LP SmartSide vs. T1-11 Siding: Which is Better for Sheds?

When I was preparing to build my new Lean-To shed I was wondering which siding to use, LP SmartSide or T1-11? Siding serves a number of important aspects so picking the correct one for your new shed is essential.

LP SmartSide vs. T1-11 siding? Though T1-11 siding is durable and improves the support of the structure, it requires much more maintenance and needs to get refinished with stain every 3 to 5 years. LP SmartSide, meanwhile, requires far less maintenance and is more water resistant.

Do you need to add more storage space in your backyard? Building a new shed is a rewarding experience and if done right, can hold up for decades. This guide compares the advantages and disadvantages of LP SmartSide vs. T1-11 siding. It will help you decide which one is better for your new shed.

LP SmartSide Panel vs T1-11 Siding

Characteristics of a Durable Shed – Side by Side Comparison

If you’re like me, you probably plan to spend a good deal of time in your shed. When the house no longer has the space for things like my tools and equipment, my shed will become a sort of home away from home.

I really want a shed that is durable and will hold up since I’m taking the time to construct it. When I was considering what material to use, I thought about vinyl siding, but the truth is I just think wood is more appropriate for a shed.

Therefore, my next decision was to decide between LP SmartSide and T1-11. Many old-school carpenters love T1-11, and it is understandable because the siding has such a long history and solid reputation.

Yet when I compared T1-11 to LP SmartSide, I found that SmartSide stacked up just as well, and actually trumped T1-11 paneling in many important categories.

Like T1-11, LP SmartSide is natural wood, but it is manufactured with an extra layer of protection before being shipped to your residence. LP requires far less maintenance, which for me is incredibly important because I don’t want to dedicate time every 3 to 5 years to restaining the exterior walls.

I just want to build the thing and then let it withstand the elements on its own, so I can spend more time working on the yard and the house.

There is little doubt that while T1-11 is fairly durable and can hold up for years, it is still not quite as water resistant as LP SmartSide. A well built shed with SmartSide siding can last for decades with minimal, to no damage.

Some proponents of T1-11 will note that it can be slightly cheaper (depending on the wholesaler), do you really end up saving money if you need to maintain the siding every year? I firmly believe that over time LP SmartSide is a better deal for your wallet.

What is T1-11 Siding?

t1-11 sidingT1-11 is a type of wood paneling that first appeared in the 1960s. The product continued to get used regularly on homes over the next couple of decades before other materials like steel, aluminum, vinyl, and composite became more popular with builders.

Though it is rare to find it on new homes anymore, T1-11 is still produced and used primarily for barns or sheds. It looks very much like Board and Batten, or Shiplap siding due to the grooves cut into the outer layers.

What does T1-11 Stand For?

The siding stands for Texture “tee-one-eleven”. It refers to the textured grooves or channels that are cut into one face of the siding. The siding is available in two major grades: plywood and OSB.

The plywood version is slightly more expensive than oriented strand board (OSB), yet I prefer it because the paneling is known to provide more durability.

T1-11 Siding Installation

T1-11 was very popular with buildings at first because it was shipped in 4 x 8 sheets, was easy to install using usual cutting tools along with a hammer and nails, and didn’t have cracks like planking does.

I have noticed there are many installation benefits of T1-11 where it can actually enhance the strength of the structure if installed correctly.

However, one drawback to T1-11 during the installation is the added time you need to add flashing and seal the seams to prevent water from entering the unprotected edges of the siding.

If the sealing is not done correctly, moisture will penetrate exposed areas and lead to delamination. It can contribute to costly repairs later, which is why I suggest T1-11 not remain your top option.

T1-11 Siding Advantages and Disadvantages

Regular maintenance is required with T1-11 sheds. You need to check frequently to make sure the wood is not getting exposed to water or insect damage.

Furthermore, the exterior must get refinished every 3 to 5 years if applying stain, and every 8 to 12 years if applying paint.


  • All natural wood that gives an authentic look
  • Affordable type of siding
  • Can improve the strength of the shed


  • Requires yearly maintenance
  • Is more prone to water damage

What is LP SmartSide Panel?

Louisiana Pacific (LP) siding has been around since the 1980s, though it was not until the late-90s that SmartSide emerged on the market and became a contender for builders.

LP SmartSide was originally developed to resemble T1-11 in many ways but with an extra coating layer to protect the wood against the elements.

While I have run into people that believe SmartSide is not wood, that is incorrect. SmartSide is still wood though it has also been engineered to withstand added pressure from the elements.

lp smartside siding

The product features a resin-saturated overlay for added protection. It also provides a base for paint that may get applied after you complete your shed.

The Smart Guard technology of the siding utilizes wood flakes to form the cladding. The flakes are first coated with zinc borate and different waxes in order to withstand water better.

LP SmartSide Colors

The natural look of wood is still evident with LP SmartSide, though the added coating means you don’t have to maintain the siding every 3 to 5 years with new stain or paint.

You can select from many different colors for the siding. Even if the product is shipped already painted, you can still apply a different paint color after completing the shed.

LP SmartSide Installation

Like T1-11, LP SmartSide is relatively straightforward when it comes to the installation. I have found that siding is only as good as its installer.

Therefore, if you use poor building habits like using screws instead of nails, and avoid caulking, the paneling will not withstand the elements as much as it’s designed to.

LP Smart Siding Advantages and Disadvantages

For those that prefer the all-natural, 100 percent wood look LP SmartSide has a downside because it’s more prepared for paint than stain. The material is usually manufactured pre-primed, which takes the grain color out of the presentation.

LP SmartSide costs about the same as T1-11. Some builders remain fastened to the belief that there is not a cheaper version of wood siding than T1-11, but SmartSide is the same price depending on the wholesaler.

It could be argued that it’s actually cheaper in the long run because it requires little maintenance meaning no need to purchase new stain or paint every few years, which I definitely prefer.


  • Extremely resistant to water damage
  • Maintenance free after the initial construction
  • Very durable and not easily subjected to rot or decay
  • Looks better painted than rough T1-11 which is not a good painted surface


  • Does not look as good stained because the product is shipped with a primed base, hiding the natural grain.

Related Questions

What materials are used in LP SmartSide? The siding is manufactured with wood strands or wood fiber that has been soaked in a zinc borate compound to help protect it from insects and fungal decay. Resins are added to create strong bonds. Then, a barrier is added to resist flaking and peeling.

Is T1-11 considered environmentally-friendly? Yes, the 100 percent wood product is about as environmentally-friendly as you can get for a type of siding. The plywood paneling not only looks great but also works well with most climates.

What type of wood siding resists insects the best? Both T1-11 and LP SmartSide are considered very good for keeping away insects like termites. It is especially true if the paneling is properly installed and preventive maintenance like caulking is utilized.

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