Well, why not? Especially with upcycling, repurposing, and other creative solutions on the rise, tropical decking and other exterior lumber species make perfect sense as siding. These boards certainly don’t lose their weather resistance when they’re placed vertically instead of horizontally. As siding, weather-resistant tropical hardwood species such as Cumaru and Ipe provide a sort of rainscreen, locking out moisture while adding beauty to your home’s exterior.
If you’re looking for curb appeal to please those with traditional and modern tastes, alike, think about using tropical decking as siding. Some considerations regarding this new approach to siding includes fastening methods, insect-resistance, and moisture control.
Invisible Fastening Systems
Exterior siding is usually installed using screws or nails, combined with a tongue-and-groove joint along the edges; of course screws and nails mean unsightly holes along the siding. With tropical decking hidden fastener systems already used with tropical decking, no ugly holes are there to mar the beautiful hardwood surface. Instead, a clip system provides a hidden provision for consistent spacing, while allowing for regular seasonal movement. Because the clips are secured to furring strips, all visible fasteners are completely hidden from view. Of course, while this method seems nearly fool proof, it is still fairly new; time will tell if it’s the best long-term fastening option.
Because the above-mentioned fastening system requires grooved tropical decking boards, an open groove is unavoidable. This grooved area could become a home for either water or unwanted pests. While a traditional tongue-and-groove situation allows for the groove to be filled in with the tongue of another board, clip system manufacturers each seem to have a different solution for this apparent problem. Some hide the grooves behind beveled edges, in order to prevent issues with water, but many fail to address the insect issue. Using insect-resistant tropical decking wood will help alleviate such concerns.
Even with hiding grooves behind beveled edges of the decking-wood-turned-siding, there is a moisture-absorption issue that remains. The long drip edge can cause uneven moisture absorption during seasonal changes. Over time, such uneven absorption can lead to buckling of the siding material.
J. Gibson McIlvain Company
At J. Gibson McIlvain, we may be a bit biased, but we believe that the beauty of tropical decking certainly outweighs the potential issues that come with it. As long as you use a top-quality lumber product, you’ll promote water, rot, and insect resistance regardless of design. Since species such as Cumaru and Ipe are routinely hammered with water on horizontal decking surfaces, they shouldn’t have a problem dealing with those issues from a vertical perspective. If you want both a rainscreen and a beautiful natural hardwood exterior, then tropical decking products may be the best solution for your home.