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T1-11‌ ‌Siding‌ ‌Vs‌ ‌Smart‌ ‌Siding:‌ ‌Which‌ ‌One‌ ‌To‌ ‌Choose‌ ‌For‌ ‌Your‌ ‌Shed

The biggest difference between T1-11 siding and smart siding is in their composition. T1-11 siding is raw plywood that isn’t treated with any waterproofing chemicals. The LP SmartSide is an engineered wood product reinforced with adhesive resins and zinc borate to make it more resistant to weather.

Protecting your shed with siding is one of the best things you can do for it. But many homeowners have difficulty choosing the right type of exterior for their shed. I assume you, too, can’t decide between T1-11 siding and LP SmartSide.

What’s even the difference between the two? Which is better? No worries! I will help you get all the answers!

LP SmartSide is an engineered wood product that is more weather-resistant than T1-11 siding. It is less susceptible to rot, fungal decay, insect damage and thus requires less maintenance. LP SmartSide is, overall, a better cladding solution for most people. 

But there’s a lot more you need to know! You can find all the important T1-11 siding vs smart siding differences below! 

T1-11 Siding Vs Smart Siding: An Introduction 

What Is T1-11 Siding? 

T1-11 siding is a type of wood paneling that first came on the market in the 1960s. The product was an overnight success and was used on residential homes for a couple of decades until vinyl, steel, aluminum, and composite siding products came on the market. 

T1-11 siding is rarely seen now on new homes. It is now primarily used as an exterior covering for sheds and barns. A lot of professional builders and carpenters love to use T1-11 siding in their projects. This doesn’t come as a surprise! T1-11 siding is cheap and has a good history and reputation. 

Composition And Appearance 

Plywood vs OSB Quality- 2 types of T1-11 siding panel

T1-11 is a wood or wood-based cladding product mostly recognized by the grooves on its surface spaced either 4 inches or 8 inches apart. The “T” in the name actually stands for “textured,” which perfectly describes the appearance of this siding product. 

T1-11 siding has a natural wood grain, with either a rough or smooth finish to it. T1 siding looks very traditional and rustic, which is why so many people love to use it in their backyard projects. It perfectly fits and blends with nature. 

And why wouldn’t it? T1-11 siding is made of wood, which is a natural material friendly to the environment. If you are looking for an eco-friendly way to panel your shed, this is the way to go!

T1-11 siding is cut and sold in large practical sheets for easy installation. They are typically 4×8 feet or 4×10 feet in size. They come in a variety of thicknesses, the most common being ⅜”, ⅝”, and ¾”. The paneling sheets are not finished, so you will need to stain or paint them to your liking. 

Just know that rough T1-11 siding doesn’t look the prettiest when painted. Its surface is more suited for staining. Of the two, LPSmartSide has a better painting surface than T1-11. 

T1-11 siding comes in two major grades, plywood and OBS (Oriented Strand Board). Plywood siding holds up better than OBS since it doesn’t expand or warp when exposed to moisture. The corners of OBS boards swell up when they get wet and stay this way, even after drying out. 

T1-11 plywood siding is more durable but also more expensive than OBS. It will cost you a few dollars more per sheet

Durability And Maintenance 

A portion of the side of a shed with peeling paint

T1-11 siding has a long history of use. It wouldn’t be still sold and used today if it didn’t offer some level of durability. T1-11 can last for decades if kept away from moisture and protected against insects. 

T1-11 siding is a natural wood product. It is not treated with any resin compounds or waterproofing substances, like LP SmartSide. T1-11 siding is thus more susceptible to rot, fungal decay, and insect damage. 

The life expectancy of T1-11 siding can be prolonged if you prime and paint it before installation. Make sure to paint the edges and sides, not just the front surface. Corners are the first to start rotting away. 

If you would like to give your shed a rustic look, you can stain the siding instead of painting it. The stain will enhance the natural wood grain of the paneling. A layer of varnish will protect the wood to some extent, but not as much as paint can

You will need to reapply stain every 3 to 5 years and repaint the siding every 8 to 12 years

If you would like to keep maintenance at a minimum, you can buy a resin or metal shed instead! Check out the differences between resin vs wood vs metal sheds

Pros

  • Natural siding product
  • Genuine wood grain  
  • Affordable
  • Gives structural support to shed 
  • Easy to install
  • Cut into practical sheets 
  • Can be painted and stained 
  • Available in variety of sizes and thicknesses 

Cons 

  • More prone to water and insect damage
  • Requires regular maintenance 
  • Paint doesn’t look good on rough surface

What Is LP SmartSide?

LP SmartSide siding is one of the most innovative and progressive siding products on the market today. LP SmartSide is an engineered wood product that hit the market in the late 90s. It was immediately embraced by professionals because of its impressive durability and performance.  

The LP SmartSide resembles T1-11 siding but with added benefits. Smart siding has the traditional wood appearance and durability of composite wood. You could say that it is the newer and improved generation of siding technology

Composition And Appearance 

A slab of wood being applied with resin overlay

To many people’s surprise, LP SmartSide is actually made from wood! It looks a bit artificial because it has a resin-saturated surface with a cedar grain pattern embossed on it

This resin overlay is water-resistant and protects the wood substrate inside the paneling. LP SmartSide mimics the natural elegance of wood but doesn’t have that authentic wood appearance and feel to it

Unlike T1-11 siding, LP SmartSide has a color and finish to it and comes in 16 prefinished colors, with Snowscape White being the lightest and Abyss Black the darkest. It is made in mostly grays and earth-tone shades designed to complement any home style. 

LP SmartSide can still be painted in any color you desire. The resin overlay takes on paint very well because it is smooth and doesn’t have a rough wood texture.  

The manufacturer recommends you only use acrylic latex paint suited for wood composites on smart siding. According to their instructions, you should paint the front and the edges but leave the back unpainted.

LP SmartSide may look better painted than T1-11 siding, but it can’t be treated with transparent stains like its predecessor can. If you prefer the look of stained wood, you may have to pass on smart siding.

Durability And Maintenance

A wooden shed in red and white paint

LP SmartSide is extremely strong and durable. It is essentially an engineered wood that can defy outdoor elements much better than untreated wood. 

LP SmartSide is reinforced and strengthened through a special process. It is made from wood strands that are sourced from logs of wood. Each strand of wood is precisely shaped and treated to the core with a formula of adhesive resins and zinc borate

Zinc borate is one of few chemicals that is actually safe for external and internal use in homes. LP SmartSide has the benefits of pressure-treated wood without being harmful to humans and animals. It’s a win-win! 

Want to know more? Here’s how to tell if the wood has been treated or not.

During the next step of the process, a water-resistant overlay is added to the wood fiber. Both are compressed under high pressure and heat to create flat, thin, and even sheets of siding with a cedar-grain pattern embossed on the surface

Lastly, sheets of siding are trimmed and primed. Watch this video to see how LP SmartSide siding is made:

Since LP SmartSide is made to resist outdoor elements, it doesn’t require regular maintenance like T1-11 siding. It also doesn’t need initial painting and doesn’t need to be protected against termites. In fact, LP SmartSide is almost maintenance-free.  

That’s pretty amazing when you think about the potential for long-term savings. You won’t have to spend money on expensive paints, primers, and insect killers.

Pros

  • More resistant to weather and insects
  • Available in 16 prefinished colors
  • Little maintenance required 
  • Looks better painted 
  • Strengthens the shed 
  • Rot, decay and insect resistant
  • Limited 50-year warranty

Cons

  • Not 100% natural 
  • More expensive
  • Can’t take clear stain 

T1-11 Siding Vs Smart Siding: Features Face To Face

Durability

A focused shot on chipped coating on wooden door

LP SmartSide is engineered to withstand outdoor elements. It is treated with zinc borate and resin adhesives that make wood stronger and more resistant to water, fungus, and damage. Let’s not forget that LP siding is also protected with a water-resistant resin overlay

T1-11 siding, on the other hand, is made of untreated wood. It isn’t injected with any resins or waxes that keep the moisture out. T1-11 siding is more prone to rotting and decaying and can’t last long in humid climates

LP SmartSide is more durable than T1-11 siding and the clear winner of this round. 

Winner: LP SmartSide 

See how T1-11 siding and LP SmartSide compare:

Maintenance

A man cleaning a wooden siding panel

LP SmartSide siding is made to last. It is protected with a blend of chemicals and a water-resistant surface, so you don’t have to treat it with any special agent year after year. LP SmartSide requires little to no maintenance compared to T1-11 siding.

LP smart siding is also primed and pre-painted in one of their 16 colors. You don’t have to paint it unless you notice the pre-paint starting to crack. But, you will have to paint the edges when you cut the panels to size on the job site to protect the exposed wood substrate. 

T1-11 siding doesn’t have a finish, so you will have to protect it with a primer and paint or saturate the wood with a stain to make it last longer in harsh outdoor conditions. You will have to keep up with the painting every 8 to 12 years and restain the wood every 3 to 5 years

The clear winner of this battle is LP SmartSide! It is almost maintenance-free after installation. 

Winner: LP SmartSide 

Cost 

An graphic representation showing that house maintenance incurs cost

T1-11 siding is generally cheaper than LP smart siding, especially if you buy OBS (Oriented Strand Board) and not plywood. 

On average, T1-11 siding will cost you from $0.90 to $2.50 per square foot. Installation will cost you from $1.89 to $4.86 per square foot. You can expect to spend $3.56 to $6.48 in total per square foot. 

LP SmartSide is more expensive than T1-11 siding and costs $2.00 to $4.00 per square foot. The installation of LP SmartSide costs from $5.00 to $10.00 per square foot, which is twice as much as the installation of T1-11. The total price per square foot comes to $7.00 to $14.00

These are just the estimates. The prices vary from store to store, from area to area. You may end up finding smart siding at the same price as T1-11 siding, if you’re lucky. 

T1-11 paneling and installation may be cheaper than LP SmartSide, but you have to account for maintenance expenses down the round. T1-11 siding needs to be refinished every couple of years and paint and stain isn’t the cheapest. 

But not to worry! T1-11 siding can last you for decades and won’t require a lot of babysitting if you live in a dry climate. If you get a lot of rain in your area, LP SmartSide may end up being cheaper in the long run. 

For now, I can say that T1-11 siding is the winner of this versus battle. It is cheaper than LP SmartSide. 

Winner: T1-11 siding 

FAQs

Is T1-11 siding waterproof?

T1-11 siding is not waterproof because it is not treated with any resins and chemicals that repel moisture. T1-11 siding needs to be protected against the weather with primer, paint, or stain. You also need to caulk around doors, windows, joints, and nails to keep the water out.

Is LP smart siding waterproof?

The LP smart siding is not waterproof, but it is water-resistant. LP smart siding is treated with an advanced formula of adhesive resins and zinc borate. It is also protected with a resin-saturated overlay that is moisture resistant. 

What does T1-11 stand for?

T1-11 stands for a wood siding product often called T111 or just T1. The “T” in T1-11 stands for “textured,” which describes the grooves on the surface of the siding. These grooves are spaced either 4″ or 8″ apart and give the siding a recognizable look. 

Do you need plywood under T1-11 siding?

You don’t need plywood under T1-11 siding that is rated for structural use. In this case, the T1-11 siding acts as sheathing and siding all in one. If you are using non-structural T1-11 siding, you will need to install plywood underneath. 

Does T1-11 siding need to be painted?

T1-11 siding needs to be primed and painted before installation to protect it against the weather. Use a heavy acrylic primer first and follow it with two coats of exterior acrylic paint. T1-11 siding needs to be repainted often if you live in a particularly humid climate.

Siding Is Better Than No Siding 

Having siding on a shed is better than not having it. You will protect your shed regardless of which wood siding product you end up buying. It is up to you to decide how well you want to insulate and secure your shed from outdoor elements. 

Is T1-11 siding enough or do you need LP SmartSide? Here are my last tips to help you decide between T1-11 siding vs smart siding

Buy T1-11 siding if:

  • You like authentic wood products. 
  • You live in a drier climate. 
  • You don’t mind regular maintenance.
  • You are on a budget.

Buy LP SmartSide if:

  • You live in a humid climate.
  • You would like better protection. 
  • You don’t like painting and staining wood. 
  • You have the budget for it. 

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