Siding Materials Tested Head-to-Head in Lab

By Pat Kunklier

By Pat Kunklier • June 13, 2013

Treated engineered wood siding has better impact resistance than fiber cement siding material, according to a recent residential siding evaluation.

Under the Reimbursable Space Act Agreement SAA3-1272, LP Building Products recently asked the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to evaluate the impact damage resistance of engineered wood siding from the LP® SmartSide® brand and fiber cement siding.

The evaluation was conducted by NASA Glenn Research Center’s Ballistic Impact Laboratory in Cleveland.

The NASA written evaluation stated:

he impact damage resistance of two commercial housing siding products was evaluated by impacting the siding with a number of items that could be considered potential impact threats. These include golf balls and baseballs, which could accidentally hit the side of a house, as well as marbles and rocks which could be thrown from a lawnmower.

The damage resistance was evaluated by shooting the four types of projectiles at the siding products, mounted in a typical installation configuration, using a single stage light gas gun.

Test specimens were made up by mounting the siding on … backing and attaching the backing to … wall studs …

High-speed video cameras were used to measure the speed of the projectiles and to view any visible damage on the edge and front of the specimens.

From the evaluation summary by NASA:

Under similar conditions, with all four projectiles more damage was sustained by the fiber cement siding product than the engineered wood siding product.

Ben Skoog, LP SmartSide business marketing manager, said, “In this evaluation representing normal installation, more damage was sustained by the fiber cement siding than the SmartSide treated engineered wood siding.”

New Videos With Jouster and Linebacker Show Impact Resistance

What do a jouster on horseback, a football linebacker and a Storm Force Striker projectile apparatus have in common? In new videos they help show the impact resistance of fiber cement, vinyl and treated engineered wood siding materials, which are evaluated under the same test conditions. In each field test, the engineered wood siding proved to be more impact resistant.

To see these field tests and watch the short videos, visit

Does Siding Impact Resistance Matter?

Yes. Impact resistance can be important to the durability and beauty of a siding material.

  • Helps reduce installation damage and possible call backs
  • Helps keep your siding more attractive over time by reducing holes or dents

From the NASA evaluation:

Fiber cement siding

“The impact velocities were 72.8 mph for the fiber cement siding sample…

LP SmartSide siding

and 77.7 mph for the LP siding sample.

The fiber cement siding sample sustained a large hole and backside spalling. There was no visual evidence of damage in the LP siding sample.”