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T1 11 Vs. SmartSide Title Photo

LP SmartSide vs. T1-11 Siding for Sheds

LP SmartSide vs. T1-11 Siding: What are strenths and weaknesses of each?

Perhaps you’ve already read Wood vs. Vinyl Sheds — A Comparison of Shed Sidings, and decided that vinyl siding is not for you. You’re interested in a real wood product. Now, you may well be wondering which wood siding product to go with: T1-11 or LP SmartSide?

A history of Shed Siding

Let’s first consider where we have come from. Back in the day on the farm many out buildings were constructed using oak or even chestnut boards, usually grown locally and purchased at the local sawmill. Most having been topped with a metal standing seam roof gave many years of service, all while developing that great dark gray rural American look. Some might even have become a bill board at some point during its life.

Shed Siding

The old American shed siding has a classic, grayed look.

T111 Siding: A Hit from the 60’s

In modern America our needs have changed a great deal from those early years and so have the demand for building products to meet those needs. In the 1960’s a product hit the market which is commonly known as T1-11 siding. T1-11 siding is a plywood based product with grooves cut into the outer layers to give the appearance of Board and Batten or Shiplap siding.

This new product offered some great advantages as compared to other products of that time. It came in 4×8 sheets and was easy to install using normal cutting tools and a hammer and nails. That, combined with the fact that if installed properly it actually added strength to the structure, made T1-11 a real option to consider. It could be either stained or painted, which again made it suit a wide number of customer demands.

T1-11 Siding (Leonard USA)

This shed shows how T1-11 looks when it is new. (Photo courtesy Leonard USA.)

Like many things from the 60’s it took some time for the disadvantages to become evident. The largest of those short comings being the maintenance required to keep T1-11 siding free from water and insect damage. If stained, the siding needs to be refinished every 3-5 years. If painted it needs to be repainted every 8-12 years. I don’t know about you but I am not willing to re-stain something the size of my shed every 3-5 years.

Another issue was the installation itself of the siding both stained and painted. All of the seams must be flashed and sealed to prevent water from entering the unprotected edges of the siding. Any moisture entering the siding will cause de-lamination which will mean in many cases costly repairs need to be made. Many installers both professional and do-it yourselfers did not do this properly. As these issues and others continued to arise the need became clear for an alternative to T1-11 that would require less maintenance for the homeowner.

LP Siding: Scientific Advances

In the 1980’s OSB (Oriented Strand Board) products begin entering the marketplace. That included siding products from a number of manufactures including LP (Louisiana Pacific). Those products for the most part were lacking in many ways and were eventually pulled from the marketplace.

In 1997 LP re-entered the market with a new much improved product called LP Smart Siding and later LP Smart Panel siding. Although this product was designed to have the same outward appearance as T1-11 it is clearly different in its construction.

LP Smart Panel comes with a resin-saturated overlay for protection and a base for painting. These products also featured what they refer to as Smart Guard. This process consists of the wood flakes used to form the siding are first coated with zinc borate before being pressed into siding along with resins and marine waxes. The end result is a product that is extremely water resistant and insect resistant.

Now flashing forward to 2016 we have had many great years of service from these new generation LP products. They have proven to be both durable as far as impact resistance and even more important resistant to both water damage and insect damage. They are also far less prone to cracking and shrinking due to exposure to the sun than the old T1-11 product.

LP SmartSide and Byler Barns

LP SmartSide is the shed siding of choice for all Byler Barns wood-sided sheds. It comes pre-primed from the factory. We then hand paint—rolling and brushing the entire shed–with Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint®. No spraying, no thin places, no runs! This high-quality paint comes from Sherwin-Williams with a Limited Lifetime Warranty. This is all part of What Makes a Quality Paint Job. We believe it will last far better than T1-11 siding, and should last about 20 years before it needs its first repainting.

LP Smart Siding

LP Smart Siding looks great and is very durable.

After considering the pros and the cons I believe the advantages of the Smart Panel siding far out weight the disadvantages which is really just one. It cannot be stained. For that reason I not only recommend LP Smart Siding, but I also purchased the product on my new shed in 2014.

In 1965 there was a Billboard #1 hit by a group called The McCoys. It was a song called “Hang on Sloopy.” Like that group and that song, I believe T1-11’s day has come and gone. Technology has given us a product which was engineered to perform a specific job. I believe that Smart Panel is performing that job well and will continue to do so going forward.

Mark Plogger - Byler Barns
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Written by Mark Plogger

Mark’s goal has always been simple: He wants to help clients get the best buying experience anywhere. He loves to help people walk from uncertainty to confidence in the buying process. Mark is the sales manager at Waynesboro, VA, serving Augusta County.
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