Vertical Siding 101

Vertical siding is an eye-catching and stylish exterior cladding option that adds architectural interest to both residential and commercial structures. Vertical siding has a distinct and one-of-a-kind appearance because it is installed vertically as opposed to standard horizontal siding, which is installed parallel to the ground.

Vertical Siding

This siding style adds a modern aesthetic to homes and other buildings while also providing functional benefits such as improved water drainage and the illusion of increased height. Whether vertical siding is used as a primary cladding or as an exterior accent feature, it can serve to redefine the look and function of the building.

Vertical Siding Styles

Vertical siding comes in a range of styles and designs that homeowners and architects can use to achieve a particular aesthetic look.

Vertical Board and Batten Siding

This is a vertical siding style that features wide vertical boards with narrow strips, or battens, covering the space between the boards. This is a type of timeless vertical siding that is often associated with traditional and rustic architecture.

You can often find board and batten architecture on farmhouses, old and new, cottages, cabins, barns, colonial homes, and coastal architecture. Board and batten siding also features a clean and minimal look, so it is also used in modern and contemporary architecture.

Vertical Panelized Siding

Modern panelized vertical siding features large paneled siding pieces made from a mix of materials, including fiber cement, metal, and vinyl. These panels are large and present a clean and unbroken appearance. Its sleek and smooth presentation is one reason that this vertical siding style is often used in contemporary and modern architecture. This siding is also popular because of its energy efficiency as well as its varied colors and finishes.

V-Groove Vertical Siding

V-groove vertical siding is characterized by the presence of V-shaped grooves or channels that run vertically along the surface of each panel. These grooves give it a distinctive appearance and add depth, which creates light and shadowed areas along each board. This siding style is often used on traditional or rustic structures because it evokes the look of craftsmanship.

Shiplap Vertical Siding

Vertical shiplap is characterized by long and narrow boards with a distinctive groove between each board. Each board features a shiplap edge, or groove, along one long side, which is designed to overlap with the board beside it. This creates a snug and weather-resistant fit.

Shiplap is a popular siding option for both interior and exterior applications. Even though it is a historic paneling style, it achieves a contemporary aesthetic because of its simple and understated style.

Reverse Board and Batten Vertical Siding

Reverse board and batten siding, also called batten and board siding, puts a unique spin on the traditional siding style. As its names suggest, in reverse board and batten siding, the battens are nailed behind the boards rather than on top of them. This gives the siding the look of wood panels with a large gap between each. You can find reverse board and batten siding in wood, fiber cement, and vinyl options. This siding style is often featured in modern or contemporary architecture.

Vertical Dutch Lap Siding

Dutch lap siding is characterized by a distinct profile that sets it apart from similar grooved siding styles like shiplap. Dutch lap boards have a scooped groove profile that gives each board a distinctive shape. This groove fits snugly into the boards along either side, creating a tight fitting siding. This is a historic siding style that is effective for water and moisture resistance. While Dutch lap siding has a timeless style, it also appeals to a modern aesthetic.

Tongue and Groove Vertical Siding

Tongue and groove vertical siding is composed of boards that interlock seamlessly. Each tongue and groove board has a long edge that is milled with a tongue on one side and a groove on the other. The tongue of one board fits over the groove of the board at its side.

Tongue and groove siding is more difficult to install than simpler siding styles like shiplap, which feature just one grooved side. Tongue and groove siding is available in a variety of materials and is used to accentuate traditional and rustic architecture.

Vertical Siding Materials

Vertical siding comes in a variety of materials, each differing in appearance, longevity, and maintenance requirements.


Popular wood species for wood siding include cedar and redwood because of their inherent resistance to weather and pests. Due to its lower cost, pine is another common wood type used for siding; however, it is not as strong or long-lasting as redwood and cedar siding. Although wood siding has a timeless and traditional appearance, it may need more upkeep to keep it from weathering and decaying.


Vinyl siding is a material made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin. It is one of the most popular siding materials due to its low cost, weather-resistance, versatility of design, and durability. Vinyl siding comes in a variety of colors and textures and is easy to install. Vinyl siding also has energy efficient options, which feature additional layers of insulation that can translate to cost-savings over time.

Fiber-Cement Siding

Fiber-cement siding is made from a mixture of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers. This is one of the most popular siding materials due to its durability, low maintenance, and resistance to pests and fires. Fiber-cement siding can be made to look like wood or masonry. James Hardie, the creator of the Hardie plank, is one of the most well-known manufacturers of fiber-cement siding.

Metal Siding

Steel and aluminum are common metals used for siding. Metal siding is popular in certain aesthetic styles, like industrial, contemporary, and rustic. Metal siding is durable and resistant to fire. You can paint metal siding, which allows you to customize it to any color scheme. It is available in a variety of styles, including panels and board and batten sidings.

Wood Composite Siding

Wood composite siding is composed of wood fibers and plastic. This blend provides the siding with a balance of warm texture and durability. Composite siding is designed to resist moisture, pests, and rot. It is available in a range of siding styles.

Pros and Cons of Vertical Siding

Vertical siding is a cladding style that can add aesthetic and functional benefits to the exterior of a building. Like any siding, vertical siding has a range of benefits and drawbacks that you should consider before you use it.


  • Versatile and timeless aesthetic: Vertical siding is appropriate for a variety of buildings because it is available in a multitude of styles and materials. Although some believe that vertical siding is a recent fad, its decades-long popularity indicates that it is a classic design.
  • Visual height: Siding that is oriented vertically can give the impression of height, which makes it appropriate for structures that want to emphasize their height.
  • Water drainage: Compared to some types of horizontal siding, vertical siding facilitates more effective water drainage.
  • Architectural interest: Vertical siding can be used as an accent in areas that the builder wants to emphasize, such as gables. It is also effective when combined with other cladding materials.
  • Versatility: Vertical siding comes in a variety of styles, materials, colors, and textures, which make it work with many building types and styles.
  • Ease of maintenance: Dirt and grime naturally accumulate on exterior siding, but vertical siding’s orientation makes it simple to clean.


  • Cost: Compared to certain horizontal siding options, some vertical siding can be more costly due to its lack of popularity.
  • Limited availability of materials: While there are a variety of types and materials for vertical siding, there are not as many options as for horizontal siding.
  • Installation: Installing vertical siding is more labor-intensive and requires more skill than horizontal siding.
  • Seam visibility: Vertical siding may have more noticeable seams that detract from the overall design, depending on the siding style.
  • Not ideal for all architectural styles: Despite its versatility, vertical siding is not suitable for all architectural styles.

Vertical Siding Examples

Here are some ways that builders and architects have used vertical siding to enhance the design of these homes in various architectural styles.


Black transitional house with vertical siding
Carlton Edwards

The builders of this home used vertical wooden plank siding to give this traditional home shape a modern edge. The dark gray paint color helps to visually smooth the siding’s distinct texture.


Small contemporary house with vertical siding
Architrave Architecture Design Build Ltd.

Two types of vertical siding, metal and wood, were used to emphasize the different areas of this home. While the metal siding gives the home its distinctive contemporary style, the wood siding gives it a pleasing warmth and texture.


Modern house with vertical siding

This home’s modern style is complemented by the vertical wood plank siding, which is spare and uncomplicated. To create a clear and subtle division between the upper and lower portions of the house, the builder used two different widths for the wood planks.


Traditional house with vertical siding

This house has a cozy, welcoming appearance thanks to its two-toned board and batten siding. The warm, rich colors of the vertical siding are echoed in the center’s stacked stone cladding.


Scandinavian house with vertical siding

The clean and straight style of vertical siding complements the simple, spare form of Scandinavian architecture. The builders of this home used stained, horizontal wood siding to define and draw attention to the home’s entrance.


White farmhouse with vertical siding
Two Hawks Design and Development

Farmhouse designs, both modern and traditional, make extensive use of board and batten siding. This home employs a variety of exterior cladding types, including brick and wood, as well as varying depths and colors, to create visual interest on the exterior.

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