Dutch Lap Siding: A Guide to Installation, Alternatives, and Cost

Dutch lap siding is known for its unique overlapping profile. It creates a shadow line effect that protects a building’s structure from the elements. Other terms for dutch lap siding include cove lap siding, german lap siding, and drop siding.

Dutch Lap Siding: A Guide to Installation, Alternatives, and Cost

Dutch lap siding is available in fiber cement, vinyl, and engineered wood planks. These materials vary in pricing, maintenance, and aesthetic appeal.

Pros and Cons of Dutch Lap Siding


  • Attractive appearance: Its distinct look enhances the aesthetics of any building.
  • Easy installation: The installation criteria suit DIYers and professionals alike.
  • Design versatility: Dutch lap siding blends with various architectural design styles and is customizable.
  • Natural insulation: Its extra insulation layer enhances a building’s energy efficiency.
  • Customizable with paint or stain: Its ease of customization makes it easy to match and contrast a building’s design.
  • Various material options: The range of materials caters to different needs and budgets.
  • Durability: Dutch lap siding can last many years with proper maintenance.


  • Vulnerability to water damage: Dutch lap made of wood is more susceptible to moisture damage.
  • Needs regular maintenance: Depending on the material, Dutch lap siding may need cleaning, sealing, and painting.
Pros and Cons of Dutch Lap Siding
Siding & Windows Group Ltd

Installing Dutch Lap Siding

Those with prior construction or DIY experience may be able to install Dutch lap siding themselves.

Essential Tools & Material

  • Dutch lap siding panels (wood, vinyl, fiber cement, or engineered wood).
  • Circular saw, or miter saw for cutting siding panels
  • Hammer or pneumatic nail gun
  • Galvanized or stainless steel nails or screws
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Siding shears (for fiber cement siding)
  • J-channel and corner posts (for vinyl siding)
  • Flashing
  • Safety goggles
  • Work gloves
  • Ladder or scaffolding

How to Install Dutch Lap Siding

  1. Surface Preparation: Remove old siding and repair the house wrap, sheathing, and wall surface if necessary.
  2. Starting Point: Start at the wall’s lowest point to ensure the first siding row is level.
  3. Overlapping: Overlap the siding panels by about an inch, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Nailing: Fasten the siding to the wall studs, leaving a small gap to accommodate expansion and contraction.
  5. Cutting: Use the right tools to cut siding panels for windows and doors.
  6. Flashing: Install flashing around doors and windows to prevent water penetration.
  7. Trim and Corners: Apply trim and corner pieces for a cohesive look.

Safety Measures and Best Practices

  1. Wear safety goggles and work gloves to protect yourself from sharp edges and debris.
  2. Make sure the ladder or scaffolding is on stable ground.
  3. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cutting, nailing, and overlapping the siding material.
  4. Don’t nail the siding too tightly to allow for expansion and contraction.
  5. Inspect your work often to ensure proper alignment and fit throughout the installation.

Dutch Lap Siding Cost

Dutch lap siding installation costs between $5 and $18 per square foot.

Dutch Lap Siding Cost
Siding & Windows Group Ltd

Factors Affecting the Overall Cost

  • Siding material: Wood costs more than vinyl, while fiber cement and engineered wood are midrange options. These materials cost from $2 to $10 per square foot.
  • Quality and thickness: Thicker siding offers better durability and insulation and costs more money.
  • Local labor costs: Professional installation may cost between $2 and $5 per square foot or more. The price depends on the location and complexity of the installation.
  • Project size: Larger projects leverage economies of scale, lowering cost per square foot.
  • Additional materials needed: The cost of fasteners, trim, flashing, and corner posts contribute to the final price.
  • Installation complexity: Unique architectural elements, challenging layouts, and custom cuts increase the overall cost.
  • Surface preparation and repairs: Wall repairs and removing old siding add $1 to $4 per square foot to the final cost.
  • Finishing, painting, or staining: You may need to pay an extra $1 to $3 per square foot for professional painting or staining. The cost of painting and staining depends on the type of finish and the number of coats.
  • Geographic location: Some areas have higher labor and material costs due to differences in wages and demand.
  • Permits and fees: Depending on your local regulations, you may need a permit for your project. The permit costs vary based on your project’s size, complexity, and location.

Comparing Dutch Lap Siding with Other Siding Options

Vertical Siding

Vertical siding runs up and down the exterior walls, highlighting the building’s walls. It makes a build appear taller and grand. In contrast, Dutch lap siding has more visual depth. Vertical siding requires extra care during installation to ensure proper water drainage.

Shingle Siding

Shingle siding has a rustic look,  with cedarwood being a common material. This type of siding is common in Cape Cod or cottage-style homes. It offers a unique aesthetic but may not resist weather or insects. Dutch lap siding made from vinyl or fiber cement tends to be more durable.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is a low-maintenance and cost-effective option. It’s more resistant to weather than wood. However, vinyl siding may not offer the same insulation properties as drop lap siding made from wood.

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement is a long-lasting material that mimics the Dutch lap’s appearance. It’s more resistant to moisture and fire than wood siding. But, fiber cement siding is heavier than other options, making installation more challenging.

Barn Siding

Barn siding comprises reclaimed wood. It’s common in rural settings or farmhouse-style homes. While it creates a distinct appearance, it requires more maintenance and is often expensive.

Common Dutch Lap Siding Materials

Standard Dutch lap siding materials include vinyl, fiber cement, wood, and aluminum.

Common Dutch Lap Siding Materials
Alpha Windows & Siding


Vinyl is a durable, affordable, and low-maintenance material. It’s made from PVC and resists extreme weather and insect infestations. It comes in various colors and textures that can mimic the appearance of wood. As a downside, it has less insulating properties than wood or fiber cement.

Fiber Cement

Fiber cement is a composite material from cellulose fibers, sand, and cement. The material requires less maintenance than wood siding. It’s also less prone to warping or rotting. Since fiber cement requires labor-intensive installation, it’s more expensive than vinyl.


Wood Dutch lap offers a natural and timeless appearance. Common wood species for this siding include pine, redwood, and cedar. Wood siding offers natural insulation and is easy to paint or stain for a custom look. But, wood siding is less fire-resistant and more expensive than vinyl or fiber cement. It also requires ongoing maintenance, which includes painting or staining every five years.


Aluminum Dutch lap siding is a lightweight alternative to vinyl or wood siding. It’s resistant to moisture and doesn’t rot or warp. You could paint aluminum siding to achieve a variety of finishes.

The downside of aluminum siding is it’s more prone to denting and provides less insulation. It also offers less insulation than wood or fiber cement siding.

Applications and Uses of Dutch Lap Siding

Applications and Uses of Dutch Lap Siding
Alpha Windows & Siding

Historic Building Renovations

The traditional appearance of Dutch lap replicates older siding styles. It preserves the architectural integrity of historic buildings while maintaining their unique aesthetic.

Siding made from wood or fiber-cement offers a more authentic look. Choose vinyl or aluminum options if you’re looking for budget-friendly and low-maintenance siding.

Storage Sheds and Garages

Dutch lap siding’s durability and weather resistance make it suitable for storage sheds or garages. Its visual appeal makes these structures blend with the main house or surrounding buildings.

Consider vinyl or aluminum Dutch lap siding for sheds and garages. Both materials are weather-resistant and require minimal maintenance.

Home Exteriors & Interior Accent Walls

Drop lap siding creates dramatic home exteriors and interior accent walls. Its unique shadow line adds depth and texture to interior and exterior spaces.

Materials such as fiber cement or wood give interior accent walls a warm and inviting look. Vinyl and aluminum offer a more durable solution for exterior applications.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Can Dutch lap siding be installed over existing siding?

You could install Dutch lap siding over existing siding using vinyl or aluminum materials. Inspect the existing siding for rot, damage, or moisture problems. You should also follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation.

What are the maintenance tips for Dutch lap siding?

The maintenance needs depend on the Dutch lap siding material. Wood siding, for instance, requires regular painting, sealing, and inspection for rot or insect damage. To maintain the appearance of aluminum or vinyl siding, periodic cleaning with mild soap is necessary.

What’s the best material for Dutch lap siding?

The best material for Dutch lap siding depends on your needs, preferences, and budget. Wood requires more maintenance but offers a more natural look.

Consider vinyl or aluminum if you want an affordable and low-maintenance option. Fiber cement is durable and offers more resistance to moisture.

What’s the typical lifespan of Dutch lap siding?

The quality of installation and maintenance determines the lifespan of Dutch lap siding. With proper care, wood can last 20-40 years. Vinyl siding has a lifespan of around 20-30 years. Aluminum can last 30-50 years, while fiber cement lasts 50 years or more.