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17 Different Types of Wood Siding for Home Exteriors

  A photo collage of different types of wood siding home exteriors.

Wood siding is a popular option for home exteriors because of its timeless, classic look. It’s enough to make homeowners feel secure and grounded in their own homes. Wood is also biodegradable so it’s one way to lead a green lifestyle.

Many homeowners save on installation costs by installing their own wood siding. Wood is readily available and easy to install even when you have basic carpentry skills. You can also easily remove and replace damaged parts, saving you again on costly repairs.

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You can paint and stain wood siding to complement the design of your house. Although it’s easy to paint wood, this type of house siding requires regular and costly maintenance to prevent cracks, warps, rots, water seepage, and wood-damaging insects.

Types of Wood Siding for Houses


Country house with white pine siding.

This is a very common type of wood that is used for wood siding. Although it is a softwood, it does last for a long time and does a great job holding a finish, which means that homeowners don’t have to spend a lot of time or money on upkeep and maintenance.

This is a great option if you are looking to replace your wood siding on a budget because pine is significantly less expensive than some of the other wood siding options that are available.

If you are going to be staining or painting horizontal siding, then pine is a good wood to consider as it is easy to finish and will look great.

One problem with using pine for your wood siding is that it can be very difficult to find longer lengths of pine that is free of knots. This is due to the way that the tree grows and is something to consider. Another problem with pine siding is that it is not resistant to rot.

This means that while maintenance is easy, you do have to make sure that the wood is sealed correctly or you will have major problems. Finally, make sure that you do not choose fast-growth pine to use as siding because this type of pine is very prone to checking, cupping, and splitting.


House with fir siding.

This is a great softwood option that can also save the homeowner a fair amount of money the same way that pine can. Unlike pine, it is very easy to get fir siding in long lengths, which is ideal if you have a larger home and want to use pieces of wood without any breaks in them.

Fir is very easy to install and will generally hold a finish very well without any problems. Because it is a softwood, it is easy to mill fir into a pattern without worrying about the wood splitting or breaking.

This means that you can have your fir cut into a board-and-batten, shiplap, or tongue-and-groove pattern without any problems.

One thing that people love about fir is the attractive, even grain of the wood. It not only receives stain very well but looks great painted too.

Unlike other types of wood, fir is commonly known to warp when it absorbs too much moisture, which is why regular maintenance and sealing are required. This will also help to discourage any pests from damaging your siding.


Snow-covered house with spruce siding.

A member of the pine family, spruce is yet another option for homeowners who want a softwood that will look great once installed but won’t cause them to go over budget when replacing their siding. Spruce is often used as a substitute for pine when pine is not available for siding.

One problem with spruce is that it does not come in any longer lengths than pine does. This type of wood is not rot-resistant so the homeowners who install spruce on their homes need to be willing to seal it and maintain it so that it does not rot or become affected by insects.

Spruce is often used for board siding and is very commonly used as clapboards.

It’s possible to get spruce in a number of different grades. Better grades will naturally cost more money so it’s important that homeowners have firm budgets in mind when shopping for siding so that they can choose the best wood that is still in their price range.


Redwood siding

One of the main benefits of using redwood for your home’s siding is that it can be used in almost any climate without any problems. It is very easily recognizable due to its rich tone and texture.

Additionally, since redwood is resistant to shrinking, you don’t have to worry about how the wood will look in a few years or if the joints will cup or warp.

This gives homeowners peace of mind that the investment they put into their homes will continue to look great. There is very little pitch in redwood, which means that it does a great job both absorbing and retaining the finish that is put on the wood.

In turn, this means that you don’t have to spend a lot of time or resources updating or maintaining your siding. While it is very easily obtained in the West of the United States, because it is harder to get in other areas, it tends to be more expensive.

Not only is redwood resistant to rot and moisture damage but it also does a great job standing up to damage from insects. This is because the wood is full of natural repellents that will keep insects from destroying the wood and nesting in your home.


Cedar siding

Cedar is a very attractive wood to use for siding in your home and is a favorite for many people. One of the reasons why people love cedar siding so much is because it has a gorgeous grain that can be revealed through the stain.

Cedar does a great job taking stains and is very easy to maintain. Not only is cedar gorgeous but it is also rot-resistant. This means that even if you do not provide your siding with all of the maintenance that it needs, you won’t have to really worry about the condition of your home and siding.

Cedar is not only used in siding but also in shingles and shakes because of how durable and reliable it is. This wood is very resistant to cupping, swelling, and splitting.

Because cedar is relatively easy to work with and is a forgiving wood, you generally don’t need to worry about the boards breaking or splitting during installation.

If you love the way that the red woodgrain of cedar looks then, you can expect to pay more for your siding as this “heartwood” is much more expensive than the white woodgrain.

It’s best to choose wood siding pieces that have the most heartwood in them as they are going to be more durable.

While cedar is resistant to moisture and insect damage, it still has to be properly maintained or you can run into major problems with your siding.

Regular sealing or painting is necessary and the wood needs to be power-washed on an annual basis to remove anything that is growing on the side of your home before it damages the wood.


This hardwood is very desirable for siding due to how durable it is. In fact, cypress is often salvaged from old homes that are being demolished and can be used on a new home without any worry about the durability of the wood siding.

Cypress is similar to cedar and redwood in that it is resistant to rot and will naturally repel insects but the wood itself still needs to be treated to ensure that it will last for a long time and to help protect it, especially as it ages.

This wood is very light in weight, making it ideal for anyone who is going to be installing his or her new siding on his or her own and is worried about how heavy the boards may be.

One problem that people run into when they are considering cypress for their siding is that it is very difficult to mill.

Combined with the expense, this difficulty is the reason why you don’t see cypress very often on new buildings but it is still a great choice for anyone who isn’t worried about the increased cost.

Engineered Wood Siding Options

A pile of engineered woods isolared in a dark background.

While some homeowners who want to make sure that they use solid wood for their siding may scoff at using engineered wood, this is a great option if you want to install siding that will last for decades without having to be replaced.

Engineered wood siding is made from sawdust and wood chips that are combined and strengthened with special bonding agents.

When made correctly, engineered wood is very strong and incredibly lightweight. It is easy to mill and can be bought in a large variety of lengths, which is beneficial if you are worried about how you are going to get the right length boards for your siding.

Since this type of siding is less expensive than natural wood, it’s a great choice for anyone on a budget.

Additionally, engineered wood siding tends to look much more natural than any aluminum or vinyl siding options and can withstand major temperature swings as well as mildew, mold, and impact without damage.

Since there aren’t any knots or flaws in the wood, homeowners find that this type of siding is significantly easier to install than other types of wood siding and there is going to be less waste since mistakes aren’t as common.

Additionally, engineered wood siding can be milled into any number of different styles easily.

While factories will apply finishes to the siding pieces, it is important that homeowners paint and then maintain the siding to make sure that it lasts as long as possible.

Unfortunately, if the exterior coating of the siding is damaged, then water can get inside and cause the siding itself to warp or swell. This means that you need to make sure that you keep the siding painted and protected to seal the inside from any water.

Wood Siding Exterior Styles

Lap Siding

Window and lap siding exterior

This siding style is very traditional and dates back to the early days of the United States. Even though it is a much older style than others that are available, it is still in use, thanks to how durable it is and the attractive appearance that it creates on a home.

The boards used for this siding style are sawed lengthwise in a pie shape to create a wide edge on one side of the board and a narrow edge on the other.

By overlapping the boards carefully when installing lap siding, the contractor is able to create a type of siding that will easily shed water as there are not any edges that can hang on to the moisture.

While most lap siding boards can be placed with a varying amount of overlap, there are some boards that have grooves inset in the boards. This means that there is only one way to install them and there will be a predetermined amount of overlap.

Most lap siding has four to eight inches of board exposed, with a smaller amount of exposed wood creating a more expensive look on the home.

It is important to note that with lap siding, the wood will need to be painted or stained periodically and caulking has to be completed to reduce any damage from the weather.

Tongue-and-Groove Siding

Tongue-and-Groove Siding

Many homeowners love this type of siding because it can be installed diagonally, horizontally, or vertically. It can be made with either knotty pine or clear wood and can be smooth or rough cut, giving homeowners a lot of control over the final appearance of their siding.

Each plane has a groove along one long edge with a tongue on the other. When the planks of the siding are placed together, they will interlock completely, creating a very smooth surface.

Hardwood floors also use this type of joinery. As a siding, it is valued because of the uninterrupted contact that the boards have as well as the finished look that you will enjoy with this siding.

Drop Channel Siding

This siding style is very versatile because it can be installed vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, giving the homeowner a lot of control over the way that his or her siding is going to look when it is complete.

Many cabins use this style of siding. One edge of a plank of wood is milled to be much narrower than the other.

The thick edge of wood has a small groove that is cut into the board, into which the narrow side of another board will easily fit. This not only showcases the design and sculpture of the board itself but forms a ledge for water to bead.

Drop channel siding is beneficial because it provides the wood with plenty of room to contract and to expand without the structure of the siding being damaged. Additionally, there is visual interest in the form of a shadow line, thanks to how these boards line up.

For a rustic look, use knotty pine that is rough-hewn and have it milled into this type of siding. Otherwise, it is possible to use almost any wood with this siding. As long as it is washed and painted or sealed on a regular basis, it will last for a long time.


House with blue roof and board-and-batten siding.

Another style of siding that you can opt for when building a home or replacing your current siding is the board-and-batten style. This is a very popular style of siding when you are finishing homes on farms or barns on the property.

This type of siding is always installed vertically and has wide boards of wood that are evenly spaced from each other. After the wide boards are installed, smaller pieces of batten will be installed over the space between the larger boards.

This is a great option for siding if you are worried about whether or not your boards are going to contract and expand as the wood will have plenty of room to move without splintering or cracking.

If you want to really draw attention to this style of siding, then you can use boards that vary in width. This allows homeowners to create interesting patterns with their siding and to create visually appealing buildings.

Split Logs

If you want a traditional-looking log cabin, then you will want to opt for split log siding. This type of siding is very popular in wooded settings and will make your home look very cozy, no matter its size.

This type of siding is custom-made and is generally made from hardwood, making it easy to find split wood siding made out oak, cypress, and cedar.

It is important that this type of siding is sawed while the bark is still intact. The siding plank will still be attached to the wall, giving the appearance of solid logs forming the outside of your home.

It’s imperative that the planks are dried completely before they are installed so that they do not shrink.

It’s important to perform regular maintenance on this type of siding so there aren’t any cracks that appear between the siding. Homeowners also need to fill any cracks between the siding pieces so that the bark does not slough.

Shingle Siding

Shingle Siding

It’s very normal to see homes and other buildings that have wood shingles installed for the siding since these pieces of wood are so smooth and consistent in size and shape.

Another benefit of using shingles for your siding is that the shingles are very easy to install, which means that some homeowners may be comfortable completing this work on their own.

They are ideal if you have a home that has oddly shaped walls as you don’t have to worry about whether or not larger pieces of wood will fit correctly in the space. Shingles are great because they are so versatile and can be painted or stained.

While you can use any type of wood that you want for your new wood shingle siding, it is important that you treat them to ensure that they are fire-retardant.

It’s a good idea for homeowners to check on building codes in their area to ensure that their shingles are up to code and not going to put them at risk of a fire.

Additionally, shingles need regular maintenance to ensure that they don’t dry out. Shingles that are really dry are at major risk of becoming infested with insects or suffering other types of damage.

Shake Siding

House with shake siding surrounded by greenery.

While shakes may look much the same as shingles, they are much more durable, thanks to how thick they are. The wooden blocks that are cut to make shakes are often hand-sawed, resulting in shakes that aren’t going to be uniform in their thickness.

This is part of the appeal for many people and the reason why some homeowners opt for this type of siding in their homes.

Shakes can be purchased in a number of different lengths, most commonly 16, 18, or 24 inches.

By starting at the bottom of the wall and attaching the shakes to the sheathing, they can be installed so that each layer will overlap the one underneath it. It is easiest to find shakes in both cedar and redwood, which will lend a very rustic look to your home.

Some areas will not allow homeowners to install shakes on their homes because of the fire hazard of the rough finish on this product.

If you are allowed to install this type of siding on your home, then you need to make sure that you use chemicals to treat the wood to prevent it from splitting, being eaten by insects, or catching fire.

Exterior Wood Siding Orientation  

Vertical Wood Siding Types

Vertical siding

The vertical wood siding looks very traditional and can look great on almost any home, especially when installed by a professional.

Vertical siding is significantly easier to clean than the horizontal siding, which is a great way to ensure that your home continues to look great without you having to spend a lot of time on upkeep and repair.

Unfortunately, vertical siding is much more difficult to install than horizontal siding and can be more expensive, thanks to the additional products to help prevent water damage.

Horizontal Wood Siding Types

Front door of a home and horizontal siding

Generally, most homeowners opt to have their siding installed horizontally in their homes. This has the benefit of making the house appear much longer than it actually is.

One problem with horizontal siding is that it can sometimes be easily damaged by water. It’s important that there isn’t space in between the siding panels for water to hide as this can cause rot, mold, and mildew to form.

Diagonal Wood Siding Types

Diagonal siding

Only certain types of wood siding can be installed diagonally so if you have your heart set on the way this siding looks, then you need to make sure that you really research the type of wood siding you are going to choose.

This can create a very interesting look on your home and is sure to make your home stand out from others in the neighborhood.