As a homeowner, you are probably not spending a lot of time worrying about the exterior siding of your home, if at all. This is understandable as there are more than enough things to worry about in your life, such as work and family responsibilities.
However, siding is an important component of any house. It affects the aesthetic appeal of your home and serves as the first line of defense against the elements such as rain, snow, hail, and other forms of extreme weather.
At DMG Exteriors, we offer siding repair and installation, among other exterior services, so we get a lot of questions about which siding is best. We’ve decided to make a comparison between LP Smartside engineered wood siding and vinyl siding, two of the most popular choices in the U.S.
But first, what is LP siding? It is home siding made by Louisiana-Pacific (LP) Corporation. What is LP SmartSide made of? A combination of these and other materials:
- Chipped wood treated with a compound containing zinc borate to protect it against termites and fungus
- A sophisticated resin formula
- A coating of wood binders for strength and moisture resistance
- An edge coating for weather resistance
- An overlay that makes it easier to paint
The Durability of LP Wood vs. Vinyl Siding
After cost, one of the most important factors to consider when comparing LP SmartSide vs. vinyl siding is durability. Every homeowner wants to know that their investment is going to last a long time.
LP siding is incredibly resistant to environmental wear and tear, especially when it comes to moisture. This makes LP siding a great choice in all climates, hot or cold. It is also highly impact-resistant, meaning it is less likely to break from baseballs, large hail, and the like.
Vinyl, particularly heavy gauge vinyl, is becoming increasingly popular due to its durable qualities. Vinyl doesn’t dent very easily and is rather flexible. Vinyl is also highly scratch-resistant, particularly in the first few years, and it holds up well in a wide variety of environments.
There are circumstances where vinyl can crack or break, such as in a cold environment or from a particularly hard wind gust. This can allow moisture to seep into your walls if not repaired.
Maintenance Needs of LP Wood vs. Vinyl Siding
No matter what kind of siding you have on your home, you need to properly maintain it if you are going to get the most out of it. Both LP wood siding and vinyl will need to be washed, which keeps your home looking great and removes harmful debris that can cause mold and mildew to grow.
This aside, vinyl does have several advantages over LP wood when it comes to maintenance. While both materials can retain their colors for years, vinyl will tend to retain its hue for longer since its colors run throughout the material.
Conversely, LP wood siding requires repainting every so often to keep it looking great. It also is not recommended to have any water spraying onto LP siding, from a sprinkler for example, as that makes for a higher chance of mold and mildew.
When it comes to replacement, both materials can be easily replaced, although there are still distinct differences. Vinyl is generally cheaper, while LP SmartSide siding is less likely to warp or break during installation. In either case, you may wish to hire a professional.
Energy efficiency is an important factor to consider when comparing LP SmartSide vs. vinyl siding. Not only can siding protect your home from the elements when properly installed, but these materials can also serve as a layer of insulation by making your walls airtight. This reduces your energy bill and puts less stress on your AC and furnace.
Building materials are given an R-value, which is a measurement of how well that material resists the conductive flow of heat or how well it insulates. Vinyl and LP wood siding have similar R-values (around .6), with LP siding having the edge. This means that no matter which material you pick, it can serve as additional insulation.
However, you can opt to install insulated vinyl which comes with a foam core backing. This will have an increased R-value of 2-5, and you will have siding that looks more uniform and offers significant noise cancellation. The downside is that insulated vinyl tends to be more expensive, due in part to how difficult it can be to install perfectly.
Variety and Colors for LP Siding and Vinyl
Both LP wood and vinyl sidings are customizable, allowing you to choose between several textures and colors. Of the two, vinyl has a much wider variety of styles:
- Dutch lap
LP SmartSide siding also comes in several styles, such as shakes and lap siding. A significant advantage of LP wood is that it offers superior wood-like textures, which is immensely popular among homeowners. LP siding can also be made with a smooth texture.
Both materials come in a variety of hues to choose from. As previously stated, vinyl colors go all the way through siding, while LP siding is painted.
LP wood is generally easier to repaint than vinyl siding. Some vinyl is unable to be repainted, meaning you’ll have to replace it when the colors fade, while any LP SmartSide siding can be repainted.
Environmental Impact of LP Wood and Vinyl
If you are concerned with the environmental impact of your siding, the comparison of LP wood vs. vinyl siding becomes cut and dried. LP Smartside siding is far more environmentally friendly than vinyl.
Part of the reason for this is that LP siding requires very little energy to produce. Also, LP siding consists mostly of wood, meaning that it is recyclable. It can be melted down and reused rather than sitting in a landfill.
In contrast, vinyl siding requires more energy to produce as it requires PVC. When PVC is made, it releases harmful toxins like dioxin in the atmosphere. PVC doesn’t break down either, which is one reason why vinyl lasts as long as it does. But, this means vinyl may just sit in a landfill once it’s disposed of.
Vinyl is recyclable, but finding a vinyl recycler is not as easy as finding an LP wood siding recycler, and you need to separate foam insulation and nails. You can check the Vinyl Institute’s recycling map to see if there’s a recycler near you. In addition, some landfills serve as collection points for vinyl recyclers.
Costs of Vinyl and LP Wood
Generally speaking, vinyl costs less than LP siding to install professionally. However, several factors will impact the price:
- Material thickness
- Home location
In the end, the cost of installation will depend largely upon your preferences.
Ask a Professional
If you are wondering which material siding is best for your home, contact us today. At DMG Exteriors, we are committed to delivering top-quality work and service. This means that we will be upfront about the state of your home exterior as well as your available options.
We also offer a variety of financing services, as we believe that you should be able to afford the services you need to protect your home and family.