Barn siding?

If you have wood siding on your barn, what is it exactly? Are you happy with it?

My barn is sided in T1-11, which is wearing, and it just looks kinda crappy. I think residing it is in the future, but I’m not quite sure what exactly I should be looking for.

We used Hardie board siding on our second barn and will be residing the main barn with it. So far the Hardie board siding has shown no signs of deterioration, we wanted it primarily for its resistance to fire since we are in a wild fire area

*Hardie® siding complies with ASTM E136 as a noncombustible cladding and is recognized by fire departments across the U.S

Hardie are specifically engineered to withstand damage from moisture and rot,

Following. I am in exactly the same situation in southern PA. Our barn is also T1-11 showing its age and I don’t want to go with metal. I had the contractor out last week to evaluate and get on the schedule for the spring. He suggested a product called “SmartSide”. It seems like “modern T1-11”? Be interested in everyone’s experience. Hardiboard is lovely (from what I’ve heard) but I think is going to be too spendy?

Huh, our T1-11 is 17 about 18 years old, has always been stained, was re-stained 3 years go, and still looks great, on all sides, including the S and W which just get beaten up all Summer.

That said, it’s also about 2’ off the ground, no, not quite that much, about 20" or so of treated 3x6 boards. So, no ground contact, no real proximity to taking up ground moisture either.

I’d look at why it’s looking poorly, to make sure whatever replaces it isn’t subject to the same issue

I think its just aging? My barn is at about 25 years, I’m pretty sure it got built when the house was built. And, most of the wear is North and West where we get our weather. Its basically delaminating despite the paint being in really good shape.

This may not be pertinent to your location, since I’m on the West Coast and don’t need insulation. I did tongue and groove, with a belt line that I later stained a deep charcoal, and metal from there on up. I was not attracted to the idea of an all metal barn, and this ended up looking really nice. The metal is maintenance free, because I didn’t really relish the idea of getting up on ladders and re-staining 45 feet in the air. The tongue and groove is easy to access for maintenance.
The backside of the barn faces a pear orchard, and will never be seen by the general public, so that is all metal also. It is also the side of inclement weather. Really gnarly rain, wind and sun. The no maintenance won me over there


@JB I imagine that, like plywood, not all T1-11 is the same quality.

@clanter just how much does that hardiboard cost? Under or over $20k to outfit a 34 x 48 ft barn with a loft? Do the horses chew on the exposed edge at all? I’m not opposed to siding the barn like a house, but the thought of paying for that and then having the horses gnaw on it… :confounded: :confounded: I can’t limit horse exposure to the siding, so whatever we put up has to be able to withstand that. Not like they chew on it now, but you just know if I sink a bunch of dollars into it they will.

@fourfillies sounds like we’re in about the same boat! I’m just so meh on putting up another panel product, and it looks like SmartSide is one of those? My T1-11 is most crappy looking at the edges of the panels and signing up for that again…sigh. I think upgrading to a different type of product is worth it if only for that! Do you noticed the same thing on your barn?

@Arlomine your T&G is loooooovely. Do you have horses up against it? We did a bunch of T&G in my last barn (then moved, sigh) and from what I can recall, the horses left it alone. Has that been your experience? How often do you have to restain? Did you consider any other products, why did this one win out? It’s really lovely, I’m not sure I would’ve thought about doing metal above and the wood below!

we built the second barn 20 years ago so really have no idea as to current cost

Old school! The barn, which the horses are up against on one side, is tongue and groove 2" vertical wood with an age range between 30 and 140 years. Frankly the 140 year stuff is lasting better than the 30 year sections. If it didn’t rot or get chewed by now…it isn’t going to be. The shed, that they are heavily in and around, is marine grade 3/4" plywood. It has lasted 30 years but is due for an update. I’m swapping it out for 3/4" random width naturally grown (not plantation) pine, width ranging between 12" and 24". I’ve been finding that native wood is far, far less likely to get chewed than commercial stuff. The 2"x4" from the lumber store gets turned into tooth picks. The 2"x4" of slow grown wood, whether ash, oak, pine, spruce, or hemlock, just isn’t that tasty. Which I find fascinating as a student of trees.
That all isn’t fair though, and I know that, I have a sawmill and essentially unlimited free wood. Still, I will maintain that genuine wood will beat most anything in this application, you just can’t get it…


I found an almost wholesale source for this particular tongue and groove. There is a local company that makes log cabins. This is their exterior stuff for non-log parts. It’s thick/exterior material rather than the lighter weight interior stuff. I do have it on the backside of the barn where the horses have pipe paddocks. It’s been there for five years, and so far the horses by and large left it alone. They’ve been just a few little places where they nibbled.

I did three coats of exterior stain. So much nicer than paint! I have not restained yet. Having a combination of the two materials sort of through my builder for a loop, but since I was general contractor… I got to do what I wanted and I think it worked out just fine :slight_smile:

One of the main reasons I went with tongue and groove is that I didn’t have to do anything to the interior. I had a long enough length that I did not have to line the interior space of the barn. As far as I’m concerned, that just makes more room for rats. The interior of the tongue and groove is stained with a lovely clear verathane Three coats. So even though the tongue and groove cost more, the fact that it was a single wall was a game changer. But again we don’t need insulation here.
I personally hate t-11. It delaminates, and then you have a huge project. T&G doesn’t do that.

I have the T1-11 on the shed row barn and a shed. It looks like crap after they installed it 25+ years ago and no maintenance. They didn’t install flashing at the bottom to protect it from the ground.

Currently looking at replacing it with the Smart Side product with proper flashing and new gutters. Then making a 18” gravel edge around the barn to reduce having to trim close to the building.

Hardi board runs a similar price but is more labor intensive to install for me.

Mine has Hardie Board on the exposed outer walls. The boards come already colored, you choose your color from a collection. It is nice to pick a color and have no painting to do after installation. What you spend extra on the colored and textured boards is offset by not having to pay for painting.

My sheltered barn walls are tongue and groove pine boards. The builder sanded them and applied polyurethane. Sunlight has really taken a toll on the finish. I am in the process of re-sanding everything after 5 years. This time I plan to coat them with spar urethane, which I hope holds up better and gives better sunlight protection than the original polyurethane.

I’m on the coast in New England. 17 years ago we built our barn, using Hardiplank for cladding. We had it painted a specific color, but it came preprimed. The paint job looks like it was done yesterday. Damage has been minimal (a horse kicked a plank). The only caveat is that I would suggest inspecting it at least once a year. If there’s a damaged spot (squirrels start but then give up) it’ll begin to disintegrate as moisture gets into it. So we just patch paint it and it’s good to go.

When we renovated our old barn 20 years ago we put Western Cedar board and batten all the way around. Still looks good. Actually better now that it’s aged. Here’s the east side of the barn, 20 years later.

South side which gets unrelenting sunshine

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My T1-11 is actually fine at the seams. It’s degrading like kind of getting “unflat” in 12”x12-24” sections. From a distance it looks fine but notsomuch up close.

If the Hardie board and SmartSide are pretty equivalent price wise I definitely have some research to do.

I have Hardiboard. I have not had any problems with chewing (and one of my horses was a confirmed chewer. She did a lot of damage to the wood interior of the barn, but not to the Hardiboard).

BUT, the Hardiboard is quite brittle. I have two horseshoe shaped holes where a horse (or horses) kicked at the siding.

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We had hardiplank installed on our house and absolutely loved it. It still looks fantastic! One of our barns has hardiplank and I need to replace one board where it was kicked. I don’t know how long ago the hardiplank was installed, but it looks fantastic also.

Might want to check local sawmills for real wood siding. There are many barns built with rough sawn oak that lasted fifty years or more.

We can provide but are not necessarily limited to:
4/4 air dried pine boards used as exterior rough sawn siding, paneling and other construction projects.


My barn is made of rough cut pine, vertical planks. It’s 50 years old now and the wood is in fabulous condition other than some major paint damage (vandalism, really) from the former owner. The method here for this kind of barn or building is to spray it with diesel to seal it and it turns the wood into a wonderful rich dark brown/red. I’m really irritated former owner messed up this barn but if we can’t get the paint off which has been an absolute nightmare thus far we will replace with the same planks. Lots of sawmills around here, would probably be easier than removing paint from rough cut but I’m stubborn.

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When I had to remove spray paint from our shed (thanks previous owners), I used acetone and let it soak for a good 30 min then could scrub the paint off. Lots of elbow grease involved, then I had to reseal the area.

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