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Exterior Plywood Siding

Exterior plywood siding is most commonly manufactured of species that perform best in all types of weather, such as Douglas fir, Western red cedar, redwood and Southern pine. Composed of several layers of wood veneer sandwiched together with exterior glue, plywood siding comes in a broad range of textures and patterns and if properly maintained, can last from 30 years to the life of the building.

A few of the disadvantages of plywood siding include its flammability, susceptibility to termite damage when in direct contact with soil, and to water rot if not properly finished. Its plies can also come unglued if it accumulates moisture.

When installing plywood siding, it is very important to properly treat the plywood before installation. Treating, or prepping the plywood siding includes applying an appropriate waterproof sealant to the plywood in order to prevent any moisture from leaking into the plywood siding. Once moisture has entered the plywood siding it can cause the plywood to deform, bubble, and warp, eventually causing paint to peel and the wood to rot.

Either roughhewn or smooth, plywood is usually attached to a home horizontally, which isn’t the best practice to protect from water damage. However, plywood is attractive for its natural look, and major corporations are always seeking ways to further develop its strength and structural integrity.

When using plywood for exterior siding, it is crucial to ensure that the grade you choose is the proper product for exterior use. Don’t try to save by selecting a lower grade because this would mean major headaches in the future. Before deciding on it, speak to a licensed contractor to evaluate its practicality for your area. Because the proper installation of plywood siding is so critical to preventing moisture damage, it is highly recommended that you have a licensed contractor handle the work.

While the number of siding options are slowly increasing, there is one option that still remains popular today: plywood. It’s inexpensive, attractive, and when properly maintained, can last for 30 years or more. Interested? Here are the facts.


Since plywood is manufactured to look like real wood, it’ll cost less than real wood siding. Be prepared to pay between $3,000 to $5,000 for 1,250 square feet, or $8,000 to $10,000 for 3,000 square feet. This will vary depending on the materials used and the cost of labor.


If properly maintained, it can last from 30 years to the life of the building.

One of the easiest siding options to install.

Plywood siding comes in a wide range of textures and patterns.


Plywood is flammable.

Can be susceptible to termite damage when in direct contact with the soil.

Susceptible to water rot if not properly finished, and plies can come unglued if it accumulates moisture.


Plywood is a durable siding option if installed correctly and treated to combat termite infestation and water damage.


In order to ensure that your plywood siding will last for years to come, seal all edges with water repellent, stain sealer, or exterior house paint primer before installation. Then, make sure to re-stain or re-paint your home every five years.

Common Questions and Answers

What’s the best way to repair existing plywood siding?

While it may be tempting to just remove and replace damaged sections, it’s best to replace the whole panel. This will keep the paneling seamless and less prone to leakage along repair lines.

Are there ways to replace plywood siding patterns that are out of date?

If your home is on the older side, then your siding pattern is most likely no longer being produced. Try to find a specialty contractor that can manufacture outdated siding groove patterns.


Plywood siding came onto the market in the 1950s and immediately became a popular siding choice for homes in the northern states. Today, as other materials like vinyl and fiber cement become more prevalent, the use of plywood siding continues to decrease.

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