How long does wood/cedar siding last?

Wood paneling is unbelievably beautiful. It's durable, and, if it's within your budget, it's a fantastic natural alternative to other types of siding, like vinyl or fibre cement. But the question is, how long will it last?

I won't waste your time. If you want your wood siding to shine and last, it'll require more maintenance than other available products. So, a lot of 'how long' depends on 'how much' care you put into this product. Which means I'll rephrase the question to this:

How Long Should Wood Siding Last?

If it's well maintained and installed correctly, your wood siding should net you about twenty to forty years of shelf life. But with enough care and love, it can possibly last even longer.

There are more than a handful of variables that need to be taken into account. Some of the questions below could be asked about all siding products, but they're even more important when it comes to wood. Here are a few examples:

  • What kind of wood are we talking about?
  • How often is it being repainted?
  • What kind of finish is applied?
  • What kind of sealant(s) are used?
  • How much rain does your area receive throughout the year?
  • What panel style is used (there are often two popular styles, non-flat shapes or traditional wood)?

As you can see, it's not as simple as saying five, ten or twenty years. However, I'll do my best to expand on this a little.

Wood must be properly installed (ok, obvious) and finished. The finishing includes its paint, stain, or clear sealer. Often the person installing wood siding needs to know which products will best suit your environment (in the lower mainland we're run into heavy amounts of rain/moisture), and be able to professionally apply the finishing(s), let alone the installation itself.

Why do we focus on finishing so much?

This is because siding is supposed to protect the wooden parts of your home. In cases where wood siding's used, we're protecting the wooden parts with more wood. The finish (also known as a top coat) is incredibly important because you want to avoid moisture getting into the protection barrier, rotting it and everything behind it.

Some ways we do this is by avoiding the paneling from having any direct contact with the ground (where moisture gathers). This is done to help prevent rotting and general fungal growth that comes from the grass/dirt and what-not.

In regards to the maintenance we mentioned, you'll be cleaning your siding regularly. You'll want to avoid pressure washing it, instead, lightly hosing down the siding with soap and water.

Every two to five years you'll have to reseal it. Again, another preventative measure to prevent moisture penetration.

Lastly, replacing any chipped, cracked or warped panels immediately. Neglected sections often attract other problems, like bugs.

We hope this answers some of your questions, and we encourage you to contact us if you have more or want to receive a quote.

We also have a few more blog posts about wood you might be interested in, as well as some portfolio pieces.

Portfolio Feature:

James Hardie Siding Installation, portfolio 1
In Progress Wood Siding Installation 4

More Information:

Wood Siding: Can I Paint it?
How Do I Clean Cedar or Wood Siding?
What Are The Pros and Cons of Cedar Siding?