Vertical Siding: The Newest Exterior Trend

Vertical siding has been on the rise in recent years, drawing the attention of builders and homeowners alike. As versatile as it is stylish, it’s able to meet the needs of the farmhouse fan all the way down to the contemporary remodel. Likewise, it offers varied options in material, color and design. Turning traditional siding on its head, vertical siding is a must have for homeowners searching for a distinct curb appeal.

What is vertical siding?

White house with vertical siding
Dawn Tien

Vertical siding is a siding style made up of short width boards that are installed upright, from top to bottom of the home’s exterior. It adds visual height and depth that gives the home a stand-out finish regardless of if it’s used on the whole home or as simple accents.

Some would argue that vertical siding is just another term for board and batten, that they’re one and the same. While board and batten siding is the most common style for vertical boards, it’s not the sole style. In short, they’re not synonymous.

What materials does vertical siding come in?

It’s always nice to have options and vertical siding has many to choose from when it comes to material.

  • Vinyl Siding: A sturdy plastic material, vinyl siding is known for its affordability and low maintenance. Made of PVC, it can be manufactured with a smooth coating or a wood-look finish.
  • Fiber Cement Siding: Made of wood pulp, cement, sand and water, fiber cement makes for a long-lasting siding with unmatched strength. Made in several styles like lap siding, shingles, shakes and more, you don’t have to sacrifice design for durability.
  • Wood Siding: An environmentally conscious choice, wood is easy to customize and repair. From cedar, pine, cypress and the like, there’s plenty of options both in quality and texture.
  • Aluminum Siding: A soft, waterproof metal that acts as a good insulator, aluminum siding is a great selection for climates prone to moisture. It has all the style of wood without near as many risks.
  • Engineered Wood Siding: Created using resin and wood chips, engineered siding is a less expensive option than the real thing. Its low-maintenance and ease of installation also make it a desirable choice.

Pros of Vertical Siding

Vertical siding presents users with plenty of enticing advantages.

  • Durability: It’s no doubt that vertical boards are made of many long-lasting mediums, but it doesn’t stop there. Due to the fact that the boards lay vertical, they won’t hold water on top like horizontal ones do. It’s because of this that they’re at far less risk for rot and water damage caused by pooled water.
  • Low Maintenance: A quality most people hope for, vertical siding is a lower maintenance exterior option. Simple tools like a soft scrub brush, hose and mild soap will do the trick. A thorough annual cleaning should suffice, with spot treatments throughout as needed.
  • Curb Appeal: Vertical siding has its own aesthetic that’s bound to catch an eye or two. The unique design creates clean lines that play well with other building material, also meshing with endless color choices.

Cons of Vertical Siding

There are a few factors to consider before starting a project with vertical siding.

  • Lengthy Installation: Vertical siding requires a few extra steps that horizontal siding doesn’t. Furring strips need to be in place prior to installation of the vertical planks in order to produce a clean and level finish. All of this creates a drawn out timeline in the end.
  • Cost: The cost of the material itself is similar to horizontal siding, it’s the cost of labor that’s a bit of a downside. Due to a more meticulous installation process, most will opt for the help of a specialist to get the job done right. That said, you’ll need to count the cost of the man power needed.
  • Resale Obstacles: While vertical siding does offer lots of curb appeal, it’s not for everyone. Not considered a classic cladding, it might act as a deterrent when it comes time to sell the home.

Cost of Vertical Siding

Overall cost will be determined by many factors including building materials selected, permits, siding removal, home size and more. Even so, the figures below will give you a general idea of what to expect.

  • The labor cost ranges from $1 to $4 per square foot.
  • Using vinyl siding ranges from $3 to $12 per square foot.
  • Using fiber cement siding ranges from $5 to $13.50 per square foot.
  • Using wood siding ranges from $2 to $5 per square foot.
  • Using aluminum siding ranges from $2 to $5 per square foot.
  • The total cost including labor and material ranges from $4,000 to $14,000.
  • The total cost including labor and material averages $10,750.

Examples of Vertical Siding

Versatility isn’t lacking with vertical siding styles, fitting a multitude of personal design elements.

Transitional

Black transitional house with vertical siding
Carlton Edwards

Dark, vertical boards coupled with a vertical lined roofing make for a systematic look with a stand-out, moody finish.

Contemporary

Small contemporary house with vertical siding
Architrave Architecture Design Build Ltd.

Mixed materials enhance this contemporary house with a light brushed vertical aluminum on one side and a raw, rustic vertical board on the other.

Modern

Modern house with vertical siding
FAR + DANG

Flush vertical boards take on different dimensions working from narrow up top to wide boards on the bottom in this neutral, modern home.

Traditional

Traditional house with vertical siding

Multicolored batten siding boards run top to bottom in this traditional house, utilizing stacked stones to further add to the custom feel.

Scandinavian

Scandinavian house with vertical siding
Elle Decor

A two-toned exterior with clear cut depth, this home blends flat vertical boards alongside a horizontal center for a striking appearance.

Farmhouse

White farmhouse with vertical siding
Two Hawks Design and Development

Vertical board and batten embellish the center of this farmhouse style cottage. The mixed-use of siding give it a unique contrast among textures while the crisp white maintains the minimal, modern look.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How much space should be left between each vertical board?

With boards that butt up against each other or ones that interlock, this isn’t something you’ll need to consider as much. If you’re opting for the board and batten look though, it will be a major decision that affects the overall visual outcome of your exterior. The general rule of thumb is 12 to 24 inches between each board.

Why not use horizontal siding since it’s more common?

You can but horizontal siding presents a few problems vertical siding does not. First, horizontal siding tends to deteriorate easier as water can get trapped on top the boards. Likewise, horizontal boards can warp if water manages to sink behind them. This isn’t an issue for vertical boards as water slides right down the sides of the strips.

What structures can vertical boards be used on?

While the main focus of this article was vertical siding’s use on residential buildings, it can also be used for other structures as well. In fact, until recent years, vertical siding was more common on buildings like schools, barns, commercial sites and the like. Its limit comes down to personal preference.

Does vertical siding make a house look taller?

A vertical exterior does have the power to make a home appear taller than it is. The long boards accentuate the overall height resulting in not only a taller look but bigger as well. This can be of particular help to home designs that lean more compact like craftsman homes or cape cod styles.

Conclusion

Vertical siding is a bold choice that comes with a stunning result. Though it’s not as common as horizontal siding, it’s on the rise in every style.

The ability to customize through material and color give homeowners endless options to create their personalized look.

Offering prices to fit any budget, vertical siding is a trendy choice you don’t want to leave on the table.