Bellingham Siding Contractor

Products to Avoid

There are hundreds of products that come and go within the market. We have worked with all of them at one point or another. These are just some of the siding products we highly recommend changing if you currently have them on your home. 

LP (Louisiana Pacific)

Everyone has heard of LP (Louisiana Pacific) at one point in their life. If you havent, then be happy. This product has had a huge class action lawsuit against it in the mid 90’s. The product is made out of OSB material, which is a particle board that was created to replace plywood. The material is prone to absorb moisture if it is not painted every 6-8 years – which most people didnt do. This product has a $220 Million class action lawsuit, however this suit only paid for material. Which in the remodeling industry is useless. Its a fraction of what it cost to replace all siding. So if you currently have LP we highly recommend you change it, otherwise you will be replacing all of your sheeting that underneath along with your framing or studs. LP has a tendency to cover up issues, and typically only shows signs of rot when its too late. These costs can increase by $5-10,000 if the siding is neglected and not replaced when signs are obvious.

Vinyl (Plastic siding)

This product came out in the mid 90’s and it was designed to replace LP and cedar. It was assumed to be a good substitute for these products because it eliminated the need for painting. However, this product was a disaster. The product being 1/8″ thick provided no R value for the efficiency of home (heating or cooling) and did not help protect the home against actual water intrusion. Basically, because the product is plastic and didnt require sealants for application it allowed water to get trapped between the WRB and the vinyl – which is a huge problem. This product was also used to cover old houses that had failing siding like LP and old cedar – to avoid the removal and replacement of old siding – making this product a culprit for lots of bandaid fixes.

Unfortunately for the owners of most of these homes, they were not very happy to find 2 more layers underneath of other products. We have replaced many projects that have vinyl and almost every single one of those projects have had rot underneath. In our professional option this product is not for the pacific northwest – and should never be installed in these types of climates. A huge problem with this product is that most of the manufacturers went out of business in the early 2000’s. Many people had encountered the leakage and the buckling of these products (in hotter climates) and they decided to close shop. So many people that have had damage done to their vinyl siding have learned that getting replacement pieces is darn near impossible. This is due to the inability to find the right color or style – and even when you do it does not match the rest of your building.

Primed Spruce (White Wood)

This product hit the market in the late 90’s. It was a huge shipment that originally came from Canada and it was suppose to be the next best thing since sliced bread. However, this product is by far the worst type of wood that can be used on an exterior project. This is because this product has literally no way of being protected or sealed long-term. If you were to prime this wood with 2 layers and even paint it with 2 layers of the most premium brands of paint/primer- in about 10-12 years you will encounter dry rot that cannot be contained. The worst part about it, is its usually around other products that are great products (Like Hardie) but in situations like this you are forced to change all materials because the spruce cannot be removed without damaging the water barrier or the siding around it.

Most of the house in Whatcom County were built using this product – so if you have a house from the late 90’s to present the chances of you having spruce is very high. I wish I could say that this product is no longer used in this industry, unfortunately this is still a problem as contractors out there are always trying to cut corners and costs which drives them to install bad products they know will fail in 5-10 years. There is no way to avoid this other than doing your due diligence.


Cedar has always been considered to be one of the best products on the market. However, do to cedar recent escalated cedar farms, cedar is not what it used to be. The old 2nd and 3rd generation cedar is no more. We no longer have the true cedar that once existed. The alternative is a young 5-10 year old cedar that barely outlasts spruce in some cases. Cedar was originally put on all houses and barns but this was tight knot cedar which was 100-150 years old and was a very dense wood. This was because of the amount of rings in the wood. 

We have already replaced cedar that rotted away that was only 20 years old. We call the new cedar 1st generation cedar and its barely better than the spruce thats about the worse product to hit our market. There is only one true product that can withstand the elements in Washington state and that isnt spruce or cedar – its Hardie trim. 

Allura (Used to be called Certainteed)

This product has come and gone, and more recently it just hit the market like a virus! This product was created about 10 years ago, and after it hit the market in about 2-3 years customers started filing complaints that the product was falling apart and cracking at all corners and seams. This was because this product was made out of recycled material from coal – and people thought it was a way to be sustainable. However, this product started to fail because of what it was made out of. Unlike Hardie, Allura does not contain any moisture in it, nor does it have any parts of wood fiber in it. Because of this, the product actually dries out fast (within a matter of 2-4 years) and starts to shrink and pull off the fasteners. There are literally entire sub developments where the product has failed. hundreds of homes in neighborhoods.

In 2013 a company by the name of Plycem (trim company) bought out certainteed and named the division Allura – after certainteed encountered a $108 million class action lawsuit. After the product was acquired by Plycem, the company did nothing to improve it, and instead of making it better they now claim that it has a 50-year warranty. Even hardie doesnt have a warranty like that, despite having the ability to last that long. This product has started to sweep the Seattle area – despite its awful reputation. We want people to be aware of this when they are shopping around. These products claim to have 50-year warranties when they havent even been around for 10. Not to mention the hundreds of complaints already filed against this company.

Prevail and Cemplank

Despite what many people think, Cemplank (Cement plank) is not a Hardie product. This product was created in roughly 2009 and was shortly bought out by Hardie. This product was in no way intended to be a Hardie product. In fact, if you go on their website the product has no direct link to the Hardie website. This is because Hardie bought them out to eliminate the competition not to increase their market. They actually didnt do anything since they bought Cemplank. We have already started to notice Cemplank failing in lots of areas it has been installed. This is because Cemplank is mainly made out of fiber cement – making it more dense and dry and not as flexible as Hardie products. After about 6-8 years if the product has not been repainted – it starts to crack, fade and shrink – similarly to Allura. This product will only continue to get worse as time progresses – and Cemplank doesnt deny it – offering only a very limited 25-year warranty vs Hardie’s 30-year warranty.

Prevail is another product similar to Cemplank that hardie acquired and is usually used in the Multi-family divisions and is sold in bulk by the Hardie distributors.

Even some of the cedar products that have hit the market can be questionable. This is because the cedar that is grown these days, is a 2nd or 3rd generation cedar and has very limited structural integrity.

So please call us if you are not sure about a product, we will be more than happy to walk your through it. As there are many more products that we may have missed.

So in conclusion, we are here to educate – and to offer this much information to our customers it goes without saying, we are looking out for your best interest. All products we listed above we do not use within our business. In fact, if we are asked to do a project that have any one of these products listed above we would decline the project as our reputation is very important to us.

We try to use products that have a great reputation, products like James Hardie Siding.

**What has been said is an opinion of Alpine Siding and all the staff members within the establishment. These are just products we have encountered and why we choose not to use them within our business.

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