T1-11 siding is a wood based siding. This type of siding is available in either plywood or oriented strand board(OSB). The plywood costs a little more but is more durable than the OSB type of T1-11. The plywood version also gives you more finishing options. This is an important consideration when it comes to wood siding. Wood always needs to be finished in some way to help it withstand the elements. Oriented strand board is what is known as an engineered wood particle board. It is basically a mixture of resins, adhesives and wood flakes that are compressed down to form rigid wood-like boards.
T1-11 siding, being a wood based product, has the advantage of looking natural. It can give that rustic look and feel to a home, shed or barn that just can’t be duplicated with vinyl or composite siding. Wood siding is also generally cheaper than siding made from other materials.
The OSB variety of T1-11 must be painted to be properly finished. One of the advantages of the plywood variety is that it can be stained instead of painted, so it can retain that natural, beautiful wood look. T1-11 siding was most popular in the 60’s, 70’s, and into the 80’s when this natural wood look was the preeminent style.
Because it is either wood or made from wood in the case of the OSB material, T1-11 also has woods disadvantages. Wood is vulnerable to termites and other pests. The biggest disadvantage, however, is that wood has higher maintenance requirements to protect it from the elements and to prevent water damage. It needs to be finished either by staining or painting. If you choose to stain your plywood T1-11 siding, you need to re-apply it every three to five years. Priming and painting should last about ten to twelve years before needing to be redone.
One other advantage of T1-11 as a material is that wood is biodegradable. This siding would be considered a more Eco-friendly choice than just about anything else out there. Most of the finishes applied to it may not be environmentally friendly but at least the material itself is. The OSB form of T1-11 can be made from smaller, new growth trees of the type that are more common in tree farms rather than forests. This helps to mitigate the main environmental negative attributed to wood products of deforestation.
Having decided upon T1-11 siding, the main decision remaining would be whether to go with plywood or OSB. Oriented strand board is a little cheaper and the APA (The Engineered Wood Association) maintains that OSB and plywood are structural equals.
Plywood on the other hand, has a higher perceived value to most people who want their home siding redone. It actually looks like wood which makes the plywood variety dominant in the do-it-yourself market for wood siding. Some contractors have noticed a difference in how the two materials handle moisture. The plywood may temporarily swell up a bit after getting wet, but it dries quicker and tends to return to its original shape.
OSB takes longer to get wet, but it also takes longer to dry and can tend to swell up over time at the edges. OSB manufacturers try to handle this by applying a sealant to the edges of the siding, but this can be undone if the siding is cut on site when installing it on a particular home or shed. OSB is available in longer 16 foot high panels compared to the typical maximum of 8 to 10 feet for plywood which may be more convenient in certain instances.
Applying the siding to a home or other structure is no small job and all but the most experienced handymen should hire a professional to handle it for them. Properly installed and maintained T1-11 siding will provide a home with cost effective protection from the elements for many years to come. The environmental benefits of this natural material should cause many to consider this option when choosing the siding for their home.