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Plywood siding is made from plywood boards and installed on the side of a house. It is one of the many different wooden house sidings available, and often plywood siding has grooves cut into it for a more stylish look. Plywood siding has several advantages and disadvantages when used. It can provide a more natural, relaxing look to a home, but it requires more care and maintenance than brick or stone sidings. It also is not as easy to clean as cheaper sidings such as vinyl.
A homeowner trying to decide if plywood siding is right for his home should consider how long he wants to live there, how much he wants to spend on siding, and if he is willing to put in time to take care of the siding. The environment around his home can cause problems as well. Termites and moisture can spell disaster for plywood siding. Those who live in very wet areas or have bug problems might choose a more durable siding to avoid costly repairs later on.
The pros of using plywood include its ease of installation, the natural look it gives the home, and the extra support it adds to the walls when installed correctly. Cons include its higher risk of becoming damaged or dented and the risk of termite infestation. Termites can destroy siding and a homeowner may need to tear it down and replace it completely. Plywood, like all wood siding, is also flammable and will burn easily if a house fire occurs.
When installed properly and maintained over the years, plywood can last up to 30 years. Its lifespan may shrink if water or storm damage takes its toll on the house. To properly install plywood siding, it should first be sealed on the back side to protect against moisture. The individual boards should not be installed too close together either. They need room to breathe and release any trapped moisture.
Typically, boards close to 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) in thickness provide the best support and will not damage as easily. Thinner boards will not last as long and may need replacing within ten years, or sooner depending on environmental damage on the side of the house. An experienced carpenter can help seal the boards and install them properly to prevent future problems. The homeowner needs to repaint the siding every four to five years to protect it.