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Choosing Wood Siding Type: How To Pick A Wood Siding Pattern

Real wood siding, especially cedar, is a big investment. You want your new siding to complement your style, add curb appeal and add value to your home. There are many wood patterns and profiles to choose from. Each pattern imparts a different look and feel to your home’s appearance; therefore, selecting the right type of cedar siding or wood siding is crucial for achieving your desired aesthetic.

How do you make the decision? We’ve listed some considerations to mull over and a brief description of patterns to help you narrow the options and make the choice that’s right for you. 

What Are The Considerations When Choosing A Wood Pattern?

Before diving into the types of cedar siding and other wood siding types, consider whether the style resonates with your design preferences, complements the surrounding community, and meets any HOA requirements. The orientation of the siding—vertical, horizontal, or multi-directional—adds to the visual texture and is an important aspect of your decision-making process.

Keep in mind one of the most important considerations when choosing a pattern, does it evoke your design style? Are you going to love it day-after-day?

Do you want your home to complement homes around you or within the community? Perhaps you need to consider an HOA requirement?

Installing siding vertically or horizontally is also a consideration. Multi-directional installs are popular and add a lot of visual texture.

Multi-directional Installation Wood Siding Pattern
Multi-directional Installation

Additional considerations might be cost differences between patterns. Some patterns and profiles may require more milling and the cost might be a bit more.

Installation costs may vary between patterns, as one pattern may be simple and straight forward to install and another pattern may be more labor intensive, based on intricacy or detail work involved.

Carve out time for a drive and look at homes with wood siding. Take photos of the homes you like. They’re great for reference as you work through your options.

Ask questions! The professionals involved in your wood siding purchase, design or install have valuable knowledge and experience.

Different Types Of Cedar Siding & Wood Siding Patterns

There are many patterns and profiles, and limitless ways you can manipulate the patterns for a very custom look.

Familiarity with the most popular wood patterns is a great starting point. Let's take a look at popular types of cedar siding and wood siding patterns and profiles.

Tongue and Groove Siding

Tongue and Groove siding, universally known as T&G, is a traditional pattern that is equally at home on contemporary and rustic styles, and everything in between. 

Tongue and Groove Wood Siding Pattern
Tongue and Groove Wood Siding Pattern

There are a number of T&G profiles. V-groove, Fine Line, and Flush Joint are three of the most popular. Each profile offers subtle differences in appearance.

Tongue and Groove Joint Profiles
Tongue and Groove Joint Profiles

T&G Wood Siding is a best seller because of its versatility. It can be installed horizontally, vertically or diagonally, giving you endless options for a custom look. The tongue and groove on each milled plank allow uniform installation, as well.

Shiplap Siding Pattern

A version of Shiplap was originally used on the sides of boats as far back as the Vikings. The overlapping wood planks created a water-tight seal.

The modern-day version of Shiplap siding has been popular since the 1800s. As well as being water-tight, it allows the wood siding to breathe with changes in season and humidity.

Shiplap Wood Siding Pattern
Shiplap Wood Siding Pattern

The grooves cut into the top and bottom of the long sides of the boards making them self-spacing for fast and consistent installation. 

Three popular profiles of Shiplap Siding are Flush Joint, Nickel Gap, and Beveled Edge. Each profile will present with a subtle difference in the overall look of your siding.

You can find Shiplap siding in contemporary, traditional, and rustic home styles. Shiplap siding is equally popular in both horizontal and vertical installations.

Dutch Lap Siding - AKA Cove Lap & German Lap

Dutch Lap Siding Pattern
Dutch Lap Siding Pattern

Dutch Lap siding is a variation of Lap Siding. Also known as Cove Lap and German Lap, it gained popularity in the 1800s. It’s distinguished by its curved channel between the installed boards. Dutch Lap is most commonly milled with a rough exposure and knotty grade giving it a beautiful, rustic character.

Channel Lap Siding

Another variation of Lap Siding, Channel Lap siding has a wide channel – usually one inch – between boards, when installed.

Channel Lap Siding Pattern
Channel Lap Siding Pattern

Popularly milled on knotty, rough-sawn cedar for a rustic appearance. Channel Lap can be installed horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

Bevel Siding Pattern - aka Clapboard Siding

Single board milled into two planks
Single board milled into two planks

The Bevel siding pattern is created when a board is cut diagonally. The result is two boards, thicker at one end than the other end. Because two planks of siding are created from one board it is one of the most economical siding patterns.

Bevel Wood Siding Pattern
Bevel Wood Siding Pattern

It is installed with the butt end down, overlapping the thin end of the board below it, creating an excellent water barrier, popular in harsh coastal climates.

There are two Bevel profiles. 

Bevel Rabbeted Siding Profile
Bevel Rabbeted Siding Profile

A square-butt end, also called Clapboard siding pattern.

And, a notched-butt end, known as Rabbeted Bevel or Dolly Varden, popular for ease of installation as one board’s notched end sits on the previous board without additional measuring. 

Bevel siding is installed horizontally and gives an attractive shadow line which varies with the thickness of the Bevel selected. Bevel Siding imparts a traditional or rustic, cozy, inviting appearance.

Wavy Edge Siding Pattern

Wavy Edge Bevel Profile
Wavy Edge Bevel Profile

Wavy Edge siding is an extremely popular bevel pattern with each piece having a unique wavy edge – no two edges are the same.

It’s a thick bevel, providing a deeper shadow line, emphasizing and enhancing the wavy edge appearance. Wavy Edge gives your home a rustic feel, loaded with charm!

Cedar Wavy Edge Siding
Cedar Wavy Edge Siding

Log Siding Pattern

Cedar Log Siding Pattern
Cedar Log Siding Pattern

Log Siding is the perfect fit for a cabin, tiny home, or country home, anywhere you’d love a log cabin look.

Log Siding requires 75% less wood than full logs and is installed on conventional frame construction. For those who’ve always dreamed of a log home, Log Siding is a popular choice for home renovations.

Log Siding with reveal and cosmetic chinking
Log Siding with reveal and cosmetic chinking

The Log Siding pattern is available with a “reveal” profile option that allows for cosmetic chinking, for an old-fashioned log cabin look.

Smooth Log Siding vs Rough Hewn Log Siding
Smooth with Reveal and Cedar Board Trim vs Rough-hewn w/Log Corner System

Smooth or rough-hewn Log Siding is available and either can be trimmed with boards or a unique Log Corner System.

Board and Batten Siding Pattern

One of the oldest and simplest siding styles uses straight-edge lumber, with no additional milled pattern. Long boards of 8in, 10in, or 12in wide are installed vertically. Smaller width boards, called battens, of 1in, 2in, 3in, or 4in, secure over each vertical seam for weatherproofing.

Board and Batten Siding Pattern
Board and Batten Siding Pattern

Cedar Board and Batten siding conveys a warm, homey, comfortable feel to a wide range of styles, from traditional to farmhouse to rustic.

Rustic Board and Batten vs Farm House Style Board and Batten
Rustic Board and Batten vs Farm House Style Board and Batten

Cedar Shingle Siding

Shingle Style Siding Pattern Popular in 1900’s
Shingle Style Siding Pattern Popular in 1900’s

Wood-shingled roofs have been around since the North American colonies. In the 1800’s steam-powered saw mills revolutionized the production of wood shingles and increased their popularity as wall siding, found in styles like Queen Anne, Gothic, and Shingle. Cedar Shingle Siding is still a desired option today and very popular in coastal communities.

Shingle Wall Siding on Boat House
Shingle Wall Siding on Boat House

Artistic decorative shingles are widely used to give homes a custom look.

Decorative Shingle Design
Decorative Shingle Design

Next Steps In Choosing Wood Siding Type

Work through your considerations.  Answering these questions will help you gain clarity on your must-haves, wish list and narrow your pattern options.

Questions to Ask When Choosing Wood Siding Pattern:

  1. What is the look or design style you are going for?
  2. Do you want your home to complement the design style of homes within your community?
  3. Do you have any HOA requirement?
  4. Do you want to install the siding vertically or horizontally or multi-directionally?
  5. What is your budget? Will the cost differences between pattern styles change your decision?
  6. What will the cost of installation be? Will the installation cost difference between pattern and profiles types dictate which option you select?

Talk to, ask questions of, and share your favorite design style photos with the wood siding vendor or professional helping on your siding project. Understanding your vision helps your professionals offer observations and suggestions to make your job, choosing a wood siding pattern, much easier.

Once you’ve selected the wood siding pattern and profile for your project, the next step is choosing a wood siding finish and reviewing what installation will require (and how to choose the right wood siding installer); both in our next, and final, article in the series How To Choose The Right Wood Siding For Your Project.

Until next time, Wood Lovers.

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