Choosing the right wood siding for your home can be a little stressful. You like the natural look of wooden siding, but if you've never installed or maintained it, you're sure to have some important questions. What kind looks best? Which type will last the longest? There are multiple options to select from, but is pine a good choice?
Pine is known to be a good choice of wood for exterior siding. While there are advantages and disadvantages to using any type of wooden siding, the advantages of pine far outweigh the disadvantages. Pine siding is durable, warp- and rot-resistant, and affordable. These features make it a popular choice for those that are considering wooden siding for their homes.
Now that you know that pine is a good choice for exterior siding, you might have other questions regarding the use of this type of wood for the exterior of your home. How long does pine siding last? How should the pine boards be prepped before they are installed? Will this wood darken over time? We've done thorough research and have provided the answers to these questions and more in this post. Keep reading to learn what we've discovered.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Pine
As we mentioned earlier in the post, there are pros and cons that are associated with any type of wood that's used for siding. We've broken down everything good and bad about using pine as a siding so that your decision might be made a little easier.
One of the most warp-resistant woods on the market
Will not rot as quickly as many other kinds of wood used for siding
The cost of pine lumber is much lower than other wood
Relatively quick and easy to install
Great natural look
Extensive amount of prep work
Failure to treat knots properly can result in knots being much darker than the rest of the board
While durable, still less durable than cedar
Lots of ongoing maintenance; stained every two to three years or painted every four to five years
Neglecting the maintenance subjects it to wood rot and damage from termites and woodpeckers
Can tongue and groove pine be used outside?
While tongue and groove cut pine is most commonly used for interior walls, it is suitable for your exterior siding needs. Before you commit yourself to using this style, you'll want to be aware of several things first.
Tongue and groove pine is normally installed vertically. Knowing this, you'll need to make sure that you attach horizontal furring strips to the top and bottom of the pine boards so that they are held securely in place. These furring strips should be installed on top of the weatherproofing barriers. This will add additional life to your exterior pine siding.
How long does pine siding last?
How long your pine siding lasts will depend on several factors. These variables are mostly in your control, although one is in nature's hands.
If you want to make sure you get the most life out of your pine siding, be sure to thoroughly prepare the pine prior to it being installed. Sand it well and apply the right sealers. For more information about how to treat and stain pine boards, there will be more detailed information later in this post.
Prepping the wood is an important variable that you can control. But you can also make the pine siding last longer by picking out quality pine boards for the job. Avoid ones with big cracks or large knotholes. You'll spend more money up front for the quality, but save so much more in replacement costs.
The one variable outside of your control is the weather. No matter the type of wood siding, moisture and drastic swings in temperature will cause your wood siding to warp and rot. Pine, although a softwood, is fairly warp- and rot-resistant. However, it's not as durable as cedar.
All factors taken into consideration, you can expect pine siding to last at least 20 years. You'll be able to enjoy it for much longer if you use quality wood and have treated and maintained it according to standard.
How do you treat (or stain) pine siding?
To get the most out of treating or staining your pine siding boards, prep work is extremely important. Failure to do it right will considerably lessen the life of the wood, or force you to redo it after it's already been hung.
First, you should thoroughly sand the pine boards, using a 100 grit sandpaper. Using an orbital sander will work, but remember that you've got a lot of boards to sand. Make sure you've got a quality one that's meant for big jobs.
After you've sanded the pine boards and removed the sawdust, you'll want to treat the wood with benzole or alcohol first, so that the pores of the wood open up. Use a soft cloth and dampen it with either the alcohol or the benzole. Let the liquid soak into the wood for at least 30 minutes.
Fill and seal any cracks or knotholes. Treat any knotholes with a 1:1 solution of lintseed oil and turpentine. This will keep the knotholes from absorbing more of the paint or stain than the rest of the boards. After this step, you're ready to either paint or stain the pine boards, depending upon your preference.
The final step is to properly seal the wood with polyurethane. We'll discuss how to seal the pine boards later in this post.
What are the best finishes for pine?
For durability, polyurethane is the best option for finishing your exterior pine boards. This coating is fast to apply and dry and can be easily reapplied years later as part of maintaining your wooden siding. For more information about using polyurethane as a sealer, read ahead in this post.
If you're considering a good finish for your interior pine projects, you can also look into paste finishing wax. This material is easy to apply and is relatively inexpensive. Paste wax will bring out the natural colors in the pine, and it will keep unstained pine boards from yellowing.
While it does have these advantages, paste wax does carry some disadvantages that are important to mention. If you are using paste wax for any exterior pine boards, it does not have the level of water resistance that polyurethane has. So if you're using it for decking or siding, be prepared to do additional ongoing maintenance if you want the pine boards to last.
Do you seal pine siding?
Choosing to seal your pine siding is ideal for making the pine boards last a long time. It's usually quick and easy to get this done and is definitely worth the effort.
Using a good polyurethane sealer is best. It can be applied with a foam paint roller, but you might consider using a paint pad for this job. A paint pad will compress the bubbles out of the polyurethane, saving you time.
Acrylic polyurethane is a good choice because it dries quickly. You'll want to put several coats of it on your pine boards. Once it's dried, this polyurethane sealer not only lengthens the life of your pine siding, but it makes it much easier to clean.
Does pine darken over time?
Pine boards will certainly darken a bit over time. Exposure to the sun's ultra-violet rays will cause the aging pine to slowly take on an amber appearance. While using a UV-resistant sealer will slow this down, the pine boards becoming darker over time is inevitable. If you don't like the look of the aged pine board siding, you can always paint it the color of your choosing.
Pine is a good choice for exterior wooden siding for your home. The durability of this wood makes it last a number of years. Pine siding is less expensive than cedar and has been proven to be very resistant to warping and mold. Before you decide on any type of siding material, you should familiarize yourself with all of the pros and cons, as well as what kind of ongoing maintenance you should expect. If you're armed with this information, you'll be better prepared to make the final decisions with your contractor.
If you'd like to learn more about how pine and other woods are used on the inside of your home, you might find the following posts useful: