Increasing curb appeal in your home is an attractive investment for many homeowners. By choosing the right type of exterior, you can increase the value of your property while enhancing your quality of life. Homeowners seeking a rustic cabin style often consider wood or steel log siding as exterior choices. 

Keep reading for a comprehensive comparison of these two popular siding choices.

Costs in this article are sourced from contractor estimates used by Angi and HomeAdvisor. 

What Is Wood Log Siding?

There are several wood log siding types, each unique to the type of lumber used. Eastern White Pine and Red Cedar are some of the most common choices. The price and exact appearance of wood log siding depends on the wood availability, installation, and upkeep. While wood siding is visually attractive, there are some downsides when it comes to durability, maintenance, and safety. 

Wood siding is prone to structural and weather-related damage that can become costly to repair. Cracks and other damage from home settling can occur over time. These types of repairs are particularly costly. 

Because wood siding is a natural material, it’s also susceptible to mold, mildew, and termite damage. These types of damage are difficult to eliminate.

Finally, wood siding can bow, swell, or warp from snow, wind, temperature changes, or even excess moisture. This makes this type of siding undesirable in harsh climates. 

Wood log siding is known for its beautiful organic appearance. However, maintaining the look and integrity of this natural material requires considerable time and money compared to lower-maintenance alternatives.

Wood siding requires frequent pressure washing and staining. I usually recommend completing this maintenance every two to three years to retain the home’s appearance and prevent deterioration. Sun exposure and moisture can degrade finishes on wood siding fairly quickly, resulting in additional upkeep. 

Wood siding also poses a serious fire risk that other sidings do not. Wood is highly flammable even when treated with flame retardant. I don’t recommend wood if you live in a wildfire-prone area, as embers can easily ignite this type of siding.

Although wood’s visual appeal remains popular, it has significant downsides with durability, upkeep, and fire safety. I also recommend checking with your HOA before installing wood siding, as your community may have restrictions on the type of siding you choose. 

What Is Steel Log Siding?

Steel log siding is a durable and low-maintenance alternative to wood log siding. It is made to industry safety standards and can fit any structure while mimicking a natural wood look. The bonus is that this type of siding does not use any nonrenewable natural materials — in fact, steel log siding is 100% recyclable.

Steel log siding replicates the look of authentic wood in a weatherproof exterior.  This material is also available in a wide variety of color finishes, so you can choose one that matches your desired color scheme. 

The colors will also persist with occasional cleaning, as opposed to wood stains that will fade over time. Some steel logs come with chinking gaps and distressing for an aged and rustic aesthetic. This amount of customization means that you can find steel log siding to complement all kinds of home styles, from traditional cabin to contemporary.

Steel log siding outperforms wood in all weather conditions when properly installed. It resists dents, moisture swelling, sun warping, and pests. Steel siding ‌will not rot or grow mold, improving its longevity compared to wood.

Steel also is more insulative than wood siding, which can further reduce weathering and energy efficiency. Steel siding also meets strict fire codes, which wood does not. 

Overall, steel log siding provides a better lifetime value than wood. Steel log siding costs around $5 per square foot, while wood log siding can cost anywhere between $9 to $25. Pricing varies widely depending on whether or not that species of wood is available. Installing steel log siding also means that you will avoid future maintenance fees required for wood siding. 

I recommend looking into potential rebates or tax incentives for long-lasting building materials like steel siding to help offset the higher up-front costs of installation. Depending on your location, siding upgrades may also impact your insurance premiums. Discuss any changes with your insurance agent before you begin renovating.

So, Is Steel or Wood Log Siding the Better Choice?

Steel log siding is the best option for aesthetics, durability, and easy upkeep. High-quality steel logging emulates real wood’s beauty and creates a strong visual appeal without the downsides of natural wood. 

Wood siding can be prone to structural issues and costly maintenance and is also a fire hazard. Steel has clear advantages over wood when it comes to weatherproofing your home, ownership costs, and investment value. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does steel log siding look realistic?

Yes. High-quality steel logging with professional design and installation can be indistinguishable from real wood. This is because of the wide variety of texturing, distress marks, coloring, and hand-hewn effects available on the market today.

How long does steel siding last?

Steel log siding can last over 50 years with proper installation and occasional cleaning. Durable, heavyweight steel resists dents, rotting, warping, and pests far better than wood, making it a great long-term investment.

Which siding costs less overall?

Steel siding costs nearly 50% less up-front and requires fewer future maintenance fees, making it far cheaper long-term than wood options.

Is steel siding high-maintenance?

No. Steel requires occasional washing, resists weathering, and holds paint longer than wood siding. With proper care, it can last over 50 years.

Does steel siding add home value?

Yes. By increasing curb appeal and reducing ownership costs through durability and minimal upkeep, steel siding offers homeowners an excellent return on investment while meeting buyer preferences.

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Nikki Stavile

Nikki Stavile is a writer based in Tucson, Arizona. As an avid backpacker and passionate environmentalist, her work often focuses on sustainable movements at the personal and societal level.

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