Wood Siding Glossary
A classic siding option, wood siding is long-lasting and durable. With proper stain application, wood siding stays protected for years and can take on a variety of shades. Wood siding is a classic choice in residential and even commercial exteriors. Here are some basic glossary terms to know when you’re planning on buying it.
Bevel: Bevel siding has horizontal edges that taper from thick to then. When installed, bevel siding boards overlap with one another, creating a relatively smooth surface with even horizontal lines. These boards are often installed with the rough side facing out.
Cedar: Native to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, cedar is a popular wood type that usually has a reddish tone. It’s known as a durable wood that’s well-suited to siding since it naturally resists moisture and insects. Though it’s a softwood, cedar also maintains its shape over time.
Channel: Channel siding boards can be installed horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. When installed, the boards shadow one another, creating a linear and visually appealing look. Channel siding is usually installed with the rough side facing out, to add a rustic touch.
Grade: The grade of a length of wood siding refers to the percentage of wood that is clear of knots and other imperfections. Though higher grades are typically the most desirable, lower grades can also be used for siding, especially if those boards are placed strategically. Hardwoods and softwoods have separate grading systems, but both rank wood on levels that range from unblemished to knotty.
Fasteners: This term refers to nails, screws, and special parts that connect wood siding to your home. When installing wood siding, it’s important to use stainless steel, aluminum, galvanized, or hot dipped fasteners so that they don’t rust and bleed onto the siding.
Moisture barrier: A moisture barrier protects your home from water damage by allowing moisture and water vapor to exit your home and not enter the interior. Most moisture barriers are made from Tyvek or felt.
Moisture content: As part of the manufacturing process, wood siding is dried in a kiln. Ideally, it’s dried enough so that it can easily acclimate to the environment and achieve a sustainable level of moisture. Cedar, for instance, is manufactured with a maximum moisture content of 19 percent.
Pine: A popular choice for wood siding, pine also tends to be one of the least expensive. Since it has a naturally light tone, pine takes stain well and can easily reflect any number of pigments.
Stain: This liquid solution provides wood siding with both color and protection. Most importantly, stain helps prevent moisture from soaking into wood siding, an occurrence that can lead to significant damage over time. Stain is available in a number of tones, which all appear slightly different on each type of wood. Stain typically comes in solid, semi-transparent, and clear versions. Solid stain can look like opaque paint when applied, while semi-transparent stain offers a hint of color.
Tropical hardwood: Hardwoods are known for their durability and resistance to moisture and rot. Since they have such hard surfaces, they can be difficult to install. Once they’re in place, though, they should last for decades.