Get to Know Your Vertical Siding Options

Friday, January 31st, 2014 by Danny Peterson


When improving the curb appeal of your home, you may consider updating your siding; but have you considered all of your vertical siding options? Baltimore residents can see that horizontal siding is fairly common, but vertical siding is great for creating a more traditional look—especially when you opt for board and batten. Get to know all of your choices to create a look that makes your home stand out from the rest and look fantastic.

Board and Batten. This is a classic approach to siding that refers to wood boards, usually 8” by 12’ in size, vertically attached onto a house’s subsiding. Every board is butt-joined, and the joint is then covered with a strip of wood, known as batten. The batten is usually about 3”- 4” wide. The final look will be reminiscent of a cabin, or other rustic homes.

T-111. This refers to a “textured” plywood panel, developed to replicate the look of board and batten. T-111 comes in sheets about four feet by eight feet. Thanks to its sheer nature, it can be attached directly to studs, and uses house wrap between each. It typically comes pre-primed, so as soon as they are installed, you can paint them to your desired color. Many homeowners take this route because T-111 is relatively inexpensive to produce, and it is simple and fast to install. It has become more popular than genuine board and batten in many situations.

Fiber cement sidingThese are concrete composite panels, which are sometimes used to replicate the look of board and batten. Fiber cement can also come in horizontal siding and lap siding. However, this vertical variety typically comes in four foot by eight-foot panels and is ready to paint once it is installed. It is also typically more durable than wood composite or true wood products.

Vinyl or aluminum. Similar to board and batten, vinyl and aluminum vertical siding can give the same traditional look to your home. Vinyl siding is designed to look like wood grain. However, it does not require much maintenance, other than hosing it down on occasion. It also comes in a wide variety of colors. However, they tend to be brighter shades to help reflect light and not fade. For the most part, vinyl has replaced aluminum. For modern homeowners, the value and durability of vinyl is the best on the market. Both vinyl and aluminum siding follow similar procedures when installing, and are typically grouped together (even now) when discussing instructions.

Many experts and companies suggest that these varieties are simple enough to install that virtually any homeowner can do it on their own. However, remember that any variety of siding will still have a relatively complex installation process, and it is easier to forget a step or make a mistake than some salesmen would let on. Thus, it’s usually best to let professionals handle the installation after you take the lead on choosing your material, color, and style.

How durable is vertical siding?

Each of your vertical siding options will have different levels of durability. This will depend entirely on the material you choose to use. While fiber cement might be pricier than other options, it will have the best level of durability. It is even generally covered under a warranty for up to 50 years.

How much maintenance does vertical siding require?

When learning your vertical siding options, it’s important to take the level of maintenance into consideration. Like durability, maintenance is determined by the material you choose to install. Wood and wood composite siding need routine sealing, staining, or painting. Fiber cement will need repainting on occasion, too. Get to know each material—and all of your vertical siding options—better by discussing them with your contractor, as they can advise in great detail on the pros and cons of each choice available to you.