Log Siding: Does It Make Sense In Houston?

October 2, 2013

Few elements of your home are as distinctive as your siding. While windows and doors can tell a story, siding covers most of the area outside your four walls. It takes on all comers — wind, rain, hail — while shouting out to the world, “This is my home’s style.”

One of the best ways to make a statement with your home is to purchase log siding. This distinctive siding can give your home a lodge look. Additionally, it blends in well with Houston’s wooded environment.

But does log siding make logistical sense in Southeast Texas (pun intended)? Let’s take a closer look.

Lincoln Logs

Lincoln Logs are manufactured. So is most log siding (Image courtesy: Tinker*Tailor Loves Lalka/flickr)

Does Log Siding Come Directly From The Forest?

Before we start a discussion about the benefits of log siding, it’s time to clear the air on one important fact: Those beautiful logs you see stacked into siding panels on homes are generally made with the generous help of machines.

Manufacturers build log siding by taking large pieces of wood, cutting them and rounding them to look like logs. They will then tack these logs on the outside of your home.

While this revelation might make log siding seem less pure than it was five minutes ago, it makes this siding a feasible option. The logs used in siding often have identical dimensions, and they must stack together evenly fit the framework of your home. Trees don’t grow this way naturally, so a machine’s touch is needed to make the logs conform to a pattern.

While the thought of chopping down your own trees and stacking them high for your walls — pioneer-style — might be appealing, it simply isn’t feasible to build siding this way. In fact, it hasn’t been for years.

Think about it. In the time when Abraham Lincoln was growing up in a log cabin, homeowners used outhouses to take care of their “business,” read books by candlelight and washed clothes in rivers and creeks. They didn’t have to build around infrastructure such as electrical wiring and plumbing. Manufactured log siding might not use the exact timbers you see out back, but it does conform to the modern day home.

There are some siding manufacturers who use real logs for siding, but be aware that these products could cost a bit more.

log siding

Ease of installation is one of the biggest benefits of log siding (Image courtesy: Endenux/flickr)

Here’s Why You Should Get Log Siding

Now that we’ve cleared up any possible misconceptions about the, ahem, authenticity of log siding, here’s a look at some of the benefits it can provide.

Log siding is often made of White Cedar or White Pine. These types of wood are excellent insulators, and they can help you save money on your energy bills. They also have balanced strength, which helps them stand up to earthquakes and other events that would normally cause cracks on a siding surface.

The use of wood as a primary material makes log siding very easy and quick to install. Once it’s in place, log siding can have a shelf life of several decades. Since wood is a natural material, there’s a lower possibility that contact with the siding can lead to adverse health effects (such as allergies).

Here in Houston, log siding will also make your home look authentic. There are many different home styles across Southeast Texas, but homes with log siding often seem to be the most in harmony with the region’s wooded environment.

log siding in winter

Log siding must be meticulously maintained to prevent decay. (Image courtesy: Rockman13/flickr)

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Get Log Siding

Of course, some issues can arise with log siding. Although log siding cracks less easily than other types of siding during earthquakes, drastic temperature shifts or changes in air moisture can cause cracks in the logs. This can allow bugs, dust and more to get into the inside of a home or wall cavity.

Additionally, the spaces between logs should be sealed to prevent moisture and dust from entering a home. While the logs themselves might not break easily, cracks can spring up in these seals.

Since log siding is wood based, the outside of it must be painted and finished to prevent weather-related decay. Logs must be monitored closely to make sure they don’t rot. While age and decay can cause this siding to rot, so can the infestation of termites.

Siding must also be cleaned frequently to protect it from mold and mildew. If these issues rear their ugly head on log siding, they can spread from log to log very quickly.

log siding

Log siding is most beneficial in more northerly climates (Image courtesy: Wonderlane/flickr)

Is Log Siding “All Systems Go” For Houston?

Log siding isn’t necessarily a bad choice for Houston homes, but it does come with some strings attached. Since there’s so much moisture in the atmosphere in Southeast Texas, log siding must be meticulously maintained in order to prevent rotting, cracks, mold and mildew from building up.

While log siding provides great insulation, Houston doesn’t tend to have prolonged periods of extremely cold weather. Thanks to these climate patterns, one of the biggest benefits of log siding is barely utilized in Southeast Texas.

Ultimately, log siding can be a good investment, but other types of siding are even more beneficial in the Houston area.

If you’re looking to add some new siding to your Houston area home, turn to Best Investments Siding and Windows. We’ve been installing siding in Houston homes since 1977. Let us work with you! Request a free consultation today!