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What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Cypress Siding?

By Britt Archer
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are advantages and disadvantages to finishing a house or other building with cypress siding. Cypress is very durable, thanks to its ability to withstand elements that would adversely affect other types of wood, such as fungi and insects. Cypress siding also stands up very well to the weather, making it a prime choice for houses that are located near a coastline. Disadvantages include the wood’s tendency to fade over time, and the necessity to periodically apply a sealant, which protects the siding from warping or cracking.

Exterior cypress siding has an advantage over other products because it contains an oil called cypressene, which acts as a protective coating. The presence of cypressene is good news for a homeowner because no chemical protective treatments need to be applied. On the other hand, a homeowner would be wise to periodically apply a sealant for protection because cypress siding, if well cared for, can last many years. The cypress siding that was used on houses in the 1700s has held up so well that it is sometimes removed when these structures are no longer functional, and used again in modern home construction projects.

In its natural state, cypress siding can add a beautiful touch to a house. The wood is a pale yellow that can change to gold hues with a polyurethane coating, and when left untreated it will age to a soft gray. The wood’s natural undertones can be greenish, red or brown. A homeowner can also choose to paint cypress siding. Despite cypress’ strength, it accepts paint applications as well as many softer types of timber.

Cypress is a wood that has many uses because of its durability, including decks, shutters, fences and floors. The wood has a memorable fragrance and few knots. It is considered an easily workable wood that is not difficult to install or finish.

There are several different types of cypress trees, including the bald cypress, also known as yellow cypress; red cypress; gulf cypress; and white cypress. The Leyland cypress and the Arizona cypress are grown commercially as Christmas trees. Cypress trees grow much more slowly than pine trees, making the wood less porous and also more durable. “Sinker cypress,” trees that have been underwater for about a century after sinking while lumbermen attempted to harvest them 100 years ago, are considered extremely resistant to decay.

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