With the variety of options available on the market today, deciding on new siding for your home can be quite a challenging task. You have the choice of just about every color under the sun in a variety of materials and finishes, which can all be quite overwhelming if you’re looking through a catalog without a definite plan for your home’s exterior already in mind. 

Of these, there are two types of siding that are particularly popular on the market—lap siding and board and batten siding.

Despite both being siding in general, each one has its own distinct style that can give your home a completely different and distinct look depending on how and where you use them.

In this article, we will be learning about their similarities and differences to help you figure out how you can work this material into your own home’s exterior. 

What is Lap Siding?

Lap siding is one of the most often used siding types, and it may be used to complement a variety of various home designs and architectural styles. This is a horizontal siding that derives its name from the way that each course overlaps the one under it.

Lap siding comes in a range of sub-varieties, the most notable of which are clapboard siding, Dutch lap siding, and Shiplap siding. Each siding panel can be had in a variety of widths for even more variation in how you want your exterior to look. 

One of the ways that lap siding is used in exterior design is by making a house appear longer. Because of the horizontal installation of the siding panels, lap siding drags the eyes along the length of the panels, making the house appear longer. 

What is Board and Batten Siding?

As the name suggests, board and batten siding is a type of siding that is made up of two pieces—wide planks called boards that are joined together with thinner strips called the batten that serve to cover the seams between the boards. Nowadays, of course, modern wall structures already have insulation and framing so this siding is mostly used for aesthetics.

Because of the batten pieces sticking outward, board and batten siding has a bit of a three-dimensional look unlike lap siding. The distinct borders of this siding style makes it fit in quite well with the traditional-style wall coverings used on rural-type dwellings and beachside cottages. 

Arguably the most interesting detail of board and batten siding is its verticality. Because the boards are mounted vertically, this siding style can make exteriors feel a bit taller thanks to the same eye-guiding characteristic that makes lap siding effective at what it does. Good designers, of course, can take advantage of this to draw the eyes to specific design or architectural elements. 

Getting the Best out of Your Siding

At this point, you would probably be asking, “which of the two styles of siding is better?” And before you go any further, we will have to stop to tell you that it depends on your personal preference

Different houses can be better served with different design styles, materials, and even colors. And the fact of the matter is that there are no strict rules as to what sort of style, material, or color you should be using—those decisions are all left to you, the homeowner. 

That being said, there are several tips for designing exteriors with siding that you can follow to help you get the most out of your next siding exterior. 

Material Choice

As we touched on previously in this article, material choice is actually quite important when selecting the best siding for your home—not just from an aesthetic perspective, but also from a functional one. 

For instance, while wood siding is by far the most popular material that you can find for siding materials, wood is naturally susceptible to damage from harsh weather and water. 

The latter in particular is of concern for most homeowners, as any excess moisture that the siding gets will make it fertile pastures for mold and mildew, as well as a great new hangout place for termites. 

Thankfully, you do have access to a bunch of other siding materials if the issues with wood siding are too much of a dealbreaker to offset its relatively low cost. For this reason, we’ve listed several materials that you could use as alternatives:

Vinyl is one of the cheapest synthetic material option you can get for your external siding. Lightweight, simple, easy to install, and available in a whole spectrum of colors, vinyl is a solid pick for your home’s exterior siding; just be aware of its susceptibility of fading from direct exposure to UV light.

For those with a bit more of a premium preference, fiber cement is also another great option for exterior siding. Made out of a composite material that contains cement reinforced with cellulose, fiber cement is extremely durable, relatively safe for the environment, and does not require a lot of maintenance, if any at all.

Arguably the most heavy-duty (and in turn, the most expensive) type you can find on the market, metal siding produces a very bold, industrial look that is quite unlike anything else.

Mixing Styles

Although both lap siding and board & batten siding look quite good when used on their own, there is nothing stopping you from using both types on the exterior of your home. And as many newer designs have proven, this mixing of styles can end up producing some very interesting results. 

As an example, you can use board and batten siding below peaks and gables to help make these features more eye-catching to the viewer, while lap siding can be used as a backdrop for the remainder of the house.

Homes with multiple sections could also benefit from having different types of siding to help differentiate these sections from each other. More modern home designs could take advantage of this and really highlight these sections with bold color palettes, although simpler color schemes also work just as well for a variety of home styles.

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Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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