Architect’s guide to Black Locust siding

May 27, 2024

Our architect’s guide to Black Locust siding will help build your knowledge as you seek the perfect cladding for your project.

Elevating an architectural project with wood siding or rainscreen is aesthetically pleasing and also practical. Black Locust siding is one of the most durable wood materials that is naturally water and rot-resistant. Black Locust siding has low maintenance needs and offers exterior protection from rain and snow conditions. Black Locust siding provides extremely durable and long-lasting protection for the exterior of the building. Our architect’s guide to Black Locust siding will help build your knowledge as you seek the perfect cladding for your project. 

What is siding?

Siding is a material that can be manufactured from wood, cement board, aluminum, vinyl, or other synthetic materials. These materials are used to surface the exterior of a building or house. The siding protects the building against exposure to natural elements, prevents heat loss and heat gain, and helps visually unify the design. 

Best wood material for exterior siding: Black Locust siding  

Not all types of wood are suitable for exterior siding. Black Locust is a type of wood material that belongs in exteriors due to its longevity. The wood is naturally rot-resistant and has anti-fungal properties without the help of any toxic chemicals or additional surface treatments. Black Locust siding is a sustainable material that does not require oils, stains or sealants. Black Locust siding is recognized as a sustainable source when it comes to LEED, BREEAM, and FSC® requirements.

[Black Locust exterior siding at Railroad Park]

Railroad Park links the northern and southern halves of Birmingham, Alabama. Black Locust sidings were used to elevate the exterior. 

Wood Grade for Black Locust siding

Wood siding is generally rated on its appearance. For this reason, building codes do not govern the grading of sidings. Black Locust wood requires unique grading rules to ensure you get the best quality wood. Our many decades of history in the Black Locust Lumber industry have led us to develop our own grading rules. We follow our own Grading Guide that will enable you to choose the most suitable Black Locust Lumber for your architecture project needs. 

Frick Environmental Center Black Locust siding

Frick  Environmental Center located in Pittsburgh, PA achieved LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge status. Black Locust siding was selected for the exterior.

Black Locust color and finish

As experts, we strongly recommend NOT to use oils and chemicals to treat Black Locust wood surfaces. Applying surface treatments are unnecessary and not required for Black Locust. Take a look at this case study from our very own Black Locust Siding project portfolio on how adding treatments to the surface affects the wood.

[ALT text: Cherry Road School Black Locust siding]

Cherry Road School is an example on why NOT to add stains to Black Locust siding.

Black Locust siding at Ravine House

Black Locust siding at Ravine House. Ravine House is award-winning Building of the Year in 2020 by Archdaily and an award in the Distinguished Building category from AIA Chicago.

Black Locust siding durability

Black Locust siding products can last for decades. It is naturally durable, rot-resistant, and maintenance-free. Black Locust siding should be considered your top choice of all siding materials. Due to its durability and hardness, Black Locust wood’s Janka hardness scale is 1,700 lbf (7,560 N). In fact, it is so hard and durable that in 1812 the Americans won the war against the British due to their use of the strongest hardwood material for their fleet: Black Locust wood. 

Black Locust siding fits in the natural environment

Frick Environmental Center is one of the premier largest green building and LBC projects in the world. The building boasts elegance with the use of Black Locust sidings that fits well within its natural environment.

Environmental impact of Black Locust wood

When selecting a material for your siding project, consider the total environmental impact of a material over its lifespan. Wood siding has been recognized by green building rating systems as a go-to material with a better impact on the environment than traditional siding materials. The overall emissions during manufacturing are on the lower end of the spectrum.

The maintenance requirements over time are low when left natural and the potential for recycling is at its top when choosing Black Locust lumber as your siding material.

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