Use 17 Wood Siding Types to Create a Rustic Look

Wood siding types are very popular for homeowners to install on their home exteriors because they work to create a classic, timeless look. It can help homeowners feel secure and grounded, and wood is also biodegradable so it’s a nice way to have a green lifestyle. A lot of homeowners save on the costs for installation by doing it themselves. Wood is readily available and easy to put up as your new siding type even with basic carpentry skills. You can easily replace or remove damaged parts, and this can save you on costly repairs.

You can stain and paint your wood siding to complement your home’s entire design. Although it’s easy to paint, your wood siding types will require more maintenance than other options to keep it looking nice. Routine maintenance is key to preventing warps, cracks, rots, water seepage, and wood-damaging insects.

If you’re ready to take on the maintenance and get a classic look, wood siding types could be a viable option for you. We’re going to outline 17 popular wood siding types to consider below.

1 Wood Siding
Wood siding can help you create a timeless and rustic look on your home that is also budget-friendly as it can last for years. Wood Siding #01 by Ishikawa Ken / CC BY-SA 2.0

1. Board-and-Batten

One wood siding type that is very popular when you’re replacing your current siding or building a home is board-and-batten. This is very popular when you’re in the process of finishing homes on farms or if you have barns on the property. This siding gets installed vertically, and it has wide boards of wood that get evenly spaced out from one another. After you install the wide boards, you install smaller pieces of batten over the space between the bigger boards.

This is a solid option if you’re worried about whether or not the boards are going to expand and contract as the wood will get a lot of room to move without cracking or splintering. If you want to make a statement about your wood siding type, you can use the boards in a varying width. This allows you to create interesting patterns with your siding to create a high level of visual appeal.

2. Cedar

Cedar is a very attractive wood to us in your siding, and many people consider it to be a favorite. One of the many reasons why people like this wood siding type is that it has a very pretty grain that you can reveal as you stain it. Cedar does a very nice job at taking stains, and it’s very easy to keep looking nice. It’s also rot-resistant, and this means that you won’t have to have huge yearly maintenance projects to keep it looking nice. It resists rot and decay due to natural properties.

Cedar is also popular with siding, and it’s also popular for shakes and shingles because of how reliable and durable it is. The wood resists swelling, cupping, and splitting. Since it’s very forgiving and easy to work with, you won’t need to worry a lot about the boards splitting or breaking during the installation process.

If you love the red woodgrain that some cedar has, you’ll pay more for it because this is the heartwood. The heartwood is a lot more expensive than the white woodgrain found in the sapwood. It’s a good idea to pick out siding pieces that have the most heartwood in them because they’re going to be much more durable.

While this wood siding type is naturally resistant to insect and moisture damage, you will have to maintain it properly so you don’t run into huge problems with it. Regular painting or sealing is necessary, and the wood should be power-washed at least once a year to remove anything that grows on the side of the home and causes damage to the wood.

3. Cypress

Cypress is very desirable when you consider wood siding types due to the durability factor. This wood is usually salvaged from older homes that are being demolished and you can use it in a new home without worrying about issues with your siding. It’s very similar to cedar and redwood in the fact that it is resistant to rot and will repel insects naturally. The wood itself still needs to get treated to ensure that it will last for a long time, especially as it starts to age.

This wood is very lightweight, and this makes it a nice wood siding type for anyone who plans on installing it by themself and is worried about the weight of the boards. One problem that people run into is that cypress wood is very hard to mill. The difficulty level and the expense is why you won’t see this wood being used a lot for siding. However, it’s a nice choice for those with a bigger budget.

2 Cypress Siding
Cypress wood is a slightly more expensive option because it’s harder to source and the installation process can take longer. However, it can pay off in the long run as it’s very durable. Wood Siding by Mark McClure / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

4. Diagonal

Only certain wood siding types can get installed diagonally. So, if you have your heart set on how this particular siding looks, then you need to make sure that you do a lot of research with the type of wood siding you’re going to choose. This can create a very unique look on your home, and it is a nice way to stand out and boost your home’s curb appeal at the same time.

5. Drop Channel Siding

This wood siding type is very versatile because you can easily install it horizontally, vertically, or diagonally to give you a lot of control over the way the siding looks when you finish it. A lot of cabins use this siding style. One edge of a wood plank gets milled to be much more narrow than the other. The thicker edge has a small groove cut into the board, and this is where the more narrow side of a second board will sit. This will help to showcase the design and sculpture of the board itself, but it forms a slight ledge where water can bead.

This wood siding type is very beneficial because it gives the wood a lot of room to contract and expand without causing any damage to the siding. You also get visual interest due to a shadow line because of how the boards line up. If you want to get a rustic look, you can use knotty pine with a rough-hewn look that gets milled specifically for this type of siding. However, you can use any wood you like. As long as you wash, paint, and seal it regularly, it can last for years.

6. Engineered Wood

Some people who want to ensure that they use solid wood for their siding can scoff at the idea of using engineered wood, it’s something you should consider if you want to install siding that will last for years without having to replace them. Engineered wood siding is made from wood chips and sawdust that gets combined and strengthened using special bonding agents, and the same is said for engineered shingles.

When you make them correctly, this wood siding type is very lightweight and strong. It’s very easy to mill, and you can buy it in a variety of lengths. This is beneficial if you’re trying to get the correct boards for your siding. Since it’s slightly less expensive than natural wood, it’s a nice pick for people on a budget. Also, this wood siding type usually looks much more natural than vinyl or aluminum siding options that can withstand large temperature swings, mold, and mildew without any damage.

Since there aren’t any flaws or knots in the wood, some people find this siding slightly easier to install than other types, and there is going to be less waste because mistakes aren’t common. Also, this wooden siding can get milled to look like a range of styles without a problem. Factories will apply finishes to the siding pieces, but you want to consider painting them and then maintaining them to make sure they last as long as possible.

However, if the exterior coating on the siding gets damaged, the water can get inside of the siding itself and cause warping. So, you need to make sure that you keep this siding sealed and painted to keep it looking nice.

7. Fir

Fir is a nice softwood that can save you a decent amount of money just like you can with pine. It’s easy to get this wood siding type in long lengths, and this is nice if you have a bigger home and want to use single pieces of wood without any breaks in them. Fir is also very easy to install, and it usually holds a finish very well without any issues. Since it is a softwood, it’s easy to mill it into a pattern without having problems with it breaking or splitting. So, you can have your fir cut into a shiplap, board-and-batten, or tongue-and-groove pattern without any issues.

One thing that people like about this wood siding type is that it is very attractive, even the wood grain. It stains very well, but it looks nice with a coat of paint. Unlike other wood types, fir has a reputation for warping when it absorbs too much moisture. This is why regular sealing and maintenance is required. It can also help discourage any pests from causing damage.

3 Fir Siding
Fir siding is a popular choice for a wood siding type as it takes stain and paint very well to help you change up the look. Untitled by ihamr / CC BY 2.0

8. Horizontal

Generally speaking, most homeowners choose to install their wood siding type in a horizontal pattern across their homes. This can make your house look much larger than it actually is. One problem with this siding is that it can get damaged by water very easily. You also need to make sure that there isn’t any space between the siding panels for water to seep in because it can encourage mold, rot, and mildew to form.

9. Lap Siding

This wood siding type is very traditional and it dates back centuries in the United States. Even though it’s a much older siding type than many on the list, it’s still in use due to how durable it is and how attractive it makes your home look. The boards on this wood siding type get sawed lengthwise to create a pie shape that has a wide edge on one side and a narrow edge on the other. By overlapping the boards when you install them, you create a siding type that can easily shed water because there are no edges that can hang onto the moisture.

While you can place most lap siding boards with varying overlap amounts, there are some boards that have grooves in them. These grooves limit how you can install them, and it will also determine how much overlap you get. Most siding has between four and eight inches of the board exposed, and a smaller amount of overlap will create a much more expensive look on your home. It’s important to note that with this siding, you’ll have to stain or paint the wood regularly and caulk it to reduce any damage from the exposure to the weather.

10. Pine

Pine may be a pretty and inexpensive wood flooring, but it’s also a very popular type of siding. Although pine is a softwood, it can last for a long time while doing a great job at holding a finish. So, you won’t spend a lot of money or time on maintenance and upkeep. This is a nice option if you’re on a budget but you want to replace your wood siding because it’s much less expensive than some other wood siding types on the list. If you’re going to stain or paint horizontal siding, pine is a good option to consider because it’s easy to finish and looks wonderful.

One of the issues with using this wood siding tpe is that it can be challenging to find longer lengths of pine wood that doesn’t have knots. This is due to the way that the tree grows, and it’s something to consider. Another issue to keep in mind is that pine isn’t resistant to rot, so while your maintenance is easy, you do want to make sure that you seal the wood correctly to prevent large issues down the line. Finally, you also shouldn’t pick out a fast growing pine to use as your siding because it’s very prone to cupping, checking, and splitting.

11. Redwood

One of the biggest benefits of using redwood for the siding on your home is that you can use it in virtually any planting zone without an issue. It’s very easy to recognize this wood siding type because it has a very rich texture and tone. Also, since it resists shrinkage, you won’t have to worry how it’ll look in a few years or if the joints will warp or cup. This gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing it’s an investment that will look great for years.

There is very little pitch to redwood, and it does an excellent job at retaining and absorbing any finish you put on it. In turn, you won’t have to spend a lot of resources or time maintaining and updating your siding. It’s very easy to find it in the Western portion of the United States, but it’s more expensive to get in other areas because it’s more difficult to source.

Not only is this wood siding type resistant to moisture damage and rot, but it also does a nice job at standing up to insect damage. This is because the wood comes packed with natural repellents that will keep the insects from destroying the siding and nesting in your home

12. Shake Siding

Shakes look a lot like shingles, but this wood siding type is a lot more durable because they’re much thicker. The wood blocks get cut to make shakes and they’re usually hand-sawed. This results in an end product that isn’t going to be 100% uniform in how thick they are. This is a big part of the appeal for a lot of people, and it’s why many people choose to have it in their homes.

You can purchase shakes in several different lengths, but the most common ones are 16, 18, or 24 inches. By starting at the bottom of the wall and attaching the shakes to your sheathing, you can install them so that each layer overlaps the one under it. It’s usually easiest to find cedar or redwood shakes, and they give the house a very rustic look.

Some areas won’t allow you to install this wood siding type on the home because it presents a fire hazard due to the rough finish. If you are allowed to install it, you’ll need to make sure that you use chemicals to treat the wood to prevent it from catching fire, being eaten by insects, or splitting.

4 Shake Siding
Shake siding is popular in coastal towns to create a unique and weathered look, but it’s also a fire hazard in other areas due to how dry it gets. Shake Siding Railing Window Oak Bluffs by Christopher Sessums / CC BY-SA 2.0

13. Shingle Siding

It’s very normal to see buildings or homes with wood siding types that look like shingles since these pieces of wood have consistent sizes, shapes, and they are very smooth. Another benefit to using this siding type is that shingles are very easy to install, and this means that some handy homeowners are comfortable doing the install themselves. They are great if you have a home that has an odd shape to the walls because you won’t have to worry about whether or not bigger pieces of wood will fit correctly into your space. Shingles are very versatile, and you can easily stain or paint them to switch up your look.

You can use any wood type you’d like for this wood siding type, but it’s important that you treat them to ensure that they resist fire. It’s a good idea for homeowners to check on local building codes to ensure that their shingles are up to code and that they’re not going to be a fire hazard. Also, the shingles will require regular maintenance to ensure that they don’t dry out. Any shingles that are really dry are at a higher risk for infestations by insects and damage.

14. Split Logs

If you want to get a traditional-looking log cabin, this is the wood siding type for you. It’s very popular in wooded settings and it can make your home look very cozy, no matter how small or large it is. This siding is custom made and it is generally made from hardwood. This makes it easy to find split wood siding made out of cypress, oak, or cedar. It’s also important that this wood siding type get sawed while the bark is still intact. The siding plank gets attached to the wall, and this gives the appearance of solid logs forming the outside of your home.

The planks should be 100% dried before you install them to prevent shrinkage. You’ll also do regular maintenance on this type of siding so there aren’t any cracks between the siding. You’ll need to fill any cracks that you do see so that your pieces of bark don’t slough off.

15. Spruce

Spruce is a popular patio flooring idea, and it’s a nice option for wood siding types for anyone who wants to use a softwood that looks great once you install it without causing your to go over budget. Spruce is a popular pine substitute when you don’t have pine available for your siding. One problem with this material is that it’s not available in longer boards like you can get with pine. It’s also not resistant to rot, so if you choose to install spruce on your home, you’ll have to be ready to seal it and maintain it to prevent damage due to insect infestations, mildew, mold, or rot.

It’s also possible to get many different grades of spruce. Better grades will drive the price up, so it’s essential that you have firm budgets in mind when you start to shop for this wood siding type. The goal is to find something durable that won’t break your budget.

16. Tongue-and-Groove Siding

A lot of people love this wood siding type because you can easily install it vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. You can make it with clear wood or knotty pine that can be rough or smooth cut, and this gives you a huge amount of control over the final appearance of the siding as a whole. Each plane will have a groove running along one edge and the tongue over the other. When you put the planks of siding together, they interlock. This creates a very smooth surface.

Hardwood flooring using this joinery type a lot. As siding, it’s very valuable because it gives uninterrupted contact with the boards and the backing, and it offers a very cohesive and finished look.

17. Vertical

The final wood siding type on the list is vertical siding, and it looks very traditional on most home types, especially when you have professional installation. Vertical siding is much easier to clean than horizontal siding, and this is a fantastic way to ensure that your home looks nice without having to spend a lot of time repairing or upkeeping it. However, vertical siding is a lot more difficult to install than the horizontal option, and this can drive the price up significantly. You’ll need additional products to prevent water damage too.

Bottom Line

We’ve outlined 17 great wood siding types that you can consider for your home. We invite you to take a look and see which one is going to work best for your home type, neighborhood, and budget. Chances are, you can find the perfect fit to update the look of your home.

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