Deciding what material or product to use to side your home with could arguably be one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a homeowner. Your siding plays an important role in keeping your home safe from the elements, while also creating that crucial first impression known as curb appeal.

Wood siding has long been considered the standard when it comes to siding materials. Its versatility and appearance are what drive many homeowners to want that look for their own properties. But wood can be hard to maintain, requiring a lot of maintenance and repair over its lifetime, which in turn can often lead to higher costs and a diminished appearance.

For this reason, many homeowners inevitably turn to wood-look sidings to get the appearance they want, but with lower maintenance and better durability. TruLog steel siding and LP SmartSide engineered wood siding are two options that you may want to consider. Both are designed to give you the appearance of wood, while outperforming it in every way. In comparison, though, it’s easy to see that they aren’t equal, which can help you determine which will be right for your home.

TruLog Steel Siding

TruLog vs. LP SmartSide 1

TruLog steel siding is a unique product designed to give your home either the look of a log cabin or a board-and-batten clad home. Their products are made from 28 or 26 gauge steel, which has a 1-inch foam insulation backing that is coated in a modified polyester finish to give it the appearance of real wood. This finish comes in up to 8 colors, and resists fading, peeling, or chipping, so there’s less maintenance than real wood. 

The material comes with a 30-year warranty, and is flame, insect, and moisture resistant. This makes it a durable choice for homes located in disaster-prone areas such as those affected by wildfires or high rainfall. 

LP SmartSide

TruLog vs. LP SmartSide 2

LP SmartSide is an engineered wood siding. At its heart are wood fibers that are coated with wax, and mixed with resins and binders, as well as a zinc-borate mixture that helps discourage insect activity. The entire mixture is very tightly compressed into planks and shingles of several sizes, which helps give it more durability than real wood. 

The material has a 5/50 year warranty, although this warranty is invalid in areas that see heavy rainfall. It comes in a very wide range of colors, but the finish is not always applied by LP, and therefore can’t be guaranteed free of defects. 

While the material is considered insect and moisture resistant, and is flame resistant up to one hour, these attributes all have their limits. Any trimmed or cut areas of the board are susceptible to moisture, and the material does require repainting every 3 – 10 years. Prior to repainting, the material is susceptible to moisture problems, with the same issues that wood can face, including warping, softening, and rotting. While it can resist flames for up to 1 hour, it’s not the best choice for homes in wildfire prone areas, as the heat from a wildfire can exceed the limits of the siding. 

Pros and Cons of Each Material

When comparing two materials, it can help to take a look at their positive and negative attributes. All materials have attributes that may or may not work for you, and comparing some attributes that seem like cons can even be positive in comparison to other materials – for example, you may need to repaint engineered wood siding, but far less often than wood. 

TruLog Pros

  • Steel is highly durable, resisting denting, cracking, and other impacts
  • Steel resists insect activity naturally
  • Steel is flame retardant and non-combustible
  • Comes with a 30-year warranty
  • Log-look siding comes with a foam insulation backing
  • Does not require sealing
  • Resists peeling, chipping, and flaking
  • Requires no repainting or other maintenance

TruLog Cons

  • Limited styles – no horizontal lap siding or shingles at this time
  • Currently up to 8 colors are available

LP SmartSide Pros

  • Resists insect activity and fungus
  • Comes with a 5/50 year warranty
  • Many colors and color finishes to choose from
  • Very long planks available to diminish seams
  • Several size planks and shingles to choose from

LP SmartSide Cons

  • Needs to be repainted every 3 -10 years
  • Color can crack, fade, or peel
  • Cut edges and fasteners may be susceptible to moisture
  • No included insulation
  • Only flame retardant for 1 hour
  • Not warrantied in areas with high rainfall or moisture levels including the Northwest U.S.

Choose the Lowest Maintenance Option for Your Home

TruLog vs. LP SmartSide 3

Whether you want a classic or a rustic appearance for your home, only TruLog can give you a completely maintenance-free exterior. You don’t need to paint it, scrape it, or seal it like wood or engineered wood. It will naturally resist fire and moisture as well as insect activity, and with the durability of steel, plus the foam backing, you’ll have a high quality exterior that will enhance the comfort of your interior at the same time. 

Opt for the siding that’s going to get you the biggest benefits, and choose TruLog steel siding to get a truly maintenance-free home exterior.

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