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Structural Wood Products

Review of performance requirements for use of wood siding in mid-rise building applicationsCompleted

Project leaders: Chui, Y.H.


A traditional market for wood siding is in residential construction. With the recent change in the
British Columbia building code to allow mid-rise residential buildings to be constructed with
wood, a great opportunity has opened up for the wood siding industry to expand into that market,
and potentially the non-residential construction market. This report discusses the challenges of
using wood siding in mid-rise building applications. The aim is to help the wood industry
understand the challenges of using wood siding in mid-rise building applications and the
potential for expansion into that market. The specific tasks performed were:

1. A review of the building codes to identify technical requirements with respect to
structural, durability and fire performance of wood siding in mid-rise buildings.

2. A survey of architects and engineers to identify key technical and non-technical
factors that are considered when specifying exterior cladding materials for mid-rise

3. An analysis of the environmental conditions surrounding the exterior of mid-rise
buildings, including wind suction/pressure, wind-driven rain, air temperature and
humidity, in comparison with those at low-rise level.
4. A general overview of characteristics of the wood siding products and additional
work required in order to meet code and other performance requirements demanded
by specifiers.

Over 80% of the architects and engineers surveyed would specify wood siding if appropriate
technical information is made available to them. Three performance requirements, namely fire,
durability and structural, were identified as key factors in the use of wood siding in mid-rise
buildings. Of these three issues, structural performance was identified as less critical and in
general can be addressed by engineering design. It is recommended that any interested wood
siding manufacturer will need to undertake three key tasks related to fire, durability and

1. Wood siding manufacturers work with fire retardant suppliers to develop fire retardant
chemicals that have sufficient weathering resistance to allow the retardant to remain
effective in the long term. Currently, in order to meet building code requirement,
evidence must be provided to show that wall panel incorporating wood siding that has
been subjected to weathering according to ASTM D2898, can provide adequate fire
resistance when tested in accordance with CAN/ULC S134.

2. While fire related requirements in building codes can be a barrier, they can be addressed
through the alternative solution approach allowed by the codes. Based on a review of the
responses from architects and engineers, it appears that the MOST critical issue is
durability and not fire. A durable coating that can reduce maintenance schedule of wood
siding to a frequency that is comparable with competing cladding products such as
masonry and concrete (typically 25 – 30 years), must be used. Furthermore, third party
verified information to support durability performance claim must be generated and made
available to potential specifiers.

3. Architects would prefer products that can offer a range of aesthetic options, including
colour, profile and texture. It appears that Canadian wood siding manufacturers are
already offering a wide range of product options, but product information is generally
unknown to architects. Therefore more intensive, direct marketing efforts appear
Keywords: Wood siding, Fire performance, Durability, Fastening, Mid-rise construction

Start date: 2011-06-01 End date: 2012-06-01



For more information on this project, please contact:

Chui, Y.H.
University of New Brunswick
Email: yhc@unb.ca
Telephone: (506) 453-4942
Fax: (506) 453-3538
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