4 Common Paulownia Siding Problems (Explained)

Paulownia goes by many names in Asia, where it grows natively. It is popularly called Kiri or the Princess Tree. Here in the west, Paulownia is a popular siding material. Homeowners love it because it looks like walnut or Mahogany and is resistant to staining.

Most sellers of Paulownia siding also claim that this engineered material is durable and resistant to warping and other elements it may face outdoors. Sidings made from Paulownia have a rich character that can complement your home’s aesthetics.

Whether you are interested in using it as a siding or a DIY clapboard siding restoration job, Paulownia may seem like a suitable option. But is it worth your money?

There have been several complaints about this siding. Before you buy and install it in your home, you must know some of the Paulownia siding problems to make an informed purchase.

The issues mentioned below are sourced from customer complaints and reviews.

Paulownia wood

Common Paulownia Siding Problems

1. Discoloration

Despite the claims made by sellers of Paulownia wood siding, expect some discoloration from this material, especially if your home is exposed to the sun on several sides.

A good number of homeowners with Paulownia siding have mentioned that this product is vulnerable to discoloration, especially when installed on sunny sides. It’s something that you may want to keep in mind.

The good news is that some paint can resolve the fading. But this will have to be done from time to time. And when you paint over the Paulownia siding, you will lose its natural color.

2. Decay

Even though Paulownia is a fast-growing hardwood, it is still vulnerable to rot. If you live in an area that experiences a lot of rainfall, moisture can trigger mold growth inside the Paulownia siding and lead to decay.

Unfortunately, wood decay in Paulownia siding continues to resurface even when you sand and prime the material. Your only hope is to spray a mold killer, but this should be done in the early stages.

Once the decays become significant, there is no option but to remove and replace the Paulownia siding. Rotting mostly occurs at the glue line.

3. Quality Issues

Quality issues such as discoloration and decay are mainly attributed to poor craftsmanship. It’s also an indication that the siding is not durable.

Paulownia siding has received several complaints against the quality of the material. Considering that sellers source these products from different areas, this doesn’t come as a surprise.

Should you settle on Paulownia sidings, ensure that you inquire about the source. Also, ask if there is a warranty for the siding. If you cannot get the above information, it’s better that you check out Paulownia siding alternatives.

4. It Doesn’t Last Very Long

Most homeowners who have used Paulownia sidings have had to remove them after around four to five years due to the above problems, such as rot and decay. Therefore, it’s not as durable as most sellers like to claim.

Therefore, if you settle for Paulownia, know that you may eventually have to replace it. And if the seller or contractor does not warranty it, you will be in for a considerable loss.

Should You Buy Paulownia Siding?

There are a couple of benefits of getting this material as the siding of your home, which we will discuss later. But for now, let’s focus on the potential problems. Is this siding worth spending money on?

Paulownia sidings are not new to the market. They have been around for years. Paulownia comes from a fast-growing tree that grows natively in Asia. These days, however, it’s being grown in the US. Tree enthusiasts love it because it grows pretty fast.

If you are familiar with trees, you should know that Paulownia performs similarly to Southern Yellow Pine. It is not durable.

When you install it as a siding, don’t expect it to serve you for very long. It will decay or rot within two to four years. And you will have no option but to replace it.

Please note that Paulownia siding isn’t a suitable alternative to cedar siding. It looks good, but you will never have peace of mind knowing that you will have to replace it at one point. Many sellers advertise it as decay resistant and durable, but that is far from the truth.

If you must buy Paulownia siding, ensure you provide severe treatment for insects and mold. Otherwise, you will be dealing with decay, discoloration, and mold two years later.

Is Everything about Paulownia Siding Bad?

Absolutely not. Paulownia siding may have some drawbacks worth considering, but there are also some good things about it. Otherwise, it would not be a popular siding material.

Paulownia siding is quite attractive. There is no doubt about that. One glance at this material, and you will immediately want to have it on the walls of your home’s exterior.

Besides that, it has a high strength-to-wait ratio. That means it is more resistant to warping and cracking. If you have previously dealt with PVC sidings, this feature of Paulownia is something that you will appreciate.

This siding also boasts high fire resistance. Therefore, in case of an outbreak, its low thermal conductivity will slow the spread of fire. Paulownia is also lightweight. When it comes to installation, it’s effortless to work with.

You can nail or staple through it quickly, and it’s dimensionally stable and straightforward to paint over. Later on, you can easily cover these blemishes when the effects of rot and mold kick in.

The last benefit of Paulownia siding is that it’s affordable. However, be warned that cheap can sometimes be expensive. When looking for siding for your home, choosing the most affordable option can be easy.

But you need to compare the price and properties of the material you are about to have installed. If the Paulownia siding comes with a warranty, then you are safe.

But if it doesn’t, repairs and replacements will be costly for you when the Paulownia siding starts experiencing the abovementioned problems.

Paulownia Siding Alternatives

Undoubtedly, many homeowners love the look of wood on their sidings. Now that you know the drawbacks of having Paulownia as your siding, you should compare other alternatives.

Here are some of the best alternatives to Paulownia sidings;

• Redwood – It is the epitome of home siding solutions. Redwood boasts a rich tone and texture. It is resistant to warping and shrinking. What I love most about Redwood is how it can retain its finish for the longest time.

Unlike Paulownia, Redwood is naturally insect-resistant. The only drawback of Redwood is that it can be challenging to find.

• Cedar – Next in line, we have Cedar. Thanks to its rich character, it will look good on your home’s exterior. Cedar is also more resistant to splitting, rotting, and swelling.

Like Paulownia, it is dimensionally stable. It is insect resistant but to be safe. However, I would advise you to seal all wood sidings if you want them to last long.

• Fir – It’s widely available and can be milled to a pattern of your liking. Fir is sold in long lengths. Therefore, it is easy to install. If you are a DIY enthusiast, there is no need to call a contractor when dealing with this siding.

• Spruce – It’s not better than the above three, but it’s a much better choice than Paulownia. It has a lot of similar characteristics to Pine and is available in longer lengths.

• Pine – This is an affordable solution if you are looking for home siding on a budget. It has an excellent finish, and it’s easily painted over. However, Pine is last on our list of Paulownia siding alternatives because it is also vulnerable to issues such as rot and splitting.

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