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What is Vertical Siding?

B. Turner
B. Turner

Vertical siding is an exterior finish material that serves as an alternative to traditional lapped horizontal siding. In a house with vertical siding, the planks of siding are installed perpendicular to the ground, giving the building a unique look. This installation technique may be used to finish the entire structure, or applied only to certain areas to highlight certain architectural features. Vertical siding is often used to create a traditional board-and-batten design, which is a popular home design used throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

This type of siding may consist of a variety of different materials, which each offer their own functional and aesthetic benefits. Wood is the most traditional vertical siding material, and provides natural beauty and rich coloring. Despite the attractive appearance of wood siding, some homeowners prefer low-maintenance alternatives like aluminum, vinyl, or fiber cement. Each of these products offers natural resistance against moisture and other elements, but varies in appearance and design authenticity. For example, some vinyl siding may have a low-quality finish that some buyers may find unattractive.


Before vertical siding can be installed on a home or building, the walls must be leveled from top to bottom. With traditional lapped siding, this type of leveling is unnecessary, as minor variations in building framing can be hidden by the siding. Vertical siding often requires the use of wooden shims or channels to even out walls and create a consistent, smooth finish.

The siding is fastened to these shims or the surrounding wall framing using nails or screws. Insulation may be added between these two components to improve thermal resistance and maximize energy efficiency. Special flashings and seals are required with this type of siding to prevent moisture infiltration along the seams or joints.

One of the primary advantages to vertical siding is its unique finish, which can help draw the eye to certain parts of the home's exterior. This siding can also help the home stand out from others on the same street. Homeowners should think carefully before choosing this type of siding, however, if resale value is a major concern. A home with horizontal lapped siding may appeal to a wider selection of buyers because it is more common than vertical siding.

Installers must use special siding materials to create this look, as traditional lapped siding profiles are not compatible with vertical installations. This means that buyers have a limited selection of finishes and materials to choose from. Homeowners and contractors should also be aware of the added difficulty of creating a watertight finish when using this type of siding finish.

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