Types of Vertical House Siding

Ezmeralda Lee

Several modern vertical home sidings are available, including those made from aluminum, steel, vinyl, pressed composites and plywood such as Texture 111. While modern vertical sidings are available, there still exists a certain appeal for those with historical appearances. One is called Board-and-Batten siding, also called Barn Siding or Board-Batten.


Types of Vertical House Siding

Board-Batten was a common-use invention of necessity and efficiency. Historically, Board-Batten provided a way to keep most external elements out of a house, while requiring minimal labor, time and costs for the time period. Supply of the basic rectangular board was plentiful. There was no need to get fancy just to cover a building, especially a barn. Board-Batten dates back centuries.

Texture 111 (T-111) was in wide use during the 1970s. It appears like vertical siding but comes in 4-foot by 8-foot panels. It's essentially plywood with the final exterior layer textured as rough wood and then random slots cut end-to-end. One side has a tongue and the other a grove to provide a seal at each vertical joint. Horizontal joints are sealed with a vinyl "Z" strip. At installation, the slots run vertically.

Within the last 60 years, metal panels of various configurations were created, mostly for metal buildings. Aluminum siding came about in the 1940s and is lightweight, easy to work with, can be painted and doesn't rust. Steel is more expensive, costs more to transport and must be coated well to prevent rust. All are still used.

Pressed materials, composites, came into being in the last 30 years. These are hard 4-foot by 8-foot panels made of highly durable materials.

Vertical siding has always had more of a challenge than horizontal siding with respect to sealing off its vertical joints. Typical Board-Batten siding was widely replaced by better configurations, mostly horizontal sidings. Using modern materials and new installation techniques, the challenges involving vertical siding have been overcome. Vertical siding is essentially an alternative to the more commonly used horizontal sidings, giving a different visual aspect to a building. Both should provide the same quality of seal.


The primary concept behind vertical siding was to cover the walls of a home using the most readily available materials, rectangular boards. Thus, Board-Batten was a widely used early design.

Both boards and batten are fastened to a building vertically, boards first then battens. Where two boards butt against each other, there's a crack called a joint. Regardless of how small the joint is, it will leak. Boards expand and contract with temperature changes and even more due to atmospheric moisture fluctuations. The addition of a narrow batten strip, also wood, over each board joint seals it. When fastened securely over the joint, the wind, rain and other elements are cut off from entering the home. The batten is not a pure seal though. Painting and caulking will seal the joints around boards and battens even more and reduce moisture caused wood expansion/contraction.


Vertical siding is installed with its materials pointing in a vertical direction. Usually, special techniques are used to ensure a good seal is provided. Most vertical sidings have a vertical visual affect but not always. Many different textures and surface appearances are available.


Older Board-Batten and vertical siding installations in general were historically somewhat problematic in that they leaked somewhat. Today, with the use of modern materials, better cured wood, caulk and other improved sealants, vertical siding can be as effective and worry-free as other types of siding.

The use of wood products on exterior surfaces of a building, such as old board-batten siding, require regular periodic maintenance to sustain their composition, keep their appearance and ensure a continuous seal against the natural elements.

Composite sheet vertical siding can be purchased with a variety of textures and desired appearances, including Board-Batten. It comes in 4-foot by 8-foot sheets, which minimizes the number of joints and creases a batter seal than old Board-Batten siding.


Many people enjoy the look of Board-Batten siding. In the eyes of the potential buyer, this provides a higher sense of real estate value. The careful choice of vertical siding can truly enhance the look of any building.

Vertical siding that comes in 4-foot by 8-foot or 4 by 12 sheets can decrease installation time and labor costs. Some even have the appearance of old Board-Batten siding, but, provide for greater sustainability and less maintenance over the old installation method using individual boards.

But, if you want authentic board-batten vertical siding using good old rectangular boards, it can still be done with modern installation techniques yet having that rustic historical look and a good protective seal.