The next time you buy wood for a decking project, take a closer look at it. Could you envision it on the side of your house? An increasing number of people are choosing to use tropical decking and other exterior wood species as siding, and the team at the J. Gibson McIlvain Company, one of the country’s top lumber dealers, can understand why. Tropical decking lumber has many benefits when it’s used as home siding.
For one, decking materials are moisture resistant, so they easily lock out the moisture you want to keep away from your home. They are also quite beautiful and can easily be stained a wide range of colors to match your home. Many tropical decking lumbers are incredibly durable, meaning they last just as long as- if not longer than- typical vinyl siding. Tropical decking lumbers also tend to be insect and rot resistant, and some species, such as Ipe, have a class A fire rating, meaning they’re just as fireproof as metal or concrete!
So what is the drawback, and why do more homes not have tropical wood decking as siding? Well, the main difficulty is the fact that decking material does not have the tongue and groove joint to connect the edges as traditional siding material has. Also, it has to be screwed into place, and that can damage the look of the wood. This problem, however, has been overcome with a hidden clip fastener system. As a result of this innovation, homeowners can now choose from a wide range of tropical hardwoods when siding their homes.
With a hidden clip fastener system, you can connect the boards to your home with a consistent gap that is aesthetically pleasing while also allowing for the wood’s inevitable expansion and contraction with changing temperatures and moisture levels.
In order to use this system, the decking boards must have a groove on which the clips can be placed. This creates a potential problem with this siding idea, though, because between the clips, the wood is open to the elements. It is possible for moisture or even insects to get into the wood past the finished and waterproofed surface. However, manufacturers that provide these systems have tried to fix this with solutions liked beveled edges to prevent water from entering the grooves. Others work with the clips themselves to try to avoid excessive gaps.
There may be an even better solution to this problem, though, and that solution lies in the wood itself. Top quality tropical decking wood is incredibly resistant to both water and insects. This in and of itself can help solve the problem. After all, these woods are commonly used for decks, which are always exposed to standing water and bugs. So as long as you choose a wood that is known for being insect resistant, the dripping water siding is exposed to should not be a problem.
This is a relatively new building option, so time will be the main judge of whether or not wood decking is a viable long term siding option, but it holds great potential. With the beauty of hardwood and its excellent durability in outdoor applications, you can expect to see tropical hardwoods used as siding much more commonly in the near future.
When searching for a source for your hardwood siding lumber, it’s important that you choose the right supplier. McIlvain Company, one of the nation’s oldest and most reputable lumber wholesalers, offers many different options when it comes to hardwood lumber, both domestic and exotic. With our centuries of experience, our vast inventory of various wood types, our dedicated order specialists, and our in-house millwork facilities, it’s no wonder that we’ve been one of America’s favorite lumber wholesalers for so long. We offer the highest quality lumber in the business and serve some of the world’s most discerning customers, and our nationwide shipping ensures that your top quality lumber will arrive on your job site on schedule. For more information on what sets McIlvain apart or to request a free quote, visit us online today, or check out these selections from our lumber blog: