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Vertical vs. Horizontal Siding: A Quick Comparison

Siding is an essential component of the exterior of many homes. Since it has a great influence on the architectural integrity and curb appeal of your home, it’s important to keep it beautiful and well-maintained throughout its useful lifespan. To select the perfect siding for your home, there are many elements that need to be considered. In addition to installation and maintenance costs, there’s also the choice of the orientation of the panels to think about. In this post, a top-rated roofing company in Massachusetts takes a closer look at various types of vertical and horizontal siding, including the pros and cons of each profile.

vertical vs. horizontal siding

Horizontal Siding Patterns

Horizontal siding is effective against precipitation, or moisture from the atmosphere. This traditional siding profile encompasses a variety of patterns:

  • Lap siding is the most common type and the easiest pattern to install. This method features siding panels that are partially layered on top of each other. This allows water runoff to roll over the surface until it reaches the lower segments of the siding without causing leaks.
  • Dutch lap siding exhibits a groove cut-out and creates overlapping horizontal rows. It’s designed to resemble the hand-carved, Old World-style appearance common to wood siding.
  • Beaded pattern siding is typically found on vinyl-clad homes. It showcases a “bead” at the bottom of each horizontal board, creating a similar textured surface to Dutch lap siding.

Vertical Siding Patterns

While vertical siding is less common, it incorporates patterns that are ideal for specific home styles. 

  • Panel siding, also called sheet siding, is a profile that’s similar to lap siding, except in a vertical orientation. It also comes in different textures and styles, such as rough-sawn, smooth-sided, fiber cement and pressed hardboard.
  • Board and batten siding has become quite trendy with the rise of modern farmhouses. It consists of narrow vertical panels called battens installed over a flat base called a board. According to roofing companies, this profile is generally found in vinyl and fiber cement siding installations. Wood siding, particularly Western Red Cedar, also uses a traditional board and batten design to create a warm, rustic look.

Aesthetics

More and more homeowners are opting for vertical siding, such as board and batten, over the traditional horizontal orientation because of its remarkably unconventional design. Proponents of this particular style believe that upright panels lengthen their homes and make a charming, eye-catching impression. This break from the norm, however, isn’t preferred by everyone.

If you live in an established, run-of-the-mill neighborhood brimful of Colonial-style houses and want to coordinate with the rest of the neighborhood, then perhaps you won’t have a penchant for an exterior with vertically-oriented siding. While it can be thrilling to stand out from the crowd, some people prefer to blend in with their neighbors and not disrupt traditional expectations. If this applies to you, then maintaining horizontal siding is definitely in your best interest. After all, timeless exteriors never go out of fashion as quickly as they come in.

Installation

Since most cladded residential homes likely have horizontal siding panels, material acquisition is easier. and the installation is more straightforward for most local siding and roofing replacement companies. Any certified contractor will be well-versed in the process of installing horizontal siding, such as clapboard and Dutch lap, and should be able to carry out the task without major problems.

A vertically-oriented exterior, on the other hand, usually requires more steps in its installation. Before the contractor can install the vertical panels, a film of furring strips—thin strips of wood or another material—must be applied horizontally underneath to level or raise the surface to create a smooth, finished look after the siding material is placed. This technique also makes space for insulation and prevents issues with dampness. If you choose board and batten siding, which is often found in commercial and industrial establishments, this process will be even more comprehensive.

Durability

While both horizontal and vertical panels can be durable and weather-resistant, it largely depends on the materials used for the exterior and the craftsmanship of the siding installation team. Metal and fiber cement are among the most commonly-used materials for residential siding.

When it comes to durability, one downside to horizontal siding is the possibility of rainwater or melting snow leaking underneath the siding strips. If you opt for wood siding for a rustic, natural design, this risk will be especially high because the planks of wood can warp over time and develop rot and mold, along with other costly water-related damage. In comparison, vertical panels have fewer instances of this kind of water damage because any water that hits the surface of the panel drips to the ground instead of trickling underneath the protective cladding, which allows for necessary runoff according to a reputable roofing contractor.

Cost

Since working with vertical siding often requires a different set of skills and technical expertise, your siding contractor may charge a higher fee for installation. It’s a smart move to request at least two or three quotes from various siding companies in order to properly gauge the estimated cost of your project.

Similar to other home improvement projects, the price will also vary substantially according to the type of materials used. Considering their weight, availability, and the difficulty of installation, some siding materials will cost more for the homeowner regardless of the orientation of the panels. For example, steel is a dense, sturdy building material that’s not typically seen in residential applications, and therefore will cost more than standard vinyl, aluminum or wood siding panels.

Maintenance

As with other parts of your home’s exterior, your siding requires regular cleaning and upkeep to maintain a pristine appearance and superior functionality throughout its lifespan. However, any roofing contractor will attest that the appropriate maintenance procedures will vary according to the materials used for the cladding.

Since vinyl strips don’t need painting or frequent replacement and have fairly uncomplicated cleaning demands, they usually require the least amount of maintenance. Wood, on the other hand, will warp over time due to constant exposure to heat and moisture, requiring meticulous cleaning and repair in order to preserve its natural beauty and insulating properties. A popular alternative to the high-maintenance needs associated with wood siding is aluminum, which is available with a special plastic or vinyl coating for additional resistance to weathering.

When it comes to cleaning, horizontal panels commonly require a more complex, time-consuming procedure because there’s a higher risk of leaks and water damage. Meanwhile, vertical panels can be cleaned easily with household cleaners and, due to a watertight feature, you don’t need to worry about accidental leaks.

Let the Professionals Help Achieve Your Dream Exterior 

Breathe new life into your home with a top-quality exterior makeover. All of us at Window World of Boston are committed to providing the comfort, efficiency and satisfaction that each and every homeowner in Massachusetts deserves through industry-leading products and outstanding workmanship. You can also count on us for roofing replacement, window and door installations and more. Call our professional team today at (781) 262-3925 for Woburn or (781) 343-7129 for Pembroke. You may also fill out our contact form to request a free, no-obligation quote.

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Window World of Boston has an A+ BBB Rating and offers industry-leading solutions for replacement windows, doors, siding and more. We follow through every job from start to completion while our friendly, knowledgeable staff is there to answer your questions and provide any level of customer support you need. Window World is committed to providing the highest customer satisfaction.
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