LP® SmartSide® Siding – Tougher Than The Competition

By Todd Fratzel on Siding & Trim

LP® SmartSide® Siding

Every time we build a new home for a customer there is a lengthy discussion about what type of siding to install. In a perfect world where money didn’t matter and we all had a full time maintenance crew to take care of our homes the discussion would likely end quickly with wood siding.

Timber Frame Home with LP SmartSide Siding

That’s just not the world we live in so the discussion almost always revolves around price and maintenance. The options typically include: wood, vinyl, cement, and composite materials. Obviously each of the materials has a price point to consider along with varying degrees of expected future maintenance.

Another consideration that I like to mention to home owners is toughness and durability. So you’re probably thinking to yourself nothing can be as durable and tough as cement siding. And surely nothing can be more durable than vinyl siding right? You might be shocked to know that cement siding isn’t very tough when it comes to impact and it’s not at all forgiving if it’s installed too close to horizontal surfaces. Ever seen vinyl siding after your lawn mower throws a rock at it or the snowblower kicks up some ice? Not pretty at all!

Test Samples

Toughness / Impact Testing

To demonstrate what I mean I recently performed a super scientific experiment (NOT) on three samples of siding: cement siding, vinyl siding and a piece of LP® SmartSide® Siding. I used a hammer to strike each piece of siding with two hammer blows each. The picture below tells the story much better than I can in words. Without exception the LP® SmartSide® Siding completely kicks the $%&#* of the other two products when it comes to impact resistance and toughness!

LP SmartSide Impact Test

So what does this really mean for you as a home owner? Well as the saying goes “things happen” and small holes/cracks in siding due to wind damage can be very expensive to repair. The repair often involves removing large areas of siding in order to get the damaged piece out and replaced. The net result is a costly bill due to the amount of labor and materials involved.

Water Resistance

The picture at the beginning of this article is a million dollar custom home that we built for a customer last year. It’s a gorgeous timber frame home full of some amazing new technology and products. The siding for that project was LP® SmartSide® Siding, pre-painted with one coat of finish paint. When evaluating siding materials we did some testing of the siding prior to final selection. We were worried that this material might absorb water and swell.

So we cut up several pieces of the siding and put them into a 5 gallon bucket full of water and left them in it. Weeks after putting the pieces in the bucket of water then looked just like they did when first cut and placed in water. There were no signs of swelling, softening or change or any kind.

Overall Impression

I’ve used all kinds of siding products over the years for the homes we build. So the question of how I feel about LP® SmartSide® Siding is a good one. Based on my own testing, competitive pricing, and ease of use, I’ve become a great fan of LP® SmartSide® Siding. The material is very competitive with cement siding, yet it installs quicker with far less mess and hazardous dust. And on top of all that it’s far tougher offering better protection from extreme weather and errant sports accidents :).

NOTE: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of LP® SmartSide® Siding for hfa. All opinions
are 100% mine. I did receive a free LP SmartSide® Test Kit.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. Max says:

    I have been looking at building a shed, and for reasons of cost and speed of assembly I was planning on using the pre-primed 4×8 sheets of Smartside as an all-in-one sheathing and finished siding. I am assuming it is the exact same material in large sheet form. If so, your article helps confirm my choice of siding material. Thanks.

  2. Eric Prado says:

    Money is lesser important I think because when I put up my house. I hired people who were really great and picky with the materials. They gave a lot of options with the materials. LP® SmartSide® Siding is one of those materials they used. So far, I can say that it is durable and tough!

  3. Kevin Smith says:

    We are having a house built and the builder is requiring that we have Smart Start Trim around the doors, windows and garage door. I’m hoping for a maintenance free exterior and am concerned about having to paint these trim pieces every few years. We live in Canada with extreme temperature changes from the summer (+35 Celsius) to the winter (-40 Celsius). Am I going to have to paint the trim often? Thanks for your help and guidance.

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Kevin – Paint fails in a couple ways: fading due to the sun, and actual pealing / cracking due to moisture getting behind the paint and absorbed into the base material. Products like PVC and composite drastically reduce the pealing paint issue because they don’t absorb water like traditional wood. So it’s been our experience that these types of trim do need to be painted from time to time, but the time in between coats is far greater. Be sure a good quality paint is used. Even PVC trim is now painted to help stop mold/mildew from forming so there are very few maintenance “free” trim products. Good luck.

  4. Evie says:

    I am trying to decide between lp smartside stucco siding or hardie plank stucco siding. Which withstands moisture, termites and woodpeckers the best? Does LP SMartside have to be painted every 5 years or is this dependent on the quality of the paint first used? I read a post that they recommend putting primer on backside of LP Smartside. My siding is on upper half of house and bottom is brick veneer. I live in Dallas TX area so climate is hot in summer.

    • Todd Fratzel says:

      Evie – I’m not an expert in termites as we don’t have them in our area. However, LP SmartSide is a wood based product and Hardie is a cement based product. I’m guessing the cement based product is less likely to be eaten by termites. I’m speculating though…ask your local lumber yard for some guidance. Good luck.

  5. Greg Kapitan says:


    Hey great post you have here! I have personally installed all 3 siding products with my own hands for years. By far my favorite choice is the LP SmartSide siding. It is tough, easy to work with and has a great warranty!

    Thank again!
    Greg Kapitan (the siding man)

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