture can cause rotting and mold growth, which can significantly weaken the wood beams and expose the home to rodents, insects, and easy air escape, making the home drafty and less energy efficient.
Steel Log Siding Cuts Down the Damage
One alternative to tongue and groove log siding is to use a wood-look steel material that is also easy to install but brings added benefits. Steel log siding, produced by TruLog, can eliminate concerns with a material that isn’t susceptible to moisture damage the way that natural wood is. Since steel is much more durable than natural wood, it simply doesn’t allow gaps to form or damage to occur from moisture or changing temperatures.
In addition, steel log siding has a pretty straightforward installation process, which means that it is a great option for homeowners who are eager to install the siding themselves. Featuring a smart J-channel design, steel log siding essentially creates a smooth and secure installation process but with a much more durable material that won’t warp, buckle, or create dangerous gaps at the seams. All of these advantages add up to less risk and less damage for homeowners to worry about.
Wood Aesthetic With a Major Advantage
When homeowners first hear about steel log siding, they can sometimes be hesitant of how it will look. After all, a log cabin made of gray metal isn’t quite as appealing as a classic log home design. However, it’s important to know that manufacturers like TruLog have developed some of the most beautiful wood-look products available. Natural wood grain patterns, textures, and a wide variety of colors combine to create an extensive selection of steel log siding with the beautiful undertones of natural wood — but with all the huge advantages of steel.
All in all, it’s important to remember that while traditional tongue and groove log siding may seem appealing for its ease of installation and familiarity, it can cause a world of troubles down the line that requires massive upkeep and repair. Before settling with tongue and groove log siding, it may be worthwhile to explore all of the options available with steel log siding, as it can save time and money in the long run.
For more information on a log siding product that is easy to install, contact the siding experts at Trulog today.