Composite Siding vs. Engineered Wood: Which is Right for Your Home?

July 3, 2024

Choosing the right exterior for your home can feel overwhelming, especially when considering the variety of siding options on the market today. Whatever material you select, it must be able to withstand the elements of mother nature while maintaining an inviting atmosphere and lasting curb appeal. 

Today’s siding market has given rise to many colors, styles, and materials that can help owners and builders select one option that brings a home or building to life. However, regardless of siding color or style choice, the decision often hinges on more practical considerations, such as durability, maintenance, and long-term performance. 

Two popular options that rise to the top of the consideration set are composite siding and engineered wood. 

The Basics 

Engineered wood siding provides a timeless look that manages to deliver both modern and classic looks for homes as well as multifamily and light commercial buildings. 

From a composition perspective, engineered wood is made from wood chips chemically bonded with urethane and adhesives and then formed into boards or planks. These planks are then textured and coated or painted with a color. 

Alternatively, composite siding, such as Everlast® advanced composite siding, is made from a proprietary blend of inorganic minerals, polymeric resins, and acrylic colorants. The material is co-extruded with a UV-stable color cap that possesses outstanding fade-resistance. Everlast siding also features an authentic CedarTouch™ finish for a contemporary yet timeless appearance. 

Installation Considerations 

Everlast siding is known for its ease of installation. The material is lighter than the majority of hardboard claddings. That, combined with its EZStack® joinery, makes it easier for contractors to handle and nail to the substrate. This often results in lower installation costs and a quicker turnaround time in terms of project completion. 

On the other hand, most engineered wood products are cut like wood and then hard nailed to the substrate. Unfortunately, this method risks moisture penetrating the planks. Therefore, end cuts must be caulked. If not sealed properly, the siding system becomes susceptible to moisture, rotting, deterioration, and warping. In addition, installers may have to do wall preparations to create an air barrier, which they would not have to do with a siding system such as Everlast siding. 

Longevity and Maintenance: What Are the Requirements? 

When it comes to longevity and durability, Everlast siding excels with its high resistance to moisture, rot, and insects. It is less susceptible to water and moisture damage compared to engineered wood siding. 

While often stronger than fiber cement and composites, engineered wood is susceptible to moisture; however, it does perform well in high-wind conditions and extreme heat. For builders and owners hoping to use engineered wood in hot regions, it is important to understand that high heat can cause the coating and paint to crack or fade. 

In addition, engineered wood siding requires regular maintenance, including painting every seven to 10 years to maintain its appearance. Composite siding, on the other hand, withstands the test of time with no need for painting or caulking, making it an attractive option for homeowners looking for a long-term, hassle-free solution. 

From a sustainability perspective, engineered wood is environmentally friendly due to its wood content and recyclability. However, the coatings used can have environmental drawbacks. Composites such as Everlast siding are highly sustainable, made with a manufacturing process that recycles materials back into the product. This reduces waste and promotes eco-friendliness. In fact, Chelsea Building Products, the manufacturer of Everlast siding, does just that: Regrinding unused material and adding it back into the manufacturing process. 

Aesthetics: Achieving the Right Look 

Both siding types offer a variety of colors, textures, and profiles. Engineered wood closely mimics the look of real wood and does not require pocketed trims, providing a traditional aesthetic. Engineered wood siding delivers a traditional woodgrain appearance, adding classic charm that can be hard to achieve with other more inexpensive siding materials such as traditional vinyl.  

Everlast siding offers a broad range of design choices with superior color retention and resistance to fading, ensuring long-lasting curb appeal. Everlast siding achieves its realistic wood-like appearance courtesy of its CedarTouch®finish, allowing homeowners to achieve an authentic wood look without the downfalls of using real wood. The product is offered in two different profile styles: horizontal lap siding and vertical board and batten. In addition, Everlast Lap Siding is offered in two widths, 4.5" and 7". 

The Final Word 

When choosing between composite siding and engineered wood, it often comes down to weighing factors such as longevity, maintenance, installation ease, and environmental impact. 

While both materials can be used to provide an authentic look, Everlast siding more readily achieves long-term performance with less maintenance. This allows owners to say goodbye to regular upkeep requirements and hello to a lifetime of stylish curb appeal. For builders, Everlast siding also has the advantage from an installation perspective thanks to its light weight and EZStack design. 

Interested in using Everlast siding on your next project? Locate a dealer in your area today. 

It's time for Everlast,
the last siding your home will ever need.