LP Smart Siding Feedback

TonySakMay 2, 2011

So I just got a material quote for LP's Smart Siding. Its only like $10 more per foot than Vinyl. Its also can be sold refinished in my area with a 15 year/5 year labor warranty. Does any one see any downsides?

What I don't want to hear is "its glued wood chips" LVL is glued wood chips and its stronger than steel. I know they used to make a poorer quality product. Smart Side seems to be a advanced version of this (did they get the kinks out?)

I'm looking for feedback from people who own it or install it. Thanks for taking the time to respond!

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We have newly installed LP... it's only a couple months old so I can't speak on its durability, but it does come highly recommended by our builder.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 11:09PM
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thanks! Anyone else?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 3:52PM
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Hi Tony...our builder recommended Smart Siding to us. He had seen it at a National Home Builders show and thought it would be a good choice for us. He has installed it for others and they liked it. I'd driven by homes with Smart Siding and they were very nice. If I had wanted a pastel color, we probably would have gone with it. But I personally didn't like their faux cedar look. So we went with Certainteed Impressions.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 4:40PM
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I am looking into siding options as well. Im not a big vinyl fan (although I must admit some of the newer vinyl out there is pretty decent.) I was toying with SmartSide, NuCedar (PVC product I think) or a fiber cement. At this point, ive narrowed it down to SmartSide or NuCedar. Im ordering samples from both companies but I think NuCedar is going to be very expensive. Since I want a painted wood look as opposed to natural wood, im leaning toward SmartSide. The NuCedar in the natural wood look is really above and beyond, as well as for natural wood shingles but for the painted look I dont think there is that much of a diffence and as mentioned, Im pretty sure the price for NuCedar is pretty high. Ive been told the labor costs for Smartside are low and that its durable and relatively low maintenance. I had a friend recently install SmartSide and he looked into the same options. He ruled out NuCedar due to the high cost. SmartSide won over fiber cement as the labor costs for fiber cement were high. He really likes it. Ive talked to a few builders as well who said they would recommend SmartSide over fibercement. No one seems to have much experience with NuCedar as I think the price tag scares most away. Im ordering samples this week for both NuCedar and SmartSide so I think this will help seal the deal.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 3:37PM
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I looked into LP Smartside for a home I built in the Northeast. For about 9 months prior to the build, I (yes I'm serious) soaked it in water, then subjected it to MANY freeze/thaw cycles in the freezer and oven at 150 degrees. I left it soaking in a plan of rainwater outside for many months. At one point I dried it and tried to light it on fire with one of those clickey gas lighters ... it did surprisingly well and would not burn at those temperatures. In the end I found absolutely no problem with it. It did not get mushy, delaminate or crack. Ultimately, however, I ended up going with Hardiplank (which DOES get mushy when you soak it for months in water) because I was "afraid" of the chip board construction. I figured Hardie was a better gamble long term. Overall, I would recommend it highly though.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 12:15PM
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The important issue with siding is not strength but susceptibility to water intrusion and rot. The danger with pressed wood wafer products is that their factory edges are only protected with water repellent chemicals and field cut edges are therefore particularly vulnerable.

SmartSide Lap and Panel siding is a zinc-borate-treated aspen wood oriented-wafer board with a resin saturated paper face and three coats of edge sealer. LP says it has to be painted every 3 to 5 years and that it is "stronger and more rigid" than their infamous hardboard siding product that had to be removed from the market.

It will work well for those willing to maintain it as recommended so the choice will be influenced by whether you want to spend money now or later.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 7:29AM
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We used it on two homes for siding and for soffit and fascia boards. It comparable to Hardi in many ways. I think you will be happy with it. We got the prefinished on one home and the primed on another. To be honest I think the prefinished is a better product but you are limited to color choices.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 10:52AM
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Renovator8: Where do you see it has to be painted every 3-5 years? They prefinished is good for 15 years.

Dreamywhite: Do you know the cost difference between the primed and finished? What was your finished cost per board?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 11:28AM
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Most SmartSide products are pre-primed and only carry a substrate warranty. LP does provide a 5 year finish warranty for pre-finished Smart Side "Foundations" panel siding but it has some important limitations. If the finish fails, LP will pay for the cost of one coat of paint but no more than twice the material cost of the original paneling and they can choose to provide new pre-finished panel siding for you to install.

The original product literature stated that the primed products should be painted every 3 to 5 years. Now they only say that you are required to paint it whenever needed in order to maintain the substrate warranty. So, if it peels, you must paint it.

At best the maintenance of this product is similar to other pre-primed wood siding but it is less likely to rot if the paint finish is not maintained. This is supported by the warranty exclusion of damage from swelling or edge checking because LP claims that is normal for all wood products subjected to climate changes.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 1:28PM
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I just got a quote from a local building supply company for SmartSide. It includes a 15 year warranty with 1 coat of paint and 25 year warranty with 2 coats of paint. Also, for an additional fee, I can get it in a custom color. The SmartSide warranty is seperate from the aforementioned and is 5 and 50 years. Costs for 6" boards with smooth finish (from the foundation series) ranged from $5.93 a board for primed only to $13.49 a board for 2 coats custom color.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 3:08PM
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Avoid two warranties from different companies for the same project; one will usually blame the other for a failure. And read the warranty carefully; there are often requirements for owner maintenance and prorated material only payouts. Warranties can be useful if a product is defective and fails in the first few years but the only thing that will protect you in the long run is a good product installed properly and maintained well. There are no maintenance-free building materials in the real world.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 8:22AM
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obmezd....is that price per s/f?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 10:08PM
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From LP's 5/50 year warranty:

a) during the first 5 years from the date of installation, pay an amount equal to the cost (as established by an independent construction cost estimator, such as R. S.
Means) of repairing or replacing any Product(s) that fails to comply with the provisions of Paragraph 1, above, or

b) during the 6th through the 49th years from the date of installation, pay an amount equal to the cost of similar wood based replacement product, (no labor or other charges shall be paid) less an annual pro rata reduction of 2.22% per year (6th year, 2.22%; 7th year, 4.44%, etc.) such that from and after the 50th year the amount payable under this warranty will be zero.

So, if the siding fails after the first 5 years, you receive a check for between 98% and 0% of the material cost of a similar product as long as the failure was not due to your negligence, failure to follow the installation instructions, termites, acts of God, or SWELLING OR EDGE CHECKING. [emphasis mine]

Swelling and/or edge checking and subsequent rotting is what caused other "engineered" (glued together) wood wafer siding products to fail in the past, incur class action law suits, and be withdrawn from the market. LP was one of the worst offenders in this ugly saga.

LP has finally solved the rot problem with a Borate preservative and they solved the swelling/checking problem by simply excluding claims for damage due to swelling and/or checking and stating that: "Such swelling and/or checking normally occurs in all wood products as they expand and contract in response to changes in climactic conditions."

The 5/50 warranty is only transferable to the first and second property owners.

A warranty is never a substitute for good quality design and manufacturing. If you plan to own a house for a long time, the most relevant rule is "pay me now, or pay me later".

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 8:34AM
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Robin 0919 - The cost is per board. The boards being priced out were 6in x 16in. The exact cost quotes were as follows, all for the smooth version:

Primed: $5.93
1 Coat Stock Paint: $10.95
2 Coats Stock Paint: $12.25
1 Coat Custom Paint: $12.21
2 Coats Custom Paint: $13.49

Im still waiting on quotes for my overall house for the 6" boards but for 8" boards with a 7 1/4" exposure, the overall quotes were as follows: 2 coats stock paint: about $5,300 and primed: about $2,700. Hope this helps!

Renovator8: The warranty I was referencing for the 15 and 25 year on the paint was not from LP but from the retailer who paints the boards.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 12:26PM
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I can't imagine how you could enforce a claim for failure of the paint if it is applied by a company other than the manufacturer of the siding. But if you want to do it that way please find the text of the paint warranty and post it here.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 6:59PM
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I ended up going with Monogram Siding. The price for smart side was just about the same price has fiberboard installed. Azec trim made everything more expensive too.

I agree about the warranties. The 2 companies will just point fingers at each other. Also its not the material that is the big expense, its the labor. So even if LP dropped off a Pallet of primed replacement smart siding. You still need to pay to have it installed, then painted.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 9:42AM
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Vinyl siding is probably a better choice in the long run but I will never understand why they give it a "TrueTexture⢠rough cedar finish" as if that was a desirable feature.

In the better grades, cedar clapboard siding has always been as smooth a baby's cheek. That's why aluminum and steel siding still looks so much better than vinyl siding even though it is usually decades older.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 6:20PM
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I agree I would have much rather the smooth finish. The texture looks cinchy. Thanks for your input on this matter.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 7:38PM
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Renovator8 - Im still waiting on the warranty information and probably will get it in the next week or two but when I do, ill pass on. Im still doing my research on the different products and right now, NuCedar is my favorite, the samples were soooo nice but the price is pretty high (my house is small and the quote was $15,000+ just for siding, no labor nor trim). My heads all over the place and I pretty much change my mind every other day.

TonySak - What was the cost for Monogram? Also, is it vinyl? For some reason, Im thinking its a Certainteed product? I agree, im not of fan of the textured finish.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 10:31PM
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I came across this while researching siding and I would love to hear from obmezd and TonySak what they ended up getting for siding and if they are still happy with their decision. We do not want to get vinyl, not even the newer kind. From reading and researching I liked SmartSide.

Would love to hear some opinions :)

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 12:06PM
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I love it. Be mindful of Rens emphasis about sealing cut ends of course this is true for just about any siding material. Also research rainscreeens as they are probably the best strategy for extending the life of siding and their finishes.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 12:29PM
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We just went with Smartside too. Our builder didn't like fiber cement b/c he's had to repair alot of it. We asked him to do Smartside and after having it put up he was really thrilled with it and sent a lot of customers over to take a look at it.
Although, my parents have james hardie fiber cement that we primed and painted both sides and had the cut ends painted when it was going up and my parents never had a problem with it. We went with Smartside b/c of the price...hope it holds up!
I put together some more info about our limited experience with it on my blog if you are interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cost of LP Smartside vs Fiber Cement vs Brick vs Vinyl

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 1:56PM
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Those of you who've used Smartside - did you use the planks or 4x8 sheets? Thoughts on pros and cons of each?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 10:33AM
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I just went with Certainteed Monogram, it is vinyl, but it looks great. I had Hardie board put on my last home and did not like it, it wasn't good for a rehab project. The walls were not level and it showed all of the curves. Also, I did not like the seams, had to have the guys face nail some to just keep them flat against the wall. It sounds to me like LP SmartSide is really just another form of wood, that eventually you will need to maintain like Cedar. If you like wood, go for it. Don't expect to not have to maintain it for 20+ years.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2014 at 11:22PM
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I'm a retired finish carpenter, US Northwest coast. I put primed 8" Smartside on my own two-story house three summers ago.

I chose to vent the wall behind the siding. That took a bit of time. I then pre-painted each piece with one coat of SW Superpaint, rolled and back-brushed, and then did a second coat once the siding was on the wall, also rolled and back-brushing. I primed all nail heads before the final coat. I flashed behind every joint and caulked every seam with OSI. I faced nailed every board by hand to eliminate overdriving the nails; no air nailer was used on the siding.

It took 400 hours by myself, working evenings and weekends, but that also included tearing off layers of old siding, fixing the sheathing, replacing the soffits, replacing all the windows, and building a new front porch, so it wasn't a normal siding job.

This summer, for the first time, I checked all caulked seams for shrinkage and cut out and re-caulked and painted small sections around four windows and three joints on the west and south walls. The siding and joints everywhere else looked as pristine as the day it was installed. I have absolutely no complaints or concerns with my decision to go with this brand of siding.

One final thing, I left a unpainted 1-inch triangle-shaped piece out on the patio exposed to the weather the summer I did the job. It's still sitting there. The edges have swelled only slightly and cracked slightly, but I still can't chip even a small piece from the edge with my fingernail. I'm beginning to think it's indestructible.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2014 at 12:41AM
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