3 Generations Improvements has been installing LP SmartSide products for close to 10 years and like many in the beginning we were skeptical of their new “SmartSide” siding product line. As a team, we put a lot of thought into the products we recommend because we want our siding projects to last with minimal call-backs. We not only study how a product is made and do our own research (see below for a great research blog post from Amy Lindholm) we visit the plant and see it first hand (we visited their Minnesota plant around 8 years ago). Although we met LP 10 years ago, our partnership started to develop due to many circumstances in the siding industry.
Fiber Cement as an industry was taking off in California and was looked at as the best siding on the market. However, we quickly found out that not all “Fiber Cement” manufacturers should be treated equally. We started to get dozens of call-backs on our CertainTeed Fiber Cement siding projects for cracks and shrinkage and shortly thereafter found out that this brand was in the midst of a giant nationwide class action lawsuit. After doing further research on the cause of the cracks, we found out that the “fly ash” formula that was used to bind the wood and cement together and keep the product stable was failing – everywhere. Not long after the lawsuit, CertainTeed sold their Fiber Cement line to Allura, which is now back in the market and we are told it has been re-formulated to avoid the cracks & shrinkage. However, James Hardie Fiber Cement continued to dominate the remodeling market in Northern California and for good reason – they did not have stability issues as they always used “silica” to bind and stabilize their product – and it was working! As a company, we were admittedly gun-shy about Hardie products because of the problems we had with CertainTeed, but were pleasantly surprised at how well it was holding up. Although we were officially selling fiber cement siding again we (and I believe the entire industry) was in dire need of another option and someone to compete with James Hardie. LP SmartSide was introduced as a remodeling option to us and we were cautiously intrigued (picture Joey from Friends saying “how you doin?” – but we were talking to siding). LP was new to the whole remodeling thing and were still light-years away from Hardie from a market share presence and product offering standpoint, but we needed them, and I think LP needed us too.
LP only offered primed siding to us and we told them they were missing out. We started sending their panel to pre-finishers so that we could offer a pre-finished siding to our clients in order to compete with James Hardie. To my knowledge, we were the first contractors in Northern California to do this and it eventually caught on. We organized a few colors for a pre-finisher in Washington to start sending to one of our suppliers and other contractors and LP started to take notice. Northern California siding contractors started to sell pre-finished LP around 7-8 years ago and the sky has been the limit – literally – as LP has now sold 10 billion square feet of LP SmartSide products in the last 20 years in North America. Laid end to end, 10 billion square feet of their 16-foot lap siding would stretch halfway between the Earth and the moon!
The Northern California market is a premium siding market, meaning homeowners are willing to spend the extra money for good products like LP & James Hardie and contractors have been selling pre-finished composite siding since it was first offered. It is not a vinyl or low end market. We rarely install vinyl siding and when we do, it is surely the best insulated siding on the market.
Although they would never admit it, LP and Hardie need each-other. I think it is the classic Magic vs. Bird or I guess for you young people the Curry vs. Lebron or Brady vs the entire NFL. They are not exactly friends, but they often bring out the best in each other and our industry sure needs them both to be at their best for us all to benefit!
At the core of every LP® SmartSide® product is an innovative manufacturing process that combines sound engineering and advanced materials to produce engineered wood that can resist the worst elements known to man. We call it the SmartGuard® process, and it’s only available with SmartSide products.
Every LP SmartSide product is treated to the core with an advanced formula of binders, waxes and zinc borate before being bonded with a water-resistant, resin-saturated overlay. This process helps to keep out moisture for long-term durability and strength against harsh weather. Only SmartGuard offers four components of protection against termites and fungal decay.
- Waxes. Special water-resistant waxes coat each strand or fiber of wood for enhanced durability in rainy, humid environments.
- Advanced binders. LP SmartSide Trim and Siding has incredible strength to resist impact damage thanks to industrial-grade binders and resins. You’ll have the confidence of knowing that your siding can stand up to everyday airborne debris such as hail, sticks and golf balls.
- Zinc borate. Engineered wood products treated with zinc borate have been proven to effectively resist damage from termites and fungal decay for decades. Safe for children and pets, this naturally occurring additive provides long-lasting performance that preserves the beauty of LP SmartSide Trim and Siding.
- Resin-saturated overlay. Offering the final layer of protection against the elements, a resin-saturated overlay resists moisture intrusion while providing a durable base for quality paint adhesion and beauty.
Climate Tested to the Extreme
We have long put the durability of SmartSide products to the test by subjecting them to the intense moisture and thriving termite colonies of Hilo, Hawaii. It’s a harsh jungle environment with high humidity and 170 inches of rainfall annually – the ideal conditions for fungal decay. Even after many years of exposure, LP SmartSide products remain structurally sound.
LP SmartSide siding comes in a full range of profiles, including lap siding, panel siding and cedar shake siding. We invite you to learn more about LP SmartSide Trim and Siding with SmartGuard. Find SmartSide near you.