OLYMPIA -- Weyerhaeuser Co. will contribute $130,540 toward a study into the performance of engineered wood siding in Pacific Northwest climates in an agreement that ends an investigation into whether the firm misrepresented the siding's performance.
Weyerhaeuser has agreed to pay $55,000 in attorney fees to each of the three states involved in the Consumer Protection investigation - Washington, Oregon and Wisconsin.
Under the terms of the agreement, the results of the two-year study will be widely shared throughout the building and wood products industries and could lead to changes in building codes.
In the 1990s, consumers complained that the siding, which is made mostly of wood fiber and resin, was warping, bulging and rotting.
The inquiry into the Weyerhaeuser siding by state attorneys general was just the most recent of a series of investigations into the reliability of wood composite siding. In 1996, Louisiana-Pacific Corp. paid the state $1.3 million over problems with its siding product.
Other participants in the study are the Washington State University Wood Materials and Engineering Lab, the Tacoma-based Engineered Wood Association and the University of Tennessee's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Weyerhaeuser two years ago settled private class-action lawsuits brought by affected consumers. In that settlement, Weyerhaeuser agreed to address claims on potentially hundreds of thousands of houses, mostly in the West.
There is no cap on what Weyerhaeuser will have to pay under that settlement, but the company has set aside $82 million for the claims, which will be paid over nine years.
Between 1996 and 1998, Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division received 34 complaints regarding the performance of Weyerhaeuser siding.
Weyerhaeuser sold its hardboard production facilities to Collins Products. Collins now markets the siding under its own name.