This house features both horizontal and vertical siding. There are brick steps leading up to the front porch.
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Vertical Siding vs Horizontal Siding: Which Is Right for Your Home?

As you can imagine, siding is one of the most significant components of curb appeal. Since it’s typically the first feature that’s noticed, siding is responsible for making that first impression and setting the tone that will drive the rest of your design choices. Color is important, but layout is critical, too. Horizontal and vertical siding options are available to help homeowners create the perfect look for their home. But how do you choose between vertical or horizontal siding?

In addition to reviewing plenty of houses with vertical and horizontal siding to see which styles catch your eye, you can also take a logical approach to this decision by reviewing the pros and cons, and reflecting on the aesthetic styles associated with each.

Not sure where to start when choosing between horizontal and vertical siding? Let’s break down the options.

Horizontal Siding: An Overview

Horizontal siding consists of long, rectangular panels that are positioned parallel to the foundation. There are many subtle style differences between various types of horizontal siding, mostly in terms of how much the boards are designed to overlap.

Horizontal siding is commonly referred to as lap siding and can be produced with wood, vinyl, aluminum and fiber cement. Among these, fiber cement tends to be the most durable and longest-lasting. Horizontal siding is often used for ranch, colonial and traditional-style homes.

This one-story, black house has a concrete pad outside of the front door.

Pros and Cons of Horizontal Siding

Horizontal Siding Pros

One of the biggest advantages of horizontal siding is that it’s recognized as a traditional exterior style for residential homes, expressing a timeless appeal that is likely to remain desirable for many years to come. In other words, horizontal siding is considered a safer choice when it comes to placing the home on the market — it’s a classic style that appeals to a lot of homebuyers! Another advantage is that it’s quite easy to install, and many contractors are familiar with the installation techniques needed for horizontal siding.

These apartments have green horizontal siding. There are various touches of wood accents throughout the apartment’s exterior.

Horizontal Siding Cons

A drawback to horizontal siding is that it is more susceptible to damage compared to the vertical siding. Horizontal siding has gaps between the panels, which can hold water for long periods of time. If untreated, the water damage can seep into other areas of the siding. 

Furthermore, horizontal siding is also harder to clean, as typical cleaning methods require hosing down the siding with water. Special equipment can be needed to clean the siding without causing water build-up in the siding gaps.

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Get inspiration for your next residential project. From traditional to modern, our look book is filled with the latest trends and styles to build your dream home. 

Horizontal Siding Design Options

If you decide to stick with more traditional horizontal siding, there is still a lot of design flexibility available. Designers and homeowners are getting creative in their approach to horizontal siding and incorporating unexpected accents, playing with seam lines, color and mixing and matching different widths of lap siding for a unique aesthetic. There are many ways to keep a traditional look without ever looking dated. 

A gray house has Nichiboard and accents with VintageWood in Cedar. This is a two-story house with a porch area.

Vertical Siding: An Overview

Vertical siding consists of siding panels that are installed perpendicular to the home’s foundation. In simple words, it’s siding that goes up and down. And although vertical siding may consist of flat vertical panels, there are other styles available, too.

Board and batten is an example of modern vertical siding that has gained popularity in recent years. Like horizontal siding, vertical siding can be produced in a variety of materials, with fiber cement offering the most durable performance. Vertical siding is often associated with more rustic architectural styles, including farmhouse, coastal and craftsman homes.

This covered patio area has white and wooden furniture with plants scattered throughout the space.

Pros and Cons of Vertical Siding

Vertical Siding Pros

Homes with vertical siding are considered to be trendier because the vertical layout is a unique design choice that tends to catch the eye. Another advantage of vertical siding is that it can be easier to clean because water runs down the vertical panels effortlessly, allowing for less dirt and grime build-up along the seams.

This white, two-story house has a large front porch. There is a gravel walkway leading to the front door. There are flower beds on both sides of the walkway.

Vertical Siding Cons

Perhaps the biggest drawback to vertical siding is that the installation process can be a little more challenging than with horizontal siding. However, vertical board siding made from fiber cement can prove much easier to install than traditional wood panels.

These apartments look out onto a street view. They have vertical wood-like siding.

Another drawback to vertical exterior siding is that it may not carry the same staying power as horizontal siding, simply because it is not quite as traditional or common in residential properties. This is something to think about if you are considering selling your home down the line.

Bringing Horizontal and Vertical Siding Together

A third option — and one that has been trending in recent years — is to feature a mixture of vertical and horizontal siding. Houses with both orientations can feel more stylish and current because the exterior design shows an awareness of trends and sets itself apart from standard siding options.

This house features both horizontal and vertical siding. There are brick steps leading up to the front porch.

Combining horizontal and vertical siding is best achieved when distinct segments of the home feature a differentiation. For example, switching to vertical siding for the dormers while having horizontal siding covering the remainder of the home can help distinguish and emphasize the various architectural features present in the home.

This white, three-story house has two large front porches. There is a paved driveway leading to the three garages.

Horizontal and vertical siding layouts both have merit in today’s market — it really comes down to personal preference and what you want for your home’s design. Contact Nichiha today to explore a wide range of fiber cement siding products that can bring long-lasting beauty to your home.

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