Types of Wood Siding for Your Home

The right siding can dramatically improve a home’s appearance and boost curb appeal. Consider cladding your house exterior with wood. While wood is no longer the main construction material for residential siding, it remains a popular siding choice in North America today because it is environmentally friendly and possesses a timeless, natural beauty. Homeowners are often surprised at just how many different types of wood siding there are. But each style adds its own sense of traditional charm to any home; decide which wood siding style is right for you.

Board and Batten Siding

Board and batten siding is made of wide boards joined together. The batten, a thin piece of wood, is placed at the joint of two boards, covering the gap and creating a vertical design. Boards range from 6” to 12” wide; battens tend to be as wide as necessary depending on the space between each board.

House style: modern farmhouse, farmhouse, French country, salt box, traditional rustic, split level, contemporary

Shakes and Shingles Siding

While the term “cedar shakes” is often used interchangeably with cedar shingles, real cedar shakes have a distinctive appearance. They are typically sawn on one side and positioned facing outward to give the siding a more rustic look. Cedar shakes are irregular in shape and don’t lay flush against exterior walls. An experienced siding professional will use a layer of tar paper/felt paper/roofing paper behind the shakes to provide protection from water and wind.

Cedar shingles, on the other hand, are sawn on both sides, cut tapered, and have a smoother more standardized appearance. Cedar shingle siding is often paired with other materials such as stone or brick to add more visual interest and emphasize certain architectural features of a home’s exterior including dormers, gables, and bold or dramatic front doors. Cedar shingles, even though they come in a choice of thicknesses, are typically thinner than cedar shakes.

House style: beach house, cottage, contemporary, shingle style, Cape Cod

Clapboard Siding

Clapboard siding is known by a number of names including bevel siding and lap siding. This type of siding is installed horizontally, the upper edge overlapping the lower edge of the board directly positioned above. To create clapboard, the wood is re-sawn at an angle, resulting in two pieces that are thicker on one edge. Pine, spruce, cypress, and Douglas fir are popular woods for bevel siding or clapboard siding because they are cost-effective (less expensive than cedar or redwood) and last a long time.

House style: ranch, American Four Square, bungalow, Colonial Revival, cottage, Victorian, contemporary, American craftsman, contemporary craftsman

Drop Siding

Also oriented horizontally, drop siding is similar to clapboard siding. However, instead of the boards overlapping, the bottom of the board above the one below has a groove into which the upper edge of the board fits. Drop siding panels are made by milling down the top edge of the boards and cutting a groove in the bottom edges. Drop siding is very versatile – it can be installed horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

House style: traditional, contemporary, ranch, bungalow, mountain lodge, Prairie, Northwest, cabin, cottage

Split Log Siding

Split log siding is crafted from logs that have been split and the bark is still attached. Log siding is often made from oak, cedar, cypress, birch, and other types of hardwood. When attached to exterior walls, they appear as solid logs.

House style: traditional log cabin, woodland retreat, mountain lodge, contemporary lob cabin, cottage, beach house