Choosing Between Vertical and Horizontal Siding Installation: Which is Right for You?

Argh – the decisions that have to be made when taking on a residing project! What material should it be made of – vinyl, wood or fiber cement? What size and shape should it be? And most important of all – what siding color do you choose? Now there is one more question to ask – do you choose vertical or horizontal siding?

Vertical siding house versus horizontal siding house

Fear not. VIS Exterior is here to assist you. Vertical and horizontal siding options add another facet to the residing project and there will be pros and cons for each. In fact, there is a spirited vertical vs. horizontal siding debate almost always occurring.

We’re going to break down the arguments for and against each option and give you a fully fleshed out idea of which way you need to go with your project.

Table of contents:


What is vertical siding (aka board and batten)?

What is vertical siding called in your area? Perhaps you’ve heard of board and batten siding? It’s the same thing. Vertical board and batten siding is a popular option, lending plenty of charm to small areas, but it’s also the go-to option for creating a more contemporary feel, as it can add height to a structure.

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For homeowners who want to accent various architectural features of the home, choosing vertical siding is the way to go. The fact of the matter is that vertical siding is not considered a “traditional” option and requires a completely different approach to installation than horizontal siding.

Bringing in an expert crew of siding installation experts is important, because this type of siding is prone to leaks when it is not installed correctly, and as everyone knows, leaking siding leads to long-term damage. When you partner with VIS Exterior, you get a crew of experts with plenty of experience in this type of installation.

What is horizontal siding (aka clapboard or lap)?

What is horizontal siding called in your area? If you said “clapboard or lap,” you’ve got something in common with many others who believe “clapboard and lap” is more descriptive of the horizontal style of siding. Horizontal siding is by far the most popular type of siding in the country. Why is it so popular? Probably because it’s so easy to install and lasts for a long time.

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The earliest homes in America used natural wood as siding and it was hung horizontally, so there is a rich history with this style. The long, rectangular panels can come in a variety of sizes, but the standard width is 5 to 9 inches. The siding is also available in so many sizes and colors, which is another reason for its popularity.

And while the siding might all seem the same from a distance, professional siding contractors know that there are differences in the way the lap overhangs the other lap on different styles of horizontal siding, which means it’s important to have experience working with various types of horizontal siding.

Making your choice: vertical siding vs. horizontal siding

Is there a wrong choice in the vertical siding vs. horizontal siding decision? Both look great on homes, but there’s a good chance one will look better on yours. To make the right decision on vertical siding or horizontal siding, consider some of the following information.

First and foremost, what decorating style do you have and are you doing what’s best for the architecture of your home? The two need to align if you’re going to make the right choice in the vertical siding vs. horizontal siding debate. Also, how much time can you devote to upkeep of your siding, because that also plays into the decision. Do you have budgetary concerns? Because there will be one option that is more expensive than the other, mostly related to labor costs.

While it’s true that vertical siding is most often installed on commercial buildings, that doesn’t mean it can’t be installed on your home. However, the default siding for residential is horizontal. But if you’re going for a different aesthetic, one that stands out from the typical home, vertical might be the way to go for you.

Vertical siding installation: pros and cons

Vertical siding is not the usual choice for residential properties, but it has its place with homeowners who are looking for a different aesthetic.

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Advantages of choosing modern vertical siding

The most common places for vertical siding installation includes commercial buildings, such as office buildings, educational facilities and is even found in agricultural settings, particularly barns. And while residential is not the norm, modern vertical siding installation is becoming more popular in place in residential areas.

Thanks to homeowners who are striving for a different look, one that stands out from the usual horizontal siding aesthetic, are increasingly seeking out vertical siding options for their homes. When done correctly, the value is in its curb appeal. Also, vertical siding is easier to clean than horizontal siding, so if upkeep is on your mind, vertical is also the way to go.

Top pros of vertical siding:

Vertical siding has a unique appearance

Rather than follow what all the neighbors have done with their horizontal siding, the use of vertical siding can really make a home stand out, bringing added curb appeal to what would otherwise be a traditional home.

Vertical siding is trendy

Fashionable, trendy or edgy, vertical siding will bring a unique flare to a home. And while trends don’t always last, vertical siding has been around for decades and it’s not falling out of favor with homeowners any time soon.

Vertical siding prevents water damage

Horizontal siding, because its design and the way it fits together on a home, is prone to water damage. This is not the case with vertical siding. That being said, vertical siding needs to be installed correctly for it to hold up to its reputation as being water resistant.

Vertical siding is easy to maintain

Months of exposure to the elements will result in dirt and grime buildup on siding, which means it needs to be cleaned on occasion. This can be a hassle with horizontal siding, but not so with vertical siding.

Disadvantages of choosing vertical house siding

Vertical house siding has plenty of advantages, but one of the key disadvantages is in its installation. It’s actually more labor intensive to install than horizontal siding. Choose a contractor with plenty of vertical siding installation and you can rest assured that your house will be protected.

One aspect that makes the installation of vertical siding more complex is that it involves the installation of furring strips between each piece, which is not something that has to be done with horizontal siding. These strips add to the material cost, as well as the cost associated with labor.

And while vertical siding “pops” because it looks different than surrounding homes with horizontal siding, some homeowners do not like this look, which means when you’re trying to sell the home, you will miss out on that segment of the population who does not want to be unique.

Top cons of vertical siding:

Vertical siding requires prolonged installation time

As with any home improvement project, the bulk of the cost will be associated with labor. With vertical siding installation, there are more steps involved, which means the siding contractor will spend more time on vertical siding installation than they will on horizontal siding installation. Namely, the furring strips used in between each piece of siding (protects against moisture) can prolong the installation time.

Vertical siding installation is more expensive

There are two reasons vertical siding is more expensive to install than horizontal siding. First, it takes longer to finish these projects, which means there is an added labor cost. Second, you have extra material to pay for because vertical siding requires water protection material (furring strips) that go between each piece of siding.

Vertical siding may reduce saleability

If you know you’re going to be putting your home on the market soon, talk to your real estate agent about vertical siding and what the market says about it today. Some home buyers are turned off by vertical siding, so if that’s going to be an issue in your area, you could see a reduction in saleability if you choose the vertical route.

The different types of vertical siding

There are several types of vertical siding, including vinyl, wood, cedar and fiber cement. Vertical siding installation differs somewhat between these types, but the concept is the same.

Let’s explore these options a little deeper:

vertical siding

Vertical vinyl siding

Vertical vinyl siding is among the most popular/widely used because it is less expensive than other materials and comes in so many shapes, sizes and colors. Furthermore, contractors prefer vertical vinyl siding installation projects because it is easier than other installing types of material.

Modern vertical vinyl siding is aesthetically appealing, but it is also resistant to damage. For example, today’s vinyl siding can last three or four decades before it needs to be replaced. However, beware of debris in high winds, as this can dent the siding. Hailstorms are among the most common culprits of damage to vinyl siding of all types.

Vertical wood siding

Vertical wood siding is a long-lasting material that brings the natural look of wood to a home, but without the expense and upkeep. This vertical board and batten siding option can add value to a home in terms of aesthetics, adding actual monetary value should you put the home on the market. Vertical wood siding installation, while similar to installing vinyl, takes a professional’s touch, which is why you want to bring in a contractor with experience installing this type of material.

Modern vertical wood siding is popular because it brings a warmth and multi-dimensional effect to a home, adding sophistication with its vertical lines and natural wood appearance. While it doesn’t require the maintenance of natural wood, it will need more attention than vinyl siding, but it also adds to the cost of a residing project, as it is more expensive to purchase than vinyl siding.

Vertical cedar siding

Vertical cedar siding is considered a premium material, as it costs more than just about any other material on the market, but it also brings value to a home because of its stunning appearance. Vertical cedar siding brings a look all its own, but requires expert installation skills if it’s going to last a long time and protect the home from moisture.

Modern vertical cedar siding installation projects are more complex, but once it is on the home it requires some maintenance, which is why you want to have your contractor make annual inspections and treat problem areas as needed. For example, should bugs make the siding their home, birds will begin frequenting your house and pecking at the siding in search of the bugs. Cedar is also not as fire resistant as other materials, which is something to think about if you live in an area that is prone to wildfires.

Vertical fiber cement siding

Vertical fiber cement siding is becoming more popular year after year, as homeowners see the value in choosing these highly durable products that last for a long, long time but also bring a stunning appearance and curb value to homes. James Hardie siding, used by top contractors who know their clients want to bring value to their homes, is one of the best brands on the market.

Fiber cement vertical siding installation has complexities of its own, as it requires attention to detail to be installed correctly. Made of wood pulp, fly ash and portland cement and water, this material is fire resistant, pest resistant and lasts for years and years, which means it’s also one of the more expensive products on the market. But for homeowners who have it installed on their homes, they never regret it.

Installing vertical exterior siding

Installing vertical siding is a process that should only be taken on by seasoned professionals. Regardless of the vertical siding types used in one installation or another, the best outcomes are those that begin with a siding contractor that has years of experience. The more you know about the vertical siding installation process, the better prepared you are to choose the right contractor.

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Understanding vertical siding installation process

Vertical siding installation isn’t for amateurs. In fact, skilled siding contractors are the only ones who should take on this task with any hope of success, which is why so many new contractors will not take jobs where vertical siding is involved. And because of the complexities that come with the installation of various vertical siding types, it can be more time consuming than horizontal siding projects, which means there will be an increase in labor costs.

Look for a contractor with years of experience and you will likely not see a huge increase in labor costs, as they have perfected the process.

The best vertical siding options from leading manufacturers

Never choose an inferior siding project. Only work with contractors that use the top-rated manufacturers of vertical siding panels. These are contractors who will present you with vertical siding options that will last a long time, look great on your home and provide value.

James Hardie vertical Hardie Panel siding

Quality contractors use James Hardie vertical siding because it looks great, is durable and comes with a warranty that all customers like. Hardie panel vertical siding is one of the most revered products because of its look, which comes in a stucco style, smooth or cedar look. There is also one called Sierra8, which combines a couple different styles to bring a modern aesthetic to a home.

Homeowners who have undertaken a James Hardie vertical siding installation project know that when the project is completed, they have successfully highlighted various areas of their home that now have more “punch.” And overall, James Hardie vertical siding panels can make a house look appear taller, particularly next to homes with horizontal siding.

LP SmartSide vertical wood siding

LP Smartside vertical siding is made with wood and other materials that make it durable, pest and fire resistant. LP vertical board and batten siding is considered a premium product that achieves a fantastic aesthetic that pleases every homeowner that chooses it.

If you’re looking for a modern look, but also want something that adds a bit of charm to a home, LP Smartside vertical siding installation will do the trick. The company also makes trim that pairs perfectly with the larger panels and brings value to the project. If you’re looking for a wood finish, LP delivers there, too, as Smartside has engineered texture into its “Cedar Texture” product.

CertainTeed Board & Batten vertical vinyl siding

When you choose CertainTeed vertical siding, you have a variety of choices that will suit just about any stylistic tastes in vertical siding. For example, if you have a fondness for vertical vinyl siding that looks like wood, CertainTeed has you covered. If you’re looking for an extra-thick construction aesthetic, CertainTeed has a board and batten product that comes in 7-in. and 8-in. Profiles.

There is also a product that varies from narrow to wide panels, offering a more complex and somewhat sophisticated look that is appropriate for a variety of architectural styles. The end result of choosing CertainTeed is added curb value.

Horizontal siding installation: pros and cons

Now that you’ve got a better foothold on what is involved with vertical siding, what are the pros and cons of horizontal siding installation? It is the most popular option for a reason, but it’s not for everyone. The following information should fill you in on the good and bad of horizontal siding.

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Advantages of choosing traditional horizontal siding

Most references to “traditional siding” are in regard to horizontal siding. It’s “traditional” because it’s the most common type of siding on homes today. And it’s the most common type of siding because, for the most part, it is more economical than vertical siding.

Horizontal siding installation is achieved at a quicker pace than vertical siding, which is the main reason why it is more economical. Whether you’re crunched for time and need your project finished quickly or if you’re on a budget, horizontal’s quick and cost effective perks make it a go-to option..

Top pros of horizontal siding:

Horizontal siding has a traditional appearance

If you’re going for the “classic” look of a traditional home, horizontal siding achieves that. It’s been around since the days when shipping was the major way of transporting goods and even derives its name, “shiplap” siding, from the type of boards used on ships.

So, given its long history on homes throughout the U.S., horizontal siding certainly won’t buck the trend of keeping with tradition.

Horizontal siding offers a variety of options

Because horizontal siding is so popular, siding manufacturers make it in a variety of sizes and colors, which means there is no shortage of options for people of all different kinds of tastes and design preferences.

Horizontal siding is less expensive

If you’re on a budget, you’re not going to break the bank with horizontal siding. It is plentiful, which means there is no premium to pay for availability, and it is less costly to purchase, which means your materials budget won’t be as high with horizontal siding as it would be with vertical siding.

Horizontal siding is easy to install

Horizontal siding is relatively easy to install, which means contractors can get the job done faster than they can with vertical siding. Because it is installed faster means you pay less for labor, which is the most costly item on the residing project list.

Disadvantages of choosing horizontal house siding

If there is one major disadvantage to choosing horizontal siding, it’s that it can become susceptible to water damage. This happens, mostly because of rain, when the moisture leaks into the siding edges where it can build up if not allowed to air out. Once it gets into the siding strips, it can cause damage that results in moisture damages inside the home.

Horizontal siding can also warp, often due to it being of substandard quality or because it was installed incorrectly, but also because of age. Once warped, it loses its ability to keep moisture away from the home.

Top cons of horizontal siding:

Horizontal siding can be less durable

Due to the design of horizontal siding, which has horizontal ridges, there are some durability challenges. For example, the ridges, which is where the individual boards overlap, is where moisture is allowed to wedge in, which during prolonged periods of moisture, can result in mildew, mold or even rotting.

Fortunately, there is a way to counteract this design issue and it’s to install material that is resistant to mold and mildew. For example, James Hardie fiber cement siding will not rot.

Horizontal siding can be difficult to clean

Whether it is months or years of exposure to debris small and large, siding needs to be cleaned. Horizontal siding, with its ridges, can make it difficult to get completely clean. Furthermore, when cleaning with water, care needs to be taken to ensure the moisture doesn’t get up underneath the ridges where it can lead to mildew and mold.

The different types of horizontal siding

Horizontal siding options are numerous, as there are many, many different types of horizontal siding on the market today. Manufacturers have decades of horizontal siding production behind them and have developed all sorts of sizes and colors for customers. You’ll find more options with this type of siding than you will with vertical siding.

Most homeowners choose this type of siding:

horizontal siding

Horizontal vinyl siding

Horizontal vinyl siding is by far the most widely chosen type of siding on the market today. While it is cost-effective, manufacturers have devised ways to make it more durable than it was decades ago. From wide horizontal vinyl siding to more narrow designs, there are plenty of options with the vinyl variant. Fortunately, horizontal vinyl siding installation is relatively easy, which means it takes less labor to complete, which is also a cost savings.

Horizontal wood siding

For a more rustic appearance, many homeowners prefer horizontal wood siding. This type of siding is usually more expensive than vinyl products, but you also have to consider that horizontal wood siding installation takes more expertise, which can lead to higher labor costs. The tradeoff for most homeowners is a more unique look that wood brings to the project, which adds to the curb appeal of the home.

Horizontal cedar siding

Horizontal cedar siding is by far the most premium siding one can choose on a residence. It’s a timeless look that fits just about any style of traditional architecture and even some modern styles.

Horizontal cedar siding installation isn’t for the novice contractor, as this type of material requires an exacting approach. It’s also more economical to install in the horizontal fashion than vertically, as the horizontal approach doesn’t require the extra material cost and labor of installing the furring strips between planks.

Horizontal fiber cement siding

Horizontal fiber cement siding is a relative newcomer to the market compared to vinyl and wood, but it has been around long enough to prove its value. James Hardie makes a product called HardiePlank that is an exceptional product that is more water resistant than wood and has fewer moisture issues caused by the ridges.

Horizontal fiber cement siding installation does come at a cost though, as the product is made with a proprietary blend of materials that add to the overall cost of acquisition.

Installing horizontal exterior siding

Installing horizontal exterior siding is a job best left to professional siding contractors who have amassed years of experience installing a variety of siding types. Even though horizontal exterior siding is not as complex to install as vertical siding, it’s a project that should last decades, but will only reach that milestone if it is installed correctly.

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Understanding horizontal siding installation process

There’s a reason why homeowners don’t take on horizontal siding installation projects on their own. There is no proper DIY approach to this kind of project, no matter how many episodes of “This Old House'' you have watched. There are many different horizontal siding types and each deserves careful consideration when being installed. Siding contractors with years of experience are the only folks who can be trusted to take on this project and turn in positive results.

The best horizontal siding options from leading manufacturers

All reputable contractors want their projects to last a long, long time. For that to happen they have to commit to using quality materials. Fortunately, there are innumerable horizontal siding options from which contractors can choose for their clients.

James Hardie horizontal Hardie Plank lap siding

James Hardie horizontal siding is among the top choices for quality siding among homeowners and contractors alike. For example, the Hardie Plank lap siding, which comes in a wood grain pattern for that authentic wood look or in a smooth texture for the more traditional aesthetic, is a durable material that is resistant to pests and holds up well under duress.

The Hardie Plank lap siding line includes Cedarmill, Smooth, Beaded Cedarmill or Beaded Smooth product lines in a variety of colors. You can opt for the real cedar look with James Hardie, or stick with something more traditional, yet in either choice, you get a sturdy product that looks extraordinary on just about any home. But as always, be sure to choose a quality contractor to take charge of your James Hardie horizontal siding installation.

LP SmartSide Lap horizontal siding

LP Smartside horizontal siding is an excellent choice for just about any home, especially if you’re going for the look of real cedar. The bonus is that while this siding mimics cedar quite well, it doesn’t require the usual maintenance involved with real wood siding. When used in conjunction with other LP Smartside products, particularly the trim and accessories, you can’t go wrong.

Just be sure your contractor is experienced in LP Smartside horizontal siding installation. LP Smartside, like other types of siding, requires an eye for perfection, so it’s important that the contractor have experience working with this product. Fortunately, LP Smartside offers a variety of products that will match the tastes of just about any homeowner, including 12-in. And 16-in. Profiles.

CertainTeed horizontal vinyl siding

CertainTeed horizontal siding ranks high among contractors who want to do a great job for their customers. Among the top product lines from this horizontal vinyl siding producer are Carolina Beaded, Dutchlap, Clapboard, Wolverine Restoration, Cedar Impressions and CedarBoards – all of which offer the aesthetic touch that so many homeowners are looking for, but also offer durability, which means the siding lasts a long, long time.

Another popular option from CertainTeed is the CertainTeed Monogram horizontal vinyl siding, which is installed with double-nailed hems, providing maximum durability against high wind situations. If you want protection up to 220 mph, you’ll find it in the Monogram line of siding from CertainTeed.

Mixing vertical and horizontal siding

Can you mix different types of siding? Homeowners often have this question, as there are situations where a specific look can be achieved by mixing vertical and horizontal siding. For example, on homes with dormers, you can add vertical siding to these features while the rest of the home is covered in horizontal siding.

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Many homes today have attached garages, which can also benefit by combining vertical and horizontal siding. Contractors refer to this as the hybrid approach, which brings a unique transitional element to the overall project. There have even been successful projects where combining vertical and horizontal siding in different colors has brought a wonderful aesthetic and curb appeal to the project.

What should you consider before making a decision on the siding style for your house?

Is vertical siding or horizontal siding better? The answer will depend on your tastes and the style of your home. Horizontal siding on a house will look spectacular in most situations and vertical siding on houses can also provide the curb appeal homeowners are looking for. To make the right decision for your home, there are a few considerations you need to make, including the following.

Know your vision about siding appearance

You’re not going to be happy with the outcome of a siding project if you don’t get the style of siding you want, so the first thing to consider is your vision about the look of your home. Maybe you’ve looked around your neighborhood and come up with some ideas based on what you see, such as how great horizontal siding looks on a house similar to yours? You will want to point your contractor in that direction as the project is still in the planning stages. Perhaps you see that everyone on your block has horizontal siding and you want your home to stand out? Vertical siding might end up being the choice for you.

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Your vision should also include the size of panels, their shape, the texture and color. Are you looking for that natural wood look but you don’t want the expense or upkeep required? There are many horizontal and vertical siding manufacturers who make siding that looks like real wood. Perhaps you’re going for a traditional smooth look – you’ve got many, many options there, too, and in just about any color you can think of, and in vertical or horizontal styles.

Tips for choosing vertical and horizontal siding according to your home style:

Choose horizontal siding for traditional homes

For the most traditional look that has widespread appeal throughout the nation, horizontal siding is the way to go. It offers the timeless look that fits well on just about every style of popular home in America today, including everything from the ranch style to old-world colonial homes.

Choose vertical siding for rustic homes

Is your vision one that steers toward rustic? Maybe your home is of a Cape Cod-style architecture or you have a farmhouse? Vertical seems to work best on these homes. Also, if your home is on the small side, vertical siding provides an optical effect that makes it seem larger.

Choose mix horizontal and vertical siding for a personalized look

While the debate about vertical vs. horizontal siding seems to lean toward choosing one over the other, that doesn’t have to be the case. You can certainly mix them. For example, you’ve got an attached garage or other architectural elements, such as dormers, that stand out on the home – you can add vertical siding to these elements and create a unique effect. Also, homes with more complex architecture, such as Queen Anne homes and Victorian homes, also are good candidates for a mixture of siding types.

Just know that at VIS Exterior, we want our clients to be happy with the finished product, but we’re also able to offer our professional recommendations based on many years of experience. We can guide you to the right decision about your home while keeping your vision in mind.

Consider siding durability

Everyone wants the siding to look great, and that’s important, but just as important is the durability of the material. Horizontal siding is definitely made durable by the best siding manufacturers, but the problem comes when after years and years of exposure to moisture, horizontal siding edges tend to trap moisture, which can lead to deeper problems.

Of course, having your horizontal siding installed by an expert can help alleviate some of the longevity issues, as improper installation almost always leads to a shorter lifespan of siding of any type. The material can also matter when it comes to durability. For example, wood that is not properly maintained tends to warp, which leads to improper runoff of moisture.

There are situations where horizontal siding can be repaired in areas where moisture buildup is unavoidable, which means you don’t have to go through a complete siding replacement job. The best route is to work with a professional siding contractor to ensure you’re getting the right product and that it is installed perfectly.

Consider long-term siding maintenance

Fortunately, vertical siding is exceedingly easy to clean, which means long-term maintenance is a fairly straightforward process with little-to-no complexities involved. Horizontal siding, on the other hand, does not include such a luxury where cleaning is concerned. The notorious horizontal edges, or rims, on horizontal siding are the problem area where clearing is concerned, too.

And what about real wood? Cedar, for example, can warp over time, which means without long-term siding maintenance, all the money and time spent on installing wood on your home can be a complete loss. Talk to your siding contractor about the best cleaning products to use on wood or schedule to have experts come to your home at specific times of year to inspect your wood siding and treat it as needed.

For horizontal siding, this too requires a professional’s touch, as using the right cleaning materials (detergents and brushes, rags, etc.) is vital to doing the job right.

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Create a budget for siding installation project

One of the most important aspects of a siding project is the money spent on getting it done. For some people, this means finding the absolute cheapest methods possible, from the most affordable siding to the least costly contractor. That’s not a good path to go down. Instead, creating a budget for a siding project should include accounting for quality materials and trustworthy and reliable installation professionals.

Vertical and horizontal siding cost

The gaps between what you can pay on the low side and what you pay on the high side are quite glaring, but every project is different and what someone pays for a vinyl siding can differ drastically from what someone down the street pays. For example, the average homeowner pays between $5,000 and $14,050 for new siding to be installed on their home. But to get a better idea of what you might pay, we can break down these numbers a little more succinctly.

Vinyl $5,655 to $13,890
Engineered wood $3,000 to $5,000
Fiber cement $5,540 to $17,530
Cedar $7,000 to $23,000

What’s with the drastic differences in price, even when the material is the same? That’s a fair question, and the honest answer is that some home have little to no complexities, which means the siding goes up like a breeze, which means labor costs are extremely low compared to a home that is larger, has multiple complexities (dormers, vents, windows, turrets, eaves, angles, etc.). While a large home will require more costs related to materials than small homes, remember that the bulk of a siding project’s budget is tied up in the cost of labor.

Think about resale value

Siding is about more than just curb appeal. And while curb appeal can help a home sell faster, the fact that you’ve chosen quality siding for your home and had a quality contractor install it means that the siding is going to protect the home for years and years to come, which adds a value all its own. But what about the vertical vs. horizontal siding debate where resale is concerned?

Most real estate agents will advise their clients to stay in the pocket of what is “normal” or “traditional” when making improvements on a home that is going on the market. For example, they’ll advise against painting the home anything too out of the ordinary. This is why many real estate agents will advise against installing vertical siding, because the “norm” is horizontal. At the same time, some homes really “pop” with vertical siding. For example, you’ve got a Cape Cod-style home and you’re putting it on the market. Vertical siding can bring an eye-catching aesthetic to this style of home.

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From going the traditional style with horizontal siding to matching your unique architecture with vertical siding to doing a mix of each – homeowners have so many options that will work great for their homes. Talk to your contractor about your vision for your home and see what options you have that match your home and your vision that will make a quality outcome.

Choose an experienced siding contractor

The easier, more straightforward installation process is going to be horizontal siding, which means the bulk of siding professionals will know how to install this siding. The same isn’t true with vertical siding, which is a niche market for some contractors. There are steps involved with installing vertical siding that require more expert installation skills. Your best bet is to go with a contractor with so much experience, they can handle either without a problem.

Well-rounded siding contractors know what they’re doing, which means if you have a challenging home with a variety of architectural complexities and you want vertical siding, choosing the right siding contractor means you have nothing to worry about. That's what homeowners get when they partner with VIS Exterior – a contractor that has many years of experience with installing the finest vertical siding products, as well as the most trusted horizontal siding from brands that lead the industry.

The final decision: is vertical or horizontal siding better?

If there is a “most popular question” contractors get regarding siding, it’s “is vertical or horizontal siding better?” In almost every case, the decision comes down to what the homeowner wants. Vertical or horizontal siding looks great on just about any style of home, but there are cases where one might look a little bit better than the other. But again, it’s all about what the homeowner wants.

To be more specific, let’s say a homeowner wants their new siding to conform with what is on other homes in the area. There’s a good chance that because horizontal siding is the most common type installed on homes, their choice is going to be consistent with what their neighbors have on their home, which is probably horizontal siding.

But what about homeowners who aren’t on a strict budget and are looking to buck the trends in their area? In this case, the more unique and slightly more expensive vertical siding is going to win.

The best ideas for vertical and horizontal siding on a house

There is no doubt that siding on a home adds that finishing flare that serves as the outward expression of a home’s aesthetic value. Vertical and horizontal siding on a house makes a statement as much as it protects the home from the elements. Horizontal siding on a house is more traditional than vertical siding on houses, but there are also times when mixing the two on the same home can be the right decision.

Top houses with vertical siding

Houses with vertical siding, as seen in the photos below, offer a unique look to homes. And as you can see, different vertical siding ideas are realized via the different manufacturers take on their lines of siding. Check out the following photos of what can be accomplished using an outstanding product – LP SmartSide’s wood vertical siding.

Vertical LP SmartSide wood siding project in Willowbrook

vertical brown lp smartside siding in willowbrook

Top houses with horizontal siding

For examples of the different types of homes that have had horizontal siding placed on them, see the photos below. Horizontal siding ideas aren’t all the same, which means siding manufacturers have different products to suit different needs. Houses with horizontal siding can be starkly different, as you can see here.

Top houses with vertical and horizontal siding mix

While it’s more traditional for homes to be sided in horizontal or vertical siding products, there are times when a vertical and horizontal siding mix can be included in the same project. The following are some examples of how houses with vertical and horizontal siding can benefit from this mix.

Mixing horizontal and vertical LP SmartSide siding project in La Grange Highlands

mixing horizontal vertical lp smartside siding in la grange highlands

Mixing horizontal and vertical James Hardie siding project in Lemont

mixing horizontal vertical james hardie siding in lemont

Considering vertical or horizontal siding for your home? VIS Exterior can help

Finding the right contractor is just as important as finding the right siding for your home. In fact, you can choose the best, most dependable and durable siding, but if you get the wrong contractor to install it, you’re going to be highly disappointed in the results. Only talk to professionals about your siding project and focus on hiring the one with the most experience.

At VIS Exterior, we know how to install vertical siding, horizontal siding and even a mixture of the two. Our clients come to us with a host of questions, all of which we can answer and we even ask a few questions of our own, as it’s important to open the lines of communication with homeowners about what they expect out of their siding project.

Whether it's a job where vertical or horizontal siding is chosen, or if a vertical and horizontal siding mix is in the plan, VIS Exterior can help.

For homeowners in the Chicago Western suburbs, finding the right siding contractor is no small feat. There are many contractors from which to choose, but at VIS Exterior we stand out because of our experience, our reputation for being trustworthy and the fact that we’re insured and certified. What makes us the go-to siding contractor for horizontal and vertical siding is that so much of our business comes via word of mouth. We are propped up by the people who we’ve worked for and that speaks volumes about our skills.

roofing homeowners illustration

Frequently asked questions about vertical and horizontal siding

If you’re embarking on a siding project, you’ve probably got tons of questions. Fortunately, VIS Exterior has the answers. Our extensive experience in siding installation has prepared us to answer any question a homeowner could have about horizontal and vertical siding.

Which looks better: vertical or horizontal siding?

Is vertical or horizontal siding better? The answer to this question hinges solely on two things: Ask yourself what you think looks best between the two, and then ask yourself what looks best on your style of home. Knock out those two questions and you have your answer.

Does vertical siding make a house look taller?

If you want to draw attention to specific architectural features of your home, vertical siding on houses can do this. For example, there are situations where vertical siding can make a house appear taller than it actually is. This is especially true with vertical siding on gables – the home suddenly appears taller with vertical siding attached to these features.

Is vertical or horizontal siding more modern?

Of the two types of siding, vertical siding is often considered more “modern” than horizontal siding. Vertical siding, also called board and batten siding, isn’t as common as horizontal siding and therefore takes on the “non traditional” or “modern” moniker. Modern vertical siding projects are often the ones where the homeowner is making a statement and wants to stand out from other homes where horizontal siding is used.

Will vertical siding go out of style?

Homes with vertical siding, though not as numerous as homes with horizontal siding, are not likely to go out of style. Vertical siding has been around for centuries and while it is not the most popular choice, it is the go-to style for many homeowners.

Is vertical siding more expensive than horizontal?

Is vertical siding more expensive than horizontal siding? The answer is almost always “yes.” There are some material costs associated with the higher price tag, namely in the furring strips required for proper installation, but there are also labor costs that make installing vertical siding more expensive than horizontal installation projects. In the vertical siding vs. horizontal siding cost debate, some homeowners cite the ease of cleaning of vertical siding as the positive tradeoff in the long run.

Which is easier to install, vertical or horizontal siding?

Horizontal siding installation is often considered easier by contractors who have not taken on many vertical siding projects. There are more steps involved in installing vertical siding, so the complexity level is higher, which can lead to mistakes by inexperienced contractors.

Can you install vertical siding horizontally?

Board and batten siding, AKA vertical siding, is meant to be installed vertically, not horizontally. However, if you have siding that is manufactured as tongue-and-groove, you can install it either way. So the question of “can you install vertical siding horizontally,” depends on how it is manufactured. A quality contractor will never install siding in a horizontal fashion if it is not meant for that type of installation because it won’t protect the home.

Can you install horizontal siding vertically?

Can you install horizontal siding vertically? While most contractors will only install siding in the way it was manufactured to be installed, there are situations where horizontal siding can be installed vertically. Commercial buildings are the most common structures where this is done.

What is the best material for vertical siding?

From wood to vinyl to composite materials, vertical siding materials are varied and homeowners have options today. Vinyl, as you might have guessed, is the most popular because of its price point and its many different styles and colors.

What is the best material for horizontal siding?

Horizontal siding materials are available in wood, vinyl and composite materials, such as fiber cement and a wood and resin mix. There are even horizontal siding products made of aluminum. Horizontal siding comes in a variety of textures and colors, which means there is something for everyone.

What is board and batten siding?

If you’ve heard of vertical siding and then someone mentions “board and batten siding,” you might find yourself asking what is board and batten siding? It’s really interchangeable with vertical siding, but generally, this type of siding is typified by paneling with narrow strips of wood placed over the boards, which creates a unique aesthetic highly valued by homeowners who are looking for a non-traditional appearance. Some of the earliest structures in America, including barns, were adorned with board and batten siding.

Today, siding manufacturers have developed vertical board and batten siding to suit the tastes of homeowners with a variety of architecture types.

Val Slajus
Owner / Author
Val Slajus

My journey began with a passion for home improvement, and I established VIS Exterior because I firmly believe that everyone deserves to live in a beautiful home. With years of experience in the roofing and siding craft, I'm dedicated to helping you enhance the protection and aesthetics of your home. Through this blog, I'm excited to share my knowledge and insights, empowering you to make informed decisions when planning your next exterior renovation project.

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