Which Style of Vinyl Siding Should I Choose?

Vinyl siding is the most popular siding material for homeowners, and there are many reasons why. This material is durable, versatile and inexpensive to have installed. Homeowners love that it comes in a range of styles, too. But when it comes time to decide how they want their home’s exterior to look, many people are left asking themselves “Which vinyl siding style should I choose?” 

Vinyl siding is made of a synthetic material called polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Its flexibility and durability make it a common material for construction, including home siding. It was developed in the 1950s, and it has evolved over the years to have improved performance and weather resistance. When installed correctly, vinyl siding can also improve the appearance and resale value of a home. 

How Vinyl Siding Styles Differ


Vinyl siding is all made from the same material, but there are several different variations for styles and cuts. Here are some of the ways that vinyl siding can differ:

  • Profile: The profile is the shape and style of the vinyl siding. There are about 10 different vinyl siding profiles, including board and batten siding and ship-lap siding. 
  • Color: According to The Vinyl Siding Institute, there are more than 300 available color choices for vinyl siding. 
  • Thickness: Vinyl siding varies in thickness. Thicker material has better insulation properties and improved durability.
  • Width: Widths vary for vinyl siding. This impacts the style and appearance of the siding.
  • Texture: The texture is the pattern on the siding. Examples include wood grain, cedar and smooth. 
  • Insulation: Premium vinyl siding can come with insulation. There is a range of insulation styles to choose from. 

Most of the above characteristics affect the appearance of your vinyl siding. Sometimes, homeowners choose to use several different types of vinyl siding for various textures and styles on their home. They may also use a range of styles to cut back on costs, since some vinyl styles are more expensive and best used sparingly. Several of these factors can influence the cost of your siding materials. Certain profiles, textures, thickness levels and insulation levels cost more than others. 

To learn more about how these factors can impact the price or performance of your vinyl siding, you should talk to a professional siding installation company. 


Three Different Vinyl Siding Styles 


Although vinyl siding can vary in many different ways, there are three main vinyl siding styles: vertical vinyl siding, horizontal vinyl siding and cedar shake vinyl siding. Most of the styles and profiles are adapted wood siding styles. Each different style can affect the appearance and performance of your home’s siding. 


Vertical Vinyl Siding


Vertical siding was first used for barns and farmhouses, but today, homeowners who want their home to have a contemporary look choose vertical siding. As the name suggests, it is placed vertically, giving the home a sense of elongation. Vertical siding is also used to accent certain parts of the home, such as the entryway or gables. 

The most common profile for vertical siding is called board and batten siding. It is called board and batten because it is made of alternating wide boards and smaller boards (or battens), which fill in the gap between the boards. It is a very popular style for homes, and it has been around for hundreds of years. Because vertical board and batten siding was normally used on barns, it is often referred to as barn siding. 

Typical board and batten styles were made with wood, but with vinyl siding, homeowners can still get a beautiful look without the hassle or cost of wood siding. Board and batten siding is also great at keeping cold winds and freezing temperatures out of the home. The panels fit tightly together because the battens cover the seams between the boards. 

Vertical siding is often more time-consuming and expensive to install, which should be taken into account when making a decision about siding. It also requires additional preparation to install. The exterior walls need to be leveled and flat in order for vertical siding to be installed correctly. Horizontal furring strips are often used to level the surface of the walls and make them smooth. This step adds costs and time to vinyl installation projects. 

Pros and Cons of Vertical Siding


  • Vertical siding is easier to clean and maintain, because water falls down the wall rather than getting stuck in rivets and cracks
  • Increased durability, since water is less likely to pool or seep into cracks
  • A unique style that appeals to some home buyers


  • It costs more money and time to install
  • Since it is an unconventional look, some prefer other styles


Horizontal Vinyl Siding


Horizontal siding is the most common style of vinyl siding. It runs horizontally on a homes’ exterior, and it comes in various profiles and textures. It is usually the cheapest option for vinyl siding, but remains attractive and desirable.  

There are several different horizontal siding options. They include clapboard, dutch lap siding, beaded siding, and ship-lap siding. They can come in a light wood grain texture, a thick, rough wood texture, or a flat and smooth texture. 

  • Dutch Lap Siding: This is the most popular type of siding because of its simple but elegant style. Each Dutch lap siding panel has a groove on its top edge. When it overlaps with the panel beneath it, it creates a shadow line at the top of the panel and adds some depth to the siding. It looks like hand-carved wooden slats. This groove also helps improve the resilience and lifespan of the siding, since it increases the thickness of the siding and slopes downward so water can shed off the walls.
  • Clapboard Siding: Also known as lap siding, bevel siding and weatherboard siding, clapboard siding has been a long-time favorite for homeowners. It is made of long, flat planks that overlap each other. Clapboard siding was originally made by people splitting wood strips and nailing it to their home. The word klappen means “to split” in Dutch, hence clapboard’s name. It is a simple but sophisticated style that is very popular on New England homes.  
  • Beaded Siding: Beaded siding is a more stylized type of horizontal siding. It has a carved, curved notch on the bottom of the panel. Like with Dutch lap siding, this groove creates a distinct shadow line on the siding. The notches give the home’s exterior more depth and style. The panels overlap to seal your home from water and wind. 
  • Ship-lap Siding: This siding is cut so the panels fit perfectly together. Tight, interlocking mechanisms lock into each other, which improves your home’s protection from the elements. Together, the long wood slats resemble the side of a ship, which is why it is called ship-lap siding. 

Many people choose horizontal siding because it is inexpensive, but there are some downsides to this material. Horizontal vinyl siding can be difficult to clean. Slats should be washed horizontally rather than sprayed from the bottom to keep water slipping through the cracks. 

Pros and Cons of Horizontal Siding


  • Installation is simple and quick 
  • It is one of the least expensive types of siding
  • Many homeowners prefer horizontal siding because it is traditional, so it could improve the chances of your home being sold if you plan on selling 


Cleaning horizontal siding requires a special technique that can be time-intensive and difficult

Water is more likely to seep between the slats, which could cause problems such as molding or rotting of the interior walls.

Cedar Shake Vinyl Siding


Cedar shake siding is similar to roofing shingles, and the pieces run vertically to overlap each other. It is a rustic look, especially because the vinyl is made to look rough like real cedar. When this siding style is used, it is almost always on accents of the home’s exterior. It can also be used on the entirety of the home’s exterior for a truly unique look. 

There are different styles of cedar shake siding. There are traditional ones that have a typical square shape, and there are half-round shakes, which are also known as scalloped shakes. Half-round shakes are rounded shingles that give the home a charming look. They often appear on the gables of historic homes.

Many people who want the unique look of real cedar shake often choose vinyl styles because vinyl is more durable and easier to maintain than real cedar shakes. Today’s vinyl has a weathered, rough texture that resembles cedar. 

Pros and Cons of Cedar Shake Vinyl Siding


Cedar shakes add a unique charm to homes, which might increase your home’s resale value

Since the panels are laid vertically, water runs off the home, rather than pooling


The materials and installation can be expensive for homeowners

It can be difficult to maintain and wash


Other Types of Vinyl Siding


Although horizontal, vertical and cedar shakes siding are the most popular types of vinyl siding, there are other options for homeowners. These styles are not as common, but some homeowners prefer them for style and/or performance reasons. 


Log Cabin Vinyl Siding


Homeowners who want their home or cabin to have rugged log siding should consider log cabin vinyl siding. Vinyl can be made to look like logs. It is a great alternative to real log siding because it is much less expensive than real logs and it is far more durable than natural logs. The grain treatments on the vinyl siding imitate the look of rough logs. Log cabin vinyl panels are also usually thicker than regular vinyl siding, which makes it tougher and able to withstand the elements. 

This material does not splinter like that of regular wood log cabins, and the material is easier to maintain than wood. You won’t need to worry about pests such as termites invading your walls. Unlike real logs, vinyl won’t rot or go moldy. Since today’s log cabin vinyl siding looks realistic, it is a great option for homeowners who want a unique look on the exterior of their home. 

Types of Insulated Vinyl Siding


In recent years, insulated vinyl siding has become more popular. It is usually available in premium grade vinyl siding, which means that it will likely cost you more money upfront. But the upside is that you will save more money in the long-run thanks to lower energy bills. 

The insulation in vinyl siding is made of expanded polystyrene foam, or EPS. Insulation is measured in R-value, which calculates the thermal resistance of a building. When insulation is used on vinyl siding, it increases the R-value of the siding to between 3.5 and 6. That is on the high end of the R-value spectrum. Keep cold and hot outdoor temperatures outside your home and seal your home so no chilled or heated air escapes. 

Insulated vinyl siding is also more durable than regular vinyl siding, because it is thicker and more rigid. It has soundproofing qualities, too. Many homeowners looking for a high-quality vinyl siding material choose premium grade insulated vinyl siding. Even though it costs more, they agree that the benefits outweigh the costs.


Finding the Right Vinyl Siding Contractor


If you are considering vinyl siding for your home, you’ll need a trusted and certified siding contractor. Based in Sacramento, CA, Yancey Company has completed thousands of home improvement projects in Sacramento area homes. We have been serving the area for more than 70 years, and we would love to help you with your siding project. 

If vinyl siding is not properly installed, it is more susceptible to damage, such as being torn off in a windstorm or water seepage through cracks between panels. A professional siding contractor will work carefully and efficiently to install the siding on your home. With Yancey Company, you can feel confident that your siding will last. 

If you have any questions about which style of vinyl siding would be best for your home, or for a free quote, give us a call at 916-441-1616 <insert clickable link> Our experienced team can help you choose the right vinyl siding for you.