There are several types of siding. Each one has been invented for a specific task. Following is a brief list of the different siding types in use today with an explanation of their purpose.
Horizontal siding is the most common type of siding. Its main purpose is to easily cover great expanses of wall with minimum waste of material and time, while providing good protection against air, water and insect infiltration. Depending on its manufacturer and material, horizontal siding panels or stripes feature different panel sizes and interlocking or overlapping systems. The main goal is to secure the walls against water infiltration and provide additional stability of the siding as a whole. Some of the most popular systems are dutch lapping, traditional lapping, tongue & groove siding, bevel siding and others.
The exact lapping system is of lesser importance when it comes to choosing your siding. Instead you should focus on characteristics like strength and dimensional stability, level of maintenance required, insulation qualities, resistance to the elements, insects and fire.
Just like horizontal siding, vertical siding is meant to cover big areas at low cost and quickly. Because of its direction, vertical siding can not make use of the lapping systems developed for horizontal siding planks. Traditionally the joint between two panels is covered by a small vertical plank called batten. If the plank is on the outside, the system is referred to as board & batten, otherwise it is batten & board.
Contemporary siding manufacturers have of course devised their own interlocking systems that need not this additional peace for interlocking the planks. They guarantee their systems to provide much higher level insulation and stability.
Shakes and shingles are popular both as roofing and siding material. They are especially appraised for their aesthetic looks and their adaptability as a siding type. A good siding installer can fit this type of siding in any part of your house walls depending on your siding project design.
Shakes and shingles are made of all kinds of materials but probably the most popular ones are those made of cedar wood or vinyl imitating wood. Please mind that some states have restricted the use of cedar shingles due to their high level of flammability.
Soffit is the piece of siding hanging from exterior ceiling areas. It not only adds good visual finish to your house but also plays an important part in keeping your attic dry and cool. In addition to strength and firm fastening, a good soffit would also provide continuous airflow while keeping moisture out.
Mainly produced of vinyl and aluminum, soffit is also available out of a number of other materials. When choosing your soffit you should look for ease of installation, level of maintenance and air ventilation.
Fascia is the piece of siding below the roof edge covering the front of the soffit while siding trim is used for cornering the house and for outlining windows and doors. Both can be used as a decorative element. Siding manufacturers provide them in a great diversity of materials, colors and beveled profiles.