Shingle Siding: What It Is and How Others Use It

Shingle siding is one of the best products for adding texture and visual interest to your home’s exterior

Traditionally, builders have used it on craftsman bungalows and cape cod style homes, but more and more, it’s added as an accent to modern or traditional styles.

Shingle Siding GuideView in gallery
Direct Cedar and Roofing Supplies

Cedar shakes have been the most popular shingle siding in the past, but other options are available, including vinyl and fiber cement.

Here’s what to know about shingle siding, plus some ideas for adding it to your home.

What is Shingle Siding?

Cedar shakes are the traditional shingle siding. They’re small wooden pieces, the shape of shingles, installed one by one to create an overlapping, staggering effect. They add dimension and texture to a home.

But today, there are far more options than the standard cedar shingles.

You can find shingle siding in vinyl and fiber cement materials. Plus, you can get these options in panels rather than individual pieces – making installation easier and less time-consuming.

You can use shingle siding to cover your entire house, typical for cottage or cape cod styles, or use them as a small accent on the front of your home.

Types of Shingle Siding

These are the three most common types of shingle siding.


1. Cedar Shake Siding

Cedar Shake SidingView in gallery
Buffalo Lumber

Cedar shingles are a durable softwood used in various outdoor applications. Its rich, warm color adds classic beauty to a home. 

Cedar is naturally weatherproof – it stands up to moisture and resists rot and bug infestations, making it a popular shingle siding option.

You can add a sealant or coat of paint to make your cedar shingles last longer. You can also leave cedar untreated and unpainted. The downside is that it won’t last as long and will fade to silvery gray over time.

You can find cedar shingles in many styles, including straight edge, wavy, beveled edge, and other decorative shapes.

  • Lifespan – 10-40 years, depending on type and maintenance
  • Pricing – $1.50 – $7 per square foot (material only)
  • Maintenance Level – Mid to high

2. Vinyl Shingle Siding

Vinyl Shingle SidingView in gallery
Factory Direct Siding

Vinyl is hard to beat if you’re looking for a low-maintenance siding. You can find vinyl shingles in many colors, styles, and textures.

From afar, this type of shingle siding looks incredibly wood-like. In fact, most of your guests will assume it’s painted cedar shake.

Vinyl shingle siding usually comes in two-foot-long strips for easy installation.

The price of this material varies significantly by style and manufacturer. The high-end products are as much as $10 per square foot, while you can find options at around $4 per square foot on the lower end.

  • Lifespan – 50 years
  • Pricing – $4 – $10 per square foot (material only)
  • Maintenance Level – Low

3. Fiber Cement Shingle Siding 

Fiber Cement Shingle Siding View in gallery
Riverhead Building Supply

Fiber cement siding is quickly becoming one of the most used siding materials in newer home construction.

As the name implies, this is a cement-based siding that is termite, wind, rot, and fireproof. And like vinyl, you can find fiber cement siding in all forms – smooth boards, wood-look, stucco, and shingles.

The most popular brand of fiber cement siding comes from James Hardie. That’s why you’ll often hear this product referred to as Hardie Siding or Hardie Board. However, you can also find fiber cement shingle siding from other brands and at major home improvement stores.

Like vinyl, you can get fiber cement shingles in multiple colors, textures, and shapes.

  • Lifespan – 25-50 years
  • Pricing – $3 to $6 per square foot (material only)
  • Maintenance Level – Low

Houses with Shingle Siding: Ideas

If you need ideas for adding shake siding to your home’s exterior, here’s a look at how others have done it.

Keep Colors Consistent

Keep Colors ConsistentView in gallery

If you’re after a modern aesthetic, there is no need to switch between colors. You can keep your regular siding and shingle siding the same color.

On this home, the shingles add textural interest and look great above the stone on the porch.

Go for a Natural Look

Go for a Natural LookView in gallery

If you want a natural look, use cedar shingles. You can stain them or leave them untreated. This works well for many houses, especially rustic and cottage styles.

The wood shingles tie in with the wood accents and light brown siding. However, wood shingle siding works well with all other colors, building materials, and with wood siding.

Accent Over the Garage

Accent Over the GarageView in gallery

If you have a front-facing garage with a gable roof, it’s a top contender for a shingle accent. Covering this small space is an excellent way to add interest to your home, even if you’re working with a tight budget.

You can do like these homeowners and paint all of your siding the same, or you can use a complementary accent color.

Use it On High Pitched Areas

Use it On High Pitched AreasView in gallery

On this house, shingle siding is on the smallest area over the window of a dormer. While this adds some texture to the home, it also serves a practical need. Installing the small shakes above the window looks better than trying to clad it in clapboard siding.

This look shows that shingle siding looks beautiful even in the tiniest amounts.

Spruce Up Your Curb Appeal

Spruce Up Your Curb AppealView in gallery
Roger Starnes Sr

If you have a covered front porch like this, it’s a prime spot for shingle siding. Even though the area is small, the shingles add a ton of curb appeal to the home.

If you’re considering an idea like this, you don’t have to go with the same color as the rest of your house. Instead, consider a complementary color or cedar shake.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Is shingle siding expensive?

Shingle siding ranges from $1.50 to $10 per square foot, depending on the material. This, however, doesn’t cover installation costs which can add another $4-$8 per square foot to the total price.

What’s the difference between cedar shake and shingle siding?

Cedar shake is a type of shingle siding. Other types of shingle siding include vinyl and fiber cement. All have their own sets of pros and cons.

Is it okay to put new shingles over old siding?

No, you should remove old shingles or siding before adding new ones. If you don’t, you’ll trap in moisture and rot. This is especially important if your old single siding shows any signs of wear, bug infestation, or moisture damage.

Final Thoughts

You can find shingle siding in different colors, shapes, sizes, and materials. The three most common types are cedar shake, vinyl, and fiber cement. While shingle siding is most popular on cape cod, cottages, and craftsman bungalows, it will add beauty to any house.

You can side your entire home with shingles if you want a rustic, cottagey feel. However, most homeowners use it as an accent to add texture and interest to the front of their house.