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The T1-11 Siding Guide: What It Is & How To Install

Posted on: March 20th, 2024

Whether you’re building a new home or replacing the current siding, you want to make sure you’re choosing the right materials. T1-11 siding is a popular option, but is it the right one for you? 

T1-11 siding was used heavily throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Although other siding options have risen in popularity, T1-11 siding is still a great option for some homes. Read on to learn everything you need to know about T1-11 siding, including why it fails, how to make it last longer, and how to make it look better. 

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What Is T1-11 Siding?

T1-11 siding is a type of plywood siding that is often used for residential homes. The name comes from the manufacturing process, where the plywood sheets are “textured one side” and “smooth one side,” hence T1-11.

This siding comes in sheets of 4 x 8 feet or 4 x 10 feet. The sheets come with vertical grooves that are spaced evenly across the wood, although T1-11 siding can also be installed horizontally. Because of its durability and relatively low cost, T1-11 siding is used for exterior siding on homes, sheds, and cabins. 

T1-11 siding can be made from various types of wood, like pine, cedar, or fir. It can also be made from a composite material called OSB (oriented strand board). OSB is made from strands or flakes of wood that are glued and pressed together into sheets. OSB typically costs less than plywood T1-11, but it also is less durable. T1-11 siding is available in different thicknesses and grades, depending on the design of your home as well as your budget. 

Why Does T1-11 Siding Fail?

T1-11 siding is an inexpensive option that gives your home a rustic look. However, T1-11 siding is susceptible to certain types of damage that can make it fail. When T1-11 fails, it’s usually for one of these reasons: 

  • Moisture: One of the most common reasons for T1-11 siding failure is water damage. This siding soaks up water easily, especially when made from OSB. When water seeps in, the siding can swell, warp, and rot. 
  • Insects: T1-11 siding is also susceptible to insect damage. Termites and carpenter ants burrow into the plywood and weaken the structure, leading to cracks, splits, and other damage. 
  • Lack of maintenance: Like any other exterior siding, T1-11 requires regular maintenance. Repainting or restaining the siding every few years protects it from water damage and UV degradation. If you don’t maintain your siding, it will deteriorate over time. 
  • Improper installation: Proper installation is important to the longevity of T1-11 siding. When done poorly, water can penetrate the siding and cause damage. 

How to Install T1-11 Siding

Installing T1-11 the right way is an important part of making it last a long time and looking polished. Sloppy installation creates gaps or loose panels that allow moisture buildup to form and damage the siding. 

To install T1-11 siding, use either 1 ⅝ inch exterior screws or 12d galvanized nails. Start from the bottom, avoiding direct contact with the ground to prevent moisture accumulation. Use a level to ensure panels are plumb and adjust before you secure them. T1-11 sheets have ⅜ edges that overlap. Secure them over studs with fasteners spaced about 8 inches apart. Make sure your nails or screws penetrate the studs. 

Before you install the sheets, you’ll want to measure for windows and doors, and cut with a circular saw. Once all the sheets are installed, you can attach trim with 8d galvanized finish nails. Seal any gaps or joints in the siding with caulk or sealing, and then make sure to paint or stain as the finishing touch. 

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How to Make It Last Longer

While T1-11 siding is susceptible to water and insect damage, there are certain steps you can take to make it last longer. The most important step is to install the siding properly. This ensures that the siding is sealed and protected from moisture. 

Once the siding is installed, it’s important to protect the siding with paint or stain that is specifically made for exterior wood surfaces. Both paint and stain protect the siding from moisture and UV rays. 

Regular maintenance of your T1-11 siding is also important. Make sure to repaint or restain the siding every few years. Check for signs of damage, like cracks, peeling paint, or water stains, and quickly repair any issue. Seal any gaps, cracks, or joints with caulk or sealant to prevent water infiltration. You’ll also want to check regularly for insects. If you find termite tunnels or carpenter ants, make sure you treat the affected areas quickly. You can also apply insect repellents to vulnerable areas to deter insects from nesting. 

How to Make It Look Better

One of the appeals of T-11 siding is its simplicity, which fits in especially with rustic settings. But when T1-11 siding is left without care, it can start to look old and tired. Proper installation and regular maintenance are two of the best ways to improve the appearance of T1-11 siding. Here are some more tips for making it look better:

  • Use trim: When installing your T1-11 siding, use trim to hide joints and create a more aesthetic look. Using 1 x 4 inch trim gives the siding a more polished look. If your T1-11 doesn’t have any grooves, you can install vertical trim for a board-and-batten look. 
  • Paint or stain it: Whether you opt for classic white paint, dark stain, or something trendy, the way you paint or stain the siding will have a huge effect on the aesthetic of your home. If your siding starts to look faded, fresh paint will make it look so much better. Plus paint and stain protect your siding from damage. 
  • Regular maintenance: If your siding is starting to look a little tired, maintenance can go a long way to freshen the appearance. Start by thoroughly cleaning the siding to remove dirt, grime, and mildew. Repair cracks, splits, and rotted areas. Fill holes with wood filler, sand the surface, and repaint to match the surrounding area.

Should You Use it?

T1-11 siding can be a great option for use in Sacramento, California. It’s affordable, attractive, and easy to paint. But is it right for you? Here are some things to consider:

  • Sacramento has hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. When T1-11 siding is properly installed and maintained, it can handle Sacramento’s climate effectively. However, you need to make sure to manage moisture to prevent issues with the siding. 
  • If you opt for T1-11 siding, you need to stay on top of maintenance. Repaint or restain every three to five years. Fill cracks and holes as soon as you notice them. 
  • Consider whether the appearance of T1-11 siding works with the aesthetic of your home. T1-11 has a distinct textured look that can complement a lot of different home styles. But you’ll want to make sure it will work with the overall design of your property. 
  • Explore alternative siding options available in the Sacramento area, like fiber cement, vinyl, or stucco. Compare factors like cost, durability, and ease of maintenance before making your choice.
  • T1-11 siding is not an effective insulator, especially when compared to other siding options. If the cost of your energy bill is a concern, you may want to invest in an alternative.  

Alternatives to T1-11 Siding 

T1-11 siding is an attractive option, especially when you’re on a budget. But there are alternatives to T1-11 siding that perform better and last longer: 

  • Fiber cement siding: Fiber cement siding, often called James Hardie siding or Hardie board, is made from a mix of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers. It’s both durable and low-maintenance, and it comes in a variety of styles. 
  • Vinyl siding: Made from PVC resin, vinyl siding is affordable, low maintenance, and available in many colors and styles. Vinyl siding is very resistant to moisture, fading, and insect damage.  
  • Wood clapboard or cedar shingles: Traditional wood siding options, such as clapboard (horizontal boards) or cedar shingles (also known as shakes) offer a natural and timeless look. While they require more maintenance than some other materials, proper installation and maintenance can provide excellent durability and aesthetic appeal. 
  • Stucco: Stucco siding consists of a mixture of cement, sand, and water applied over a wire mesh or substrate. It offers a smooth and durable finish with excellent resistance to fire, insects, and rot. Stucco siding is commonly used in regions with warm and dry climates. 

If your siding needs to be replaced, give LNL Construction a call. We’ll help you choose siding for your home–whether that’s T1-11 siding, vinyl, or fiber cement. At LNL Construction, we have the experience and expertise to properly install your siding and boost the curb appeal of your home. 

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