NEW LIMERICK, Maine (From news reports) -- Another major expansion is coming for a New Limerick mill that is already one of the area's largest employers.
Louisiana-Pacific Houlton is starting a $400 million expansion to its New Limerick plant to double the production capacity of SmartSide Siding and Trim, which is engineered wood strand technology that protects against hail, wind, moisture, fungal decay and termites, the company said.
Wednesday's announcement comes just two months after LP unveiled a $150 million renovation to its plant to produce the SmartSide line of products. The new expansion will add approximately 100 new jobs.
LP is a 50-year-old global manufacturer of high-performance engineered wood products used in home construction, repair and remodel, and outdoor structures. LP Houlton was commissioned in 1981 as an oriented strand board mill and is LP's second-longest-running facility. This will be LP's third major capital expansion project at Houlton and second since 2021.
The expansion will add a second SmartSide line of production in early 2023, allowing the facility to generate an additional 340 million square feet per year, according to Colby Wilson, senior specialist with corporate communications.
The additional square footage will bring LP's total SmartSide capacity to roughly 2.6 billion square feet, with more than 500 million square feet generated at the Houlton site alone.
"The project will add a new forming line and press to the facility, which will join LP Hayward as LP's second two-line siding facility," Wilson said.
On Wednesday, Gov. Janet Mills, U.S. Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins and U.S. Rep. Jared Golden applauded the announcement.
"LP's continued investment in its Houlton facility is a testament to the hardworking people of The County and to the strength of Maine's economy," said Gov. Janet Mills. "This expansion will create 100 new good-paying jobs and benefit countless other people who work in Maine's forest products industry. My Administration will continue to work closely with LP as this exciting expansion moves forward."
The congressional delegation members said the expansion would increase opportunities across the forest products industry, including loggers, haulers and everyone else in between who rely on Maine forests.
"For over a generation, LP Houlton workers have embodied The County's work ethic and spirit as they've manufactured modern wood products used around the globe. The new line will build on this proud legacy of excellence, grow the region's economy, and help LP reach emerging markets with their world-class products," they said.
LP Houlton employs 160 people, making it already one of the largest employers in southern Aroostook County.
The facility recently made the transition to modern SmartSide durable house siding, and it is expected to produce 220 million square feet of the product by the end of the year -- enough for 100,000 homes.
Collins and Mills attended the grand opening of the new $150 million siding manufacturing facility in August, and King toured the facility shortly before it opened.