The traditional favorite, wood has declined in popularity as cost has increased and homeowners look for lower maintenance materials. Characteristics:
— Available as clapboard or lap siding, shakes, and shingles
— Cedar and redwood are naturally decay-resistant
— Flammable; look for factory-treated with flame retardant
— Needs to be stained or painted every few years
— Damaged boards are easy to replace
Bevel (also called clapboard or lap) siding is one of the oldest forms of exterior cladding used on homes. It is made by resawing a board at an angle to create two pieces that are thicker on one edge than on the other.
Pine, spruce, cypress, and Douglas fir are the favorites because of their longevity and price. Cedar and redwood are great options, as they contain natural rot resistance, but cost more.
Bevel siding is installed horizontally with the upper piece overlapping the lower. Wood siding is installed over a solid surface, such as plywood, with a moisture barrier between the two and a finishing coat (paint or stain) and caulking on the outside. All wood siding requires ongoing maintenance including painting and caulking to prevent weather damage.
Shakes & Shingles
Shakes are machine- or hand-sawn from wooden blocks called bolts. Shakes are thicker than shingles and less uniform in appearance and thickness, but they do last longer. Wood shingles are sawn for a smooth and consistent look and can be cut into an array of shapes to create visual interest. Both come from a variety of woods but most common are Western red cedar and redwood.
Shakes and shingles are available with a fire-retardant treatment, which is a requirement in high-risk locations. They are installed over a solid surface, such as plywood, with a moisture barrier between the two and a finishing coat (paint or stain) and caulking on the outside. Shake and shingle siding require periodic maintenance including painting and caulking to prevent weather damage.
Board-and-batten siding is an American classic that has been used since our nation’s early days. Board-and-batten, sometimes referred to as barn siding, is a vertical design created by using wide boards, such as cedar or pine, spaced with narrower strips, the battens, covering the places where the wide boards come together. There are no standard board or batten widths or spacings, so feel free to innovate. It is possible to develop varying patterns, such as 1×3-inch battens and 1×10-inch boards alternated with 1×3-inch battens and 1×5-inch boards, to create further interest.
This siding can be installed directly over a flat surface, such as plywood, with a moisture barrier between layers. Wide boards are placed first, then battens are used to cover the spaces between the boards.
Using split logs to side a home gives it a traditional mountain or forest feel. Log siding is typically made from cedar, cypress, redwood, or pine logs. The logs are dried and treated for longer a life span. Log siding can be painted or stained but is generally used in its natural state with a clear-coat sealer.
Log siding is expensive and requires more maintenance than most other types of siding. Regular treatment against insect infestation and the sealing of cracks in logs are musts to deter decay. Installation and maintenance of log siding is not unlike other forms of wood siding, but it is challenging and should be done by a professional or a knowledgeable do-it-yourselfer.