wood siding

Misconceptions About Wood Siding

In the world of home exteriors, few materials possess the timeless charm and natural allure of wood siding. Wood siding has adorned homes for generations by evoking a sense of warmth, character, and sophistication that is difficult to replicate with other building materials. However, amid its growing popularity, wood siding has become a subject of misinformation and misconceptions passed around over time.

In this article, we will dispel the seven most prevalent and unwarranted myths that have overshadowed this classic building material. 


  • Pine is a cost-effective choice for exterior wood siding

While pine may appear cost-effective at first glance, its use as exterior siding has proven to be costly over the past half-century. Unlike the slow-growth pine of centuries past, today’s fast-growth pine lacks the resin concentrations that provided natural protection against rot and insects. 

As a result, modern pine siding is highly susceptible to rot, cupping, and decay. Choosing the cheapest option might seem appealing, but cutting corners now may lead to exorbitant expenses later.
Though investing in superior materials like cedar may be pricier upfront, it ensures durability and longevity. This ultimately saves you from costly repairs down the road. 

Remember that doing it right the first time always outweighs the long-term consequences of choosing cheaper alternatives.


  • Weathering your cedar naturally is a good approach

While the weathered silver-gray appearance of cedar siding may seem like a beautiful natural process, it is, in fact, an artful illusion. The truth is that exposure to the sun’s UV rays gradually degrades wood fibers. That’s what causes the silver effect we admire. 

However, this sun-induced degradation weakens the siding and makes it vulnerable to damage over time. Most people don’t know that wood naturally absorbs and releases moisture. This often leads to constant shrinking and swelling, eroding the wood fibers. This erosion process causes knots to fall out and tongues to pop from grooves. 

To make it worse, today’s market compounds this issue. Most trees available in today’s market are younger trees with fewer growth rings, and due to their few growth rings, they have more space for water to penetrate through.

To achieve the coveted weathered look while preserving your siding’s integrity, consider creating a careful balance. For instance, bleaching oils offer a suitable solution. 

They safeguard the wood from moisture while lending a weathered-gray hue. This is why experts recommend the combination of weathering stain and bleaching oil for best results, especially when dealing with rough-textured faces. 

Embracing this approach will ensure an authentic, natural weathered look without compromising the siding’s long-term stability.


  • The local lumber clerk is always right

It’s a common misconception to rely on the local lumber yard clerk for expert advice on wood siding. In reality, these clerks often lack in-depth knowledge about wood products. Hence, their recommendations may not be the best. 

In cases where you cannot find the particular wood siding type, grade, pattern, or size you desire, the clerk resorts to consulting several wholesalers, distributors, and mills. Going through this communication chain introduces the risk of miscommunication and mistakes at any point.

And as we have it today with the evolving industry standards such as the use of younger trees which impacts wood preparation, making an informed decision is crucial. Siding selection, preparation, or installation mistakes can result in costly repairs.

In summary, precision matters in the realm of wood siding. Hence, you cannot afford to take chances as it can lead to exorbitant consequences. So, instead of rolling the dice, try to be well-informed and well-prepared before making decisions. Remember, knowledge is the key to success when it comes to wood siding, and the stakes are too high to gamble with your investment.


  • You can just tack the siding up and stain the face

One of the most common yet disastrous misconceptions is installing wood siding without proper finishing. Merely tacking up the siding and staining the face can lead to severe consequences, including wood rot and the attraction of wood-destroying insects. 

Wood naturally absorbs water, and when left unfinished, it creates a moisture trap behind the siding. So when you stain the face, you are further hindering the escape of water, eventually leading to moisture accumulation and decay. Even cedar and redwood are not immune to rot when exposed to prolonged water. You must apply proper finishing to preserve your wood siding’s longevity and integrity.


  • Your builder or painter can finish your wood siding on-site better than a factory

Believing a builder or painter can outdo a factory finish is a risky misconception. Even skilled professionals inside a warehouse cannot match the precision and consistency of a factory finish machine. These machines ensure a uniform film thickness throughout the entire production run. While at it, they control drying racks and protect thousands of feet of wood in an ideal environment.

Hence, opting for on-site finishing to save costs poses significant dangers to your entire building. For instance, failing to seal all six sides of the wood makes it more vulnerable to rot and insect damage. 

Although your builder may attempt to finish the wood perfectly, unpredictable field conditions can lead to improper absorption and subsequent siding failure. Along the line, you risk incurring excess expenses if any issue arises. You should, therefore, learn to trust the factory finish to avoid jeopardizing your investment. 


  • Lumber yard materials match mill-level quality

Assuming that the wood available at the local lumber yard matches the quality of the original mill level is a misguided belief. At the lumber yard, customers become amateur “graders,” sifting through the pile to find the best boards. 

Unfortunately, the lumber yard doesn’t typically sort through the pile to ensure superior quality. So the options you pick from are a mishmash of rejected boards.

Furthermore, wood stored outdoors experiences the same stresses as in a house. Over time, they experience the same degradation due to moisture-induced contraction and expansion. 

Also, grading standards are subject to interpretation. This leads to vast discrepancies in the same grade across different lumber companies. 

For instance, the “Clear” grade might allow two knots per board, but a “worst-case scenario” interpretation would still provide mostly knot-free boards. Meanwhile, a “what can we get away with” approach may result in every board having knots.

To ensure consistent quality, go for custom-selected, milled, and directly shipped wood. They are superior, and since they are shipped directly, they offer a single point of contact. This allows for better accountability and satisfaction.


  • All installers are the same

One of the biggest misconceptions in wood siding projects is assuming that all installers possess the same level of expertise. 99% of reported wood siding issues stem from installation errors. Ensuring your installer is well-versed in the specific siding pattern and follows proper guidelines meticulously is crucial.

Inexperienced installers may fail to grasp certain patterns’ nuances, often resulting in improper installations. While installation is not rocket science, it requires skill and attention to detail. Homeowners must diligently select an installer who cares enough to do the job correctly.



Longhouse Cedar is a company at the forefront of providing top-quality, custom-cut cedar products. We prioritize sustainable forestry, proving that aesthetics and eco-friendliness can go hand-in-hand in home construction and design. It’s time to dispel the myths about cedar siding and embrace its unique, warm, and natural beauty for your home. Contact us at 1-250-248-5887 today.