A home is more than a roof over the head. What holds the roof up is equally important in sheltering a family from the elements and providing a sanctuary against the world. The walls span from the foundation to the roof, deflecting (and absorbing) cold and heat. In so doing, they themselves need protection which is why siding is so important. For those who like durability and hate having to re-paint time and again, vinyl siding is an attractive option.

The Three Types of Vinyl Siding


Vertical vinyl siding is often selected because the top-to-bottom orientation makes an assertive presentation. Homebuilders and architects favor them under gable roofs and for dormer projections. Porch walls and entryways are also made attractive with vertical vinyl siding. Popular in home design these days is the “board and batten” look where the broad vinyl boards are interspersed with narrower batten strips (also vinyl). The reason for its appeal is that this look comes very close to resembling wood—without all the rot and insect wear that comes with wood siding.


Horizontal vinyl siding is more prevalent than vertical. For one thing, vinyl siding cost is lower with the horizontal option. Additionally, horizontal siding is easier and quicker to install. This siding often conforms better to neighborhood aesthetics simply because most homes have it, particularly in older communities where traditional houses abound. That said, horizontal vinyl siding has drawbacks. Unlike vertical, horizontal siding is more susceptible to water getting trapped in its gaps. This erodes the panels over time (not nearly as quickly as it does to wood), requiring earlier replacement than vertical does.


Tradition and charm are not only the strong suits of horizontal siding. Shake vinyl siding is sought after for the cedar-like appearance it brings to any structure. A substantial advantage of the shake type is that it need not cover the whole house, but can be employed in strategic locations. Available in straight-edge and staggered-edge, this vinyl siding is frequently used as an accent, and it stands up well juxtaposed with stone siding, for example. Using shakes, or shingles, sometimes invites water damage if they are not positioned in a manner to efficiently drain off moisture.

The Eight Styles of Vinyl Siding


Clapboard, or traditional lap, vinyl siding is easily recognizable, elongated, wide planks. Each board overlaps the one beneath it, creating the impression that they are narrower at the top. As a practical matter, this allows the siding to push rainwater away from the interior walls. Aesthetically, it gives off a clean and uniform look. Lap siding is almost always horizontal.

Dutch Lap

Very much like clapboard, Dutch Lap is distinctive in that the boards overlie at a steeper angle, leaving troughs between each plank. Also, the boards are beveled at the top and the recesses add to the sharpness of the display. Once linked with upscale houses, Dutch Lap is now accessible to many more homes thanks, to vinyl.


Also once a sign of the upper crust, vinyl brings beaded siding to the middle class. A round notch spanning the bottom of each panel is what differentiates beaded vinyl siding from the other styles. This groove produces a shadow line that gives the outer walls a stately and elegant appearance. Among vinyl siding colors, white is common with this style.

Log Siding

Everyone loves the rustic and historical look of a log cabin. Fewer, however, want to invest in the time and money to build one. This siding, thankfully, simulates the appearance of logs while free of the decay and maintenance that comes with them. Better still, customers can select the type of wood—pine or cedar, e.g.—to imitate when cladding their homes.

Board and Batten

As noted above, a fashionable style in vertical siding is the board and batten look, where wide planks alternate with thinner strips. This pattern was adopted by early American settlers to protect their homes and barns. With the advent of vinyl, consumers still favor this design for its distinctiveness and its bucolic association regardless of location.

Scalloped Shakes

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Scalloped Shakes, also known as half-round shakes, are a variation of shingle that provide a decorative front to gables and other features of traditional homes. Even with new construction, scalloped shake vinyl siding gives an impression of established longevity. Vinyl siding colors can mimic authentic wooden shakes on any part of the house—or the whole house if preferred.

Cedar Shakes

Vinyl shingles are designed and manufactured to resemble natural cedar shakes to a tee in both color and texture. Whereas straight-edged—or traditional—shakes are aligned in a uniform way, the staggered-edge shingles present a more craftsman-like appearance. Sometimes called hand-splint shakes, staggered-edge will look like they were attached one at a time.

Insulated Siding

In an age when all are encouraged to think ecologically, insulated vinyl siding makes sense. Though coming at a higher price, insulated siding not only reduces the energy consumption in the home but its expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam backstops the siding. In so doing, the EPS prevents any warping or sagging that can occur over time.

How to Pick Vinyl Siding

  1. The denseness of the siding matters—usual thickness of the siding is .045 inches. T
  2. Double-nailed hems help the siding to retain its shape.
  3. The farther the panels project where they overlap, the greater their resemblance to actual wood.
  4. Well-respected and established contractors will know how to install vinyl siding according to industry standards.
  5. Higher wind speed ratings on the panels mean longer life through the storms.
  6. Longer panels are preferable because they expose fewer joints.

Summing Up

For the cost-conscious, vinyl siding remains intact without ongoing maintenance. However, those willing to invest can clad their homes artistically and beautifully with various types and styles of vinyl siding.

Image from depositphotos.com.

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