Tim Barber House & Home | Blog | Home Siding and Shingle Options | Home Siding and Shingle Options to Consider When Building or Renovating Your Home

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Home Siding and Shingle Options
1.31.17

We often clad our TBH&H traditional and transitional new homes in wood siding or shingles. These give each project a unique exterior pattern and texture, and open up opportunities for the details we love. We design horizontal bevel lap siding, ship-lap siding, shingles, vertical siding and board and batten siding.

Bevel Lap Siding

Bevel Lap Siding

Bevel lap siding is the most widely-used siding in the US. It naturally deflects rain and produces attractive shadow lines. We specify red cedar, a tight-grained, long-lasting material for the most durable siding in our homes. 

Cedar Shingles

Cedar Shingles Home Siding

We also recommend red cedar shingles. They are saturated with tannic acid — a natural preservative – although suppliers often pre-treat cedar shingles with creosote. Untreated red cedar tends to weather to a dark, rich look.  

We prefer to treat the shingles with bleaching oil. Composed of linseed oil and bleach crystals, the bleaching oil protects the shingles against decay, fungus and other coastal contamination. Contact with the elements activates the bleach crystals in the oil, causing the shingles to take on a natural, light gray color similar to the weathered look of white cedar.

Mildecide is a key agent in the bleaching oil, working against the blackening effect many red-cedar-shingled buildings undergo when left untreated. This blackening is a combination of mildew infestation and natural extractives in the wood. But treated with bleaching oil, the red cedar shingles weather naturally and evenly, while protected against discoloring mildew.

We recommend re-coating cedar shingles with bleaching oil every five years, depending on the severity of the weather. In return, they give us a beautiful, naturally weathered appearance for many years to come. 

Board and Batten Siding

Board & Batten Home Siding

Board and batten is a vertical siding created using wide boards spaced apart with narrower boards (battens) covering the joints. We prefer red cedar for this siding, too. These can be rough-sawn or smooth. There are no set board widths or batten spacings. A frequent combination is 1″x3″ battens and 1″x10″ boards.

This pattern can also be reversed - with boards installed over battens to create a deep channel effect. 

Patterns

Shingles & Home Siding Combination

We love variety! Sometimes we design siding or shingles with alternating rows of differing lengths. Shingles can be installed straight or staggered. 

Board and batten siding can show varying board widths. We also like to use larger boards and smaller-than-normal battens.  

Non-Wood Alternatives

Hamilton House w/ James Hardie Shingle Siding

Sometimes we specify non-wood siding products. When we do, we recommend the James Hardie Company.

James Hardie Shingles and Siding

In the mid-1980s, the James Hardie company invented fiber cement technology in Australia, and began designing and manufacturing a wide range of building products that utilized fiber cement's durability, versatility and strength. We often specify Hardie shingles in high-fire zones in California. Longevity is only one factor. Hardie products can bring savings on homeowner’s insurance, too, and are simple to install.

They can be stained with a water-based coating. But there would be little or no natural weathering effect with fiber cement. A key innovation in the mid-2000s was ColorPlus® Technology, which combines the advanced fiber cement formulation with a baked-on finish.

Recently James Hardie introduced Artisan Luxury Siding, a thicker, even more durable siding whose corners can be mitered. 

A brand-new addition to the Hardie line of cement fiber products is the Reveal® Panel System. We haven’t had the opportunity to use this siding yet – but we’re excited at the design possibilities!

Things to Consider

Home Siding Options

Whether red cedar or cement fiber, we specify high value for our TBH&H traditional and transitional homes. For example, fiber cement generally costs $3 to $4 per square foot for materials. Cedar siding can run $5 to $7 per square foot.

Keep in mind that the maintenance required with cedar siding adds thousands to the overall cost over the years. You will need to paint or stain cedar siding every 3-5 years, and periodically repair or replace the shingles or panels.

Both wood and fiber cement are a great choice for “green” siding.

Wood is biodegradable. It also requires less energy to produce than synthetic options, like vinyl siding. But make sure that the cedar you select isn’t from old-growth timber. Choose wood that has been certified by the Forest Service Council (FSC) to minimize impact on forests.

Fiber cement is made from inert materials (sand, cement, cellulose fibers, and water) that are sustainable and won’t release toxins into the environment. Some CO2 emissions occur during the production of fiber cement. But its durability also requires fewer resources for replacement and maintenance.

The siding decision for your home can be intimidating. We say: Find the look you want, determine your budget and ask your builder for the best choices for your region.

Then – let’s build!