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Guide to Plywood Siding Prices & Materials

Plywood siding, sometimes referred to as T1-11, is a wood or wood-based type of siding. It became extremely popular in the '60s, '70s and early '80s. By the mid-80s, plywood siding was losing ground due to the success of other sidings such as aluminum, vinyl and composite. However, there are still a number of homeowners who prefer plywood siding because of the natural look it gives to homes.

The Costs

  • Minimum cost: $2 per square foot

  • Maximum cost: $4 per square foot

Just like any other type of siding, the cost of plywood siding differs, depending on the quality of the plywood used as well as the cost of labor. For low-end plywood siding, homeowners can expect to pay at least $2.40 per square foot. This comes out to be around $3,000 to cover 1,250 square feet. High-end plywood siding costs around $4 per square foot, which equals about $5,000 to cover the same 1,250-square-foot area. It is important for homeowners to keep in mind that this is just an estimate, and the actual cost of the siding will vary.

Labor costs differ, depending on the company that the homeowner chooses for the project. On average, however, most contractors charge around $100 to $150 per 100 square feet of plywood siding installed. Some companies charge by the hour. In this case, it is important for the homeowner to find out how much experience the company has with installing plywood siding. The more experience the company has, the less time it should take. If needed, the homeowner should ask to see work of prior plywood siding projects or request a list of references.


When it comes to plywood siding, the main thing that homeowners have to pay attention to is the best type of plywood to use. There are multiple types of plywood to choose from, each one with its own strengths and weaknesses. Keep in mind that each type of plywood has its own grade: A, B, C and D. Grade A is plywood with the least amount of blemishes, and Grade D has the most.

  • Interior plywood - This type of plywood is usually made from hardwood and softwood species. It can only be used for such projects as wall sheathing, cabinetry and furniture. This type of plywood is available in most grades and can be purchased in a variety of different species of wood such as oak, cherry and birch.

  • Exterior plywood - This is considered the most common type of plywood. The type of glue that is used in the construction of exterior plywood is more resistant to moisture, which makes it perfect for outdoor use. It is also available in all grades.

  • Marine plywood - This is the best plywood when moisture resistance is a must. The adhesives used in the making of this plywood are of the best quality. Marine plywood is only found as Grade A. Homeowners are very limited in the type of wood species from which the plywood is made.

  • Structural plywood - This is a very strong plywood, but it is not very attractive. The glue used in this plywood is designed for strength, not looks. Structural plywood is usually not found in anything higher than a Grade C.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Plywood Siding

Plywood siding fell out of popularity due to some of its shortcomings. That being said, the pros for installing plywood siding greatly outweigh the cons for some homeowners. This is why plywood siding is still being used by some homeowners. Below is a list of pros and cons every homeowner needs to consider before making a decision about whether to use plywood siding on their house.


One of the biggest advantages of plywood siding, besides its natural beauty, is the fact that it is a cost-effective option when homeowners are considering what type of siding to put on their houses. Unlike other wood, plywood is very stable and not as susceptible to swelling or warping as other siding options. Because plywood can be purchased in larger sheets, the installation of this kind of siding usually goes quickly. Despite the fact that it can be purchased in one large sheet, the vertical grooving that naturally occurs in the plywood gives it the impression that multiple boards were used in the making of the siding. This makes it much more pleasing to the eye.


Although plywood is not as flammable as some other wood siding options, it is still extremely flammable. This puts the home at greater risk of catching fire. Also, because the siding is made out of wood, it is a lot more susceptible to termite damage than a house that has vinyl siding. Last but not least, plywood becomes susceptible to water rot over time. This can be prevented if the plywood is properly treated and kept up with during the life of the house.

Regular Maintenance

The trick to keeping plywood siding looking good is for the homeowner to be diligent when it comes to maintenance. The homeowner should remember to reapply protective stains on the plywood every three to five years or as needed. This will help protect it from the elements. If the homeowner does not want to stain the wood and prefers to paint the plywood siding, they will not have to worry about re-staining the plywood so often. A general rule of thumb is to repaint the siding every 10 to 15 years. The length of time the homeowner can wait is dependent on the quality of the paint job the first time around.

Plywood vs. Oriented Strand Board

Although plywood siding costs more than oriented strand board, or OSB, it is a far more superior product. This has to do with the greater durability of plywood versus OSB. There are also more options when it comes to plywood siding. For example, the homeowner can choose to buy rough or sanded plywood. Although these choices are purely aesthetic, it is still nice for the homeowner to have the option. Although OSB siding should not be completely overlooked, most homeowners tend to choose plywood when considering these two options. If the homeowner is doing their best to save money, OSB might be the better choice, but plywood generally lasts longer and requires less maintenance.

Last updated on Aug 28, 2014

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