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Vertical Siding Types

There are several types of vertical siding. The vertical approach to siding usually lends a more traditional look to the house, the most common being board and batten, although that is often replaced by newer composite or concrete products that mimic the look of true wood vertical siding.

Board & Batten

This classic approach consists of wood boards (typically 1’x12’) nailed vertically onto the subsiding. Each board is butt-jointed together and then that joint is covered with a strip of wood (batten, typically 1’x2’). This style creates a sense of cabin or rustic living.


T1-11 is a plywood panel that is designed to mimic board and batten siding. It comes in 4’x8’ sheets and, because of its shear quality, can be fastened directly to the studs (with house wrap between). T1-11 comes pre-primed and ready to paint. It is much cheaper to produce and easy and fast to install. Thus it has replaced true board and batten in most situations.

Fiber Cement Siding

Concrete composite panels can also be used to mimic board and batten vertical siding. James Hardie is the most common manufacturer of fiber cement siding (hence you’ll commonly hear concrete siding referred to as HardiePanel). Fiber cement siding may also come as horizontal, lap siding. Vertical cement siding comes in 4’x8’ panels and ready to paint. It has the advantage of being more durable than wood or wood composite products.

Vinyl and Aluminum

Sticking with that board and batten motif, you may also enjoy the lightweight mimicry of vertical vinyl or aluminum siding. Vinyl siding is manufactured to mimic wood grain but requires very little maintenance (an occasional rinsing with water should suffice). Vinyl siding comes in a wide range of colors, but they are limited to brighter, reflective shades because vinyl reacts negatively to excessive heat.

Vinyl siding has in many ways replaced aluminum siding in today’s marketplace; the price and durability can’t be beat. Both aluminum and vinyl vertical siding have similar installation procedures and are often grouped together (as now) for instructional purposes. Many companies and experts say that these types of siding are easy to install and any homeowner can do it. Bear in mind that any type of siding is at least somewhat complex to install and it is much easier to make mistakes than some salesmen would have you think. Siding is a large project and typically best left for professionals.

Vertical siding lends a more traditional look to the house. There are several different types, the most common being board and batten, although that is often replaced by newer composite or concrete products that mimic the look of true wood vertical siding. Here’s a quick look at the different vertical siding types, as well as all the basics to help you decide if it’s right for your home.


The total cost of vertical siding depends on the material used, cost of labor, and the size of the home. For vinyl siding, expect to pay $2,500 to $8,750 for 1,250 exterior square feet. Aluminum will cost $3,100 to $4,500 for the same amount of space, while fiber cement will cost a bit more at $5,600 to $13,750. On average, wood siding runs you about $3,000 to $5,000. Ask a siding installer in your area about the different material types—he or she will also be able to provide more specific cost estimates.


T1-11 (designed to mimic board & batten) comes pre-primed, ready to paint and is cheaper to produce and easy to install.

Fiber cement is more durable than wood or wood composite products.

Board and batten approach is perfect for creating a cabin or rustic style home.


Board and batten siding is high-maintenance and requires a fair amount of time to install.

T1-11 can be susceptible to water damage and must be properly sealed.

Fiber cement comes with high installation and labor costs.


The durability of your vertical siding depends solely on the type of material used. Fiber cement, although more costly than other materials, is also more durable and is usually warranted for up to 50 years.


The maintenance required is also dependent upon the material used. Any wood siding, or wood composite siding, must be routinely sealed and stained or repainted. Fiber cement should also be re-painted periodically. Ask the manufacturer or contractor what maintenance is suggested for your material of choice.

Common Questions and Answers

Can the board and batten style be mimicked without using wood?

Yes, fiber cement siding, vinyl siding and aluminum siding can all be used to mimic the board and batten style without the added maintenance of wood.

What’s the difference between board and batten and T1-11?

T1-11 is a plywood panel, while traditional board and batten is created with wood boards. T1-11 can also be fastened directly to the studs rather than butt-jointed together, and it’s faster and cheaper to install.


Board and batten dates back centuries as a simple and easy way to keep out the elements, while T1-11 didn’t really become popular until the 1970s. Aluminum siding came out in the 1940s because it was lightweight and easy to work with, although today, vinyl is taking its place. Fiber cement is one material that has been steadily gaining popularity in recent years and is expected to keep on going.

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