When it comes to low-maintenance siding, there are many options on the market today. Fiber cement, metal and vinyl sidings are all popular choices. In this article, we will compare those with TruExterior and LP SmartSide low-maintenance sidings to see which one makes the most sense for your customers and your business.
What is Low-Maintenance Siding?
Low maintenance siding is any product that requires very little attention from the homeowner to keep it in good condition. Typically, no maintenance refers to occasional power washing to remove dirt and mold build-up. However, some low-maintenance siding products require more attention than others.
Some need regular painting, others require special care to avoid moisture intrusion, and some options can be easily dented or broken. They may all fall under the category of low to no maintenance, but a careful look at each option will help you decide on the best siding for your customers.
The Different Types of Low-Maintenance Siding Available
Vinyl and Aluminum Siding
Vinyl and aluminum siding was the first truly maintenance-free siding product available and are still popular budget-friendly options. Sold in a standard lap siding configuration or a dutch lap pattern, vinyl and aluminum siding is easy to install, goes up quickly and offers positive curb appeal as soon as it's installed. These options never require painting — but they also can’t be painted if you grow tired of the original color.
Because homeowners can’t paint over the original color, the look can become dated over time, decreasing the home’s value. In addition, if the siding is old, it is difficult to color match, and the repair can look like a patch job.
Another drawback to vinyl and aluminum siding is that it can dent or break easily by natural events like hail storms or heavy winds throwing debris at the house. Today, these siding products are more popular in the mobile and tract home market than in the custom sector.
Fiber cement siding is offered under numerous names, but most products are composed of the same materials: portland cement, sand, water and cellulose fibers. They are formed in a mold with an embossed wood grain finish and can replicate the look of wood siding. Over time, the different manufacturers have extended the look to include various wood patterns and offer them in both a smooth and textured wood finish.
Fiber cement is not totally maintenance-free, as it will require repainting over time—but it offers many advantages over wood:
- In its natural state, fiber cement offers some water resistance
- It doesn’t rot
- It is more stable under changing weather/temperature conditions
- It is not prone to cracking, warping and splitting
- It is readily accessible on the open market
However, fiber cement is heavy, will easily break if not carried correctly and requires all cut ends to be caulked or painted before installation. Fiber cement can absorb moisture under certain conditions, which can lead to early material failure.
Steel siding has taken off in popularity among contractors and homeowners because of its versatility, durability and simplicity of installation. The availability of a wide range of steel siding panel profiles has helped propel this growth. Metal panels can be used as siding to create modern, classic and industrial styles, making it a popular choice for all types of buildings. Additionally, metal requires little maintenance, making it a practical choice for those who want an attractive and low-maintenance exterior.
However, the ease of installation only applies to those with product experience. Steel is not installed in a similar fashion as wood, so there is a learning curve to get past before profitability will show.
Benefits of TruExterior and LP SmartSide Low-Maintenance Sidings Over Other Options
TruExterior and LP SmartSide are true composite sidings, and each is manufactured with unique properties that differentiate it from the other low-maintenance sidings in the marketplace.
TruExterior siding and trim are similar to fiber cement, but with a major difference. TruExterior’s main ingredients are fly ash and polymers instead of portland cement and sand, giving them a strong advantage in the area of water resistance and dimensional stability — fly ash is inert and inorganic and reacts minimally with changes in the weather and humidity.
TruExterior siding and trim products are rated for ground contact, which eliminates the issues associated with delamination when the lower areas of siding absorb moisture from rain.
This composite can be nailed close to the edge, does not require the cut ends to be painted and is available in both 12’ and 16’ lengths.
LP SmartSide has been around for more than two decades and is a leader in the composite siding market. Often described as OSB siding, SmartSide is much more than chips of wafer board glued together. The manufacturing process is called “engineered wood strand technology”. It involves combining alternately layered wood chips coated with special resins, waxes and zinc borate to produce an engineered wood siding product that is water-resistant, termite-resistant and offers superior protection against hail, wind and fungal decay, all while being aesthetically pleasing.
SmartSide looks like wood because it is wood. It is manufactured in 16’ lengths, which means fewer seams and faster installation times. In addition, installers can work with it like any other wood product using tools already on the jobsite. And unlike some fiber cement products, one person can carry multiple sticks without breaking them.
The real story behind SmartSide is the 50-year limited warranty. For the first five years, for any material defect that is covered, LP will replace the siding, material and labor. For the next 45 years, the material is covered on a prorated basis.
SmartSide is also available in a prefinished product called ExpertFinish® siding and trim. It carries a five-year labor and material warranty, a 15-year warranty on the finish and the regular 50-year SmartSide warranty offered by LP.
U.S. LUMBER Supplies the Best Siding Products on the Market
At U.S. LUMBER, we have been providing superior customer service to building materials suppliers for over 30 years, and we have offices across the nation that make regular stops to over 15,000 locations. Our product lines include names like LP, Trex®, Wild Hog® and many more.
Contact us today and speak with one of our specialists about expanding our current product selection with you. If you want to become one of our customers, please reach out.