LP SmartSide siding: a buyer’s guide

Image source: BlueLinx

Chris Gennone

By Chris Gennone

May 7, 2021

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While James Hardie fiber cement siding and vinyl siding are among two of the most popular siding options, LP SmartSide siding is slowly becoming more popular among homeowners due to its close resemblance to real wood and easy installation.

LP SmartSide siding is an engineered wood siding coated in a specific type of wax that protects against moisture. Zinc and resin bonds are also added to prevent the siding from insect infestations and rotting and give the siding a more traditional wood appearance. Let's discuss the several types of LP SmartSide products and the differences between them and fiber cement siding, and determine whether LP SmartSide is right for you.

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LP SmartSide products

LP’s SmartSide trim and siding products include lap siding, trim and fascia, shakes, vertical and panel siding, and soffit. Let’s take a look at each and see what’s right for you.

Get in touch with a local contractor about LP SmartSide siding.

Lap siding

LP SmartSide lap siding

Image source: Southwestern Exteriors

LP features two different styles of lap siding: cedar texture and smooth finish. Both styles are available in different sizes and 16 prefinished siding colors. LP's SmartSide building products are treated with the proprietary SmartGuard process featuring several components of protection against impact, freezing, humidity, fungal decay, and termites.

If you plan on following installation instructions and doing it yourself, keep in mind that the lap siding should not come into contact with any stucco, stone, or brick. This is because those materials are prone to moisture, which can damage the SmartSide siding. You won't need any special tools since this siding cuts like real wood, but you will need a nail gun and the ASTM C920, Class 25 sealant you can find at most big department stores for siding installation. For just over 2,000 square feet of coverage, you can buy LP SmartSide lap siding from Home Depot or Lowe's for anywhere between $10-$20.

Trim and fascia

LP SmartSide trim and fascia

Image source: Home Depot

LP's trim and fascia are available in three different styles, including cedar texture, smooth finish, and primed one-piece outside corners. These corners also help prevent water leaks and seam separations. The SmartSide trim and fascia are available in 16 prefinished colors and come in several different widths and thicknesses.

These 16-foot trim and fascia boards make it easy to install with fewer seams and narrow widths. You can find LP trim boards at Lowe's for around $20 each.

Shakes

LP SmartSide shakes

Image source: Architect Magazine

If you're looking for siding that resembles cedar shakes and shingles, LP's SmartSide shakes are available with either staggered or straight edges, providing a more textured appearance. These shakes come with shiplap ends, allowing them to connect to each other. You can cut the shakes to size and install yourself with a nail gun. Covering about three square feet each, you can buy LP SmartSide shakes at Menards for about $10 per piece.

Panels and vertical siding

LP SmartSide vertical siding

Image source: Lowe's

LP's SmartSide panels are available in two different styles featuring cedar textures and smooth finish panels. These panels feature shiplap edges which make them easy to install yourself and eliminate excess waste. You'll be able to cover 32 square feet of your home with each panel for $40 per piece from The Home Depot. SmartSide 16-inch vertical siding has the same appearance of panels and battens and costs about the same amount at Menards per piece.

Soffit

LP SmartSide soffit

Image source: Menards

LP SmartSide soffits are available in three styles including cedar texture, smooth finish, and vented. These soffits make it easy to accommodate your project and are pre-cut to the exact width you need. While vented soffits cost a bit more, they are treated with SmartGuard, which protects them from any bugs and termites. You can find vented soffits at Menards for about $30 apiece and the other styles for around $26 per piece.

LP SmartSide vs. fiber cement siding

LP SmartSide and fiber cement siding side by side

Image source: Lakeside

Durability

LP SmartSide - Although LP SmartSide lap siding is durable and incredibly impact resistant, it is not fireproof and will burn like real wood in the event of a house fire. On the plus side, LP SmartSide does not dent as easily as fiber cement and its wax coating protects the siding from moisture.

Fiber cement siding - Made from heavy-duty materials like cement and cellulose fibers, fiber cement siding is incredibly durable, resistant to hail and termites, and can even last as long as your home's lifetime. Unfortunately, though, fiber cement siding can chip and crack over time.

Cost

LP SmartSide - One of LP SmartSide siding's biggest advantages is its low-cost range of $5-$10 per square foot. Due to their lightweight materials, they're easier and cheaper to install.

Fiber cement siding - Fiber cement siding can be expensive, costing up to $25 per square foot for materials alone. Due to its weight, fiber cement siding could cost you more in labor charges.

Maintenance

A homeowner performance maintenance on their LP SmartSide siding

Image source: LPCorp

LP SmartSide - While maintenance for engineered wood siding is easy, it does require a little TLC. In addition to having it inspected every couple of years, it's important to give your siding a good wash and an occasional fresh coat of paint.

Fiber cement siding - Fiber cement siding is prone to moisture and also requires a little bit of maintenance, including repainting and caulking to prevent damage. Fortunately, though, you won't have to worry about issues like wood rot or insect infestations.

Warranties

LP SmartSide - LP features a prorated 50-year limited warranty for its siding products, which covers any defects for the first five years. Following that, the warranty reduces by 2.2% each year.

Fiber cement siding - James Hardie siding features a non-prorated 30-year warranty for all of their products and a non-prorated 15-year warranty for its trim products. All manufacturing and workmanship defects are covered.

Styles

Styles of LP SmartSide siding

Image source: Hillside Lumber

LP SmartSide - LP SmartSide is available in two different styles of lap siding which closely resemble natural cedar textures and either arrive prefinished or painted after installation.

Fiber cement siding - James Hardie's fiber cement siding is available in six different styles of lap siding and four different styles of vertical siding with a large selection of colors, thanks to its ColorPlus technology.

Pros and cons of LP SmartSide siding

LP SmartSide siding on a residential home

Image source: Legacy Restoration

Pros of LP SmartSide siding

Impact and water resistant - Because of LP's SmartGuard, the SmartSide siding is coated in water-resistant wax, zinc borate, and adhesive resins which protect against impact. The siding is also bonded with a resin-saturated overlay, which also resists excess moisture.

Closer resemblance to real wood - While both fiber cement and LP SmartSide both resemble real wood, the SmartSide is made from actual wood strands and has a closer feel.

Lightweight and easy to install - LP SmartSide is incredibly lightweight, which makes it easy to transfer, cut, and install. The extra length creates less of an opportunity to break and each piece comes pre-primed, so you'll be able to paint them right away.

Cost-effective - While fiber cement siding can cost up to $25 per square foot plus installation costs, LP SmartSide typically costs up to $10 per square foot and is possible to install yourself without any siding contractors.

Cons of LP SmartSide siding

Warranties - While LP's warranty compares closely to James Hardie's fiber cement warranty, it still falls short. LP SmartSide's warranty is for 50 years, but it's also prorated and reduces by 2.2% every year after the first five years. James Hardie's warranty is only for 30 years, but it's non-prorated for all of their products.

Prone to cracking - Due to the coatings on the LP SmartSide siding, they can flake and crack over time and require a new coat of paint every few years or so.

LP SmartSide siding on a line of residential homes

Image source: Lakeland Building Supply

If you’re looking to install siding for your home, you’re probably familiar with either vinyl or fiber cement. But LP SmartSide is becoming more popular with homeowners due to its close resemblance to natural wood, cheaper materials, and easy installation. Though it doesn’t have the same warranty protection as James Hardie’s fiber cement siding does and may require some occasional maintenance, LP SmartSide is a great siding option that can increase curb appeal and doesn’t require professional installers.

Find a reputable contractor near you.

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