Horizontal vs Vertical Siding — Understanding Both Siding Options

When the time comes to re-side your home, you will have a lot of choices to make. What material you’ll use, what the colors will be, and what the overall style should look like will all be foremost in your mind. One other consideration you’ll need to make is whether to use horizontal vs vertical siding.

Both siding styles have been around for centuries, and both will give you a beautiful exterior. They look and function in different ways that you need to understand so you can make the best decision for your home exterior.

All About Horizontal Siding

Horizontal siding is probably the most common, and in many cases the most traditional. Nearly every type of siding can be found in horizontal, from log-look siding to vinyl to wood. Most types of horizontal siding are made up of what’s called lap siding, or siding that’s made of planks that have overlapping edges, but you can also have butt-edged horizontal siding, clapboard, and log siding that all move horizontally as well.


Horizontal siding draws the eye lengthwise around the building. This can be good for emphasizing certain shapes and areas on the home, because the siding will often pull your eye toward them. It’s also the most expected type of siding to see on a home, regardless of color or actual installation type. When looking for inspiration, trim color ideas, and accents, you’ll most likely be looking at horizontal siding imagery, with trim and other features designed for this horizontal siding. 


Depending on the material you use, you may find that horizontal siding is less durable. Because the way that the siding laps, it can collect moisture, which over time may lead to wood rot issues, if wood is what you’ve clad your home in. If you’re using steel siding, which is much more durable, you won’t have the same issues. 


Horizontal siding is easy to install, and most contractors have worked with it. This means that you may get a faster, easier installation, and potentially lower installation costs, again determined mostly by the material the siding is made from. 

All About Vertical Siding

Vertical siding is most likely to be a style known as board and batten, although it is possible to find the occasional vertical shiplap siding as well. While horizontal siding is probably the most common and often considered the most traditional, board and batten siding actually predates the use of most horizontal siding in the U.S.

Log homes were some of the first built by settlers, but once lumber mills became common, the first type of siding installed on homes was made of vertical planks or boards. Where the boards joined one another, a small furring strip known as a batten was installed over the join, giving the style the name of board and batten.

Board and batten style siding is less common today, which can give a home a more unique appearance. In some cases, board and batten and other vertical sidings can complement more modern or contemporary homes better than horizontal siding can.

White Board & Batten Modern Farmhouse


While horizontal siding draws the eye lengthwise around the home or building, vertical siding emphasizes the shape differently. It gives it visual lift and helps elongate the building(s), which can make smaller homes, farmhouses, and cottages look a little larger. And despite the small battens that are placed over the boards, vertical siding is generally a little less busy looking than most horizontal lap sidings. This creates a cleaner, modern appearance as well as a more unique one. 


Like horizontal siding types, you can find board and batten and vertical sidings in a variety of materials ranging from steel to wood to fiber cement. When compared with horizontal siding, wooden vertical siding tends to last longer, as it doesn’t collect water and moisture, leading to rot. However, this is less of a concern when using more durable materials such as steel.


When installing vertical board and batten siding made of wood or fiber cement, the installation process can be longer and more time-consuming, as well as more expensive than horizontal siding because the battens must be fastened on separately from the planks. This isn’t necessarily true with other materials, like steel siding, however. In the case of steel, the battens and boards can be formed into panels which makes the installation go faster and more easily, so this type of installation may be more simple than a traditional horizontal lap siding installation. 

When Choosing Between Horizontal vs Vertical Siding, Find the Style That Complements Your Home

Both horizontal and vertical siding styles can be combined with other accent materials or with one another to create unique and beautiful facades for any home. Find the look that is going to give your home the attention and emphasis it deserves in order to look its best. Whether you choose log-look horizontal siding or board and batten vertical siding, make the choice that fits your architecture and personal style the best.

Contact an expert at TruLog Siding to discuss the perfect siding for your home design.

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