Horizontal vs Vertical Sides: What You Need to Know - Innovative Building Materials (2023)

We've probably all seen the vertical lines that appear on the walls of some buildings and wondered what they are. We've also seen traditional horizontal siding in most homes. Although serving exactly the same purpose, the two materials differ in the way they are proposed, constructed and installed.

Horizontal vs Vertical Sides: What You Need to Know - Innovative Building Materials (1)

The first example describes vertical facings, usually in large sheets, while the second describes horizontal facings, usually in small pieces. Vertical fairings can be cumbersome and cumbersome, while horizontal fairings are usually light and easy to do.

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Today we are going to discuss the main differences between the two materials and try to provide some tips to help homeowners choose the best paneling for their home.

Which is better: horizontal or vertical side

The answer generally depends on the type of structure the siding will be used on and the budget available. To illustrate, vertical fairings are usually slightly cheaper than horizontal fairings, while horizontal fairings generally perform better than vertical fairings. Vertical trims are generally quicker to install than horizontal trims, but horizontal trims offer more options and styles.

Some siding materials look great on a house but look out of place in a storage building. Others look fairly plain and don't add much visual appeal to a home.

For most homeowners, the solution is to ask what the most important elements of the project are. Looks more important than function? Do you find regular maintenance too complicated? Is the budget too small or too generous? Once these questions are answered, the available options usually come into focus.

For the vast majority of homes with some type of siding, horizontal side siding tends to tick most boxes. Horizontal siding has been around for decades, just like vertical siding, but most consumers choose horizontal siding for homes. Whether it's to improve the appearance of vertical siding or to take advantage of the durability and low maintenance of horizontal siding, most consumers will spend the extra money and buy the horizontal version, especially in homes.

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This is not to say that vertical facades have no place in modern construction. In fact, vertical cladding is still widely used to solve a number of design issues, including cost and installation. Vertical cladding has the advantages of being easy to install, relatively inexpensive, durable, and regularly maintained.

Vertical siding is typically sold in 4 x 8 foot panels, making it one of the fastest siding materials to install per square foot. These panels contain 32 square feet of siding per panel and can usually be installed in minutes. Vertical siding can also be installed using simple carpenter's tools, making them a popular choice with DIYers.

Which one should I use in my home, horizontal or vertical paneling?

Both horizontal and vertical siding do a great job of protecting a home from the elements. While horizontal paneling is generally seen as more attractive, this may be due simply to a belief that vertical paneling is old technology and viewed by many as inferior.

That's really not true. In most cases, vertical panels are much more impact resistant and insulate better than horizontal panels. However, many homeowners simply prefer to trade extra durability and a small increase in R-value for a low-maintenance product.

Vertical siding is typically made from wood and wood products to create a strong, smooth, and durable siding that can last for years. The caveat, however, is that wood-based siding will need regular sealing and painting (every 10 years or so) or the material will quickly degrade in the elements.

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This sealing has to be done with quality exterior paint and sealers, which adds extra cost, not to mention the extra labor involved. Therefore, when comparing the total cost of ownership of the two products, vertical fairings are often more expensive than horizontal fairings.

However, just because a cladding product is installed horizontally does not mean that the cladding is low maintenance. While many horizontal siding materials, such as vinyl and aluminum, require very little maintenance, some products, such as fiber cement board and engineered siding, do not. For example, fiber cement siding requires as much maintenance as wood siding, is more expensive to install, and requires special tools and safety equipment just to work with the material.

Engineered paneling is generally a horizontal paneling product that combines wood products with resins and chemicals to improve its resistance to moisture and decay.

Typically pressure treated, these sidewalls are installed like fiber cement or hardboard siding, as opposed to vinyl siding or aluminum siding. This makes siding an increasingly popular choice for DIY enthusiasts, as standard carpentry tools are often sufficient to install the product.

Although the material is specifically designed to last, the periodic maintenance required must be factored into the total cost of ownership. However, wood siding is usually supplied pre-primed, which makes installing the product a bit quicker.


Can I install horizontal or vertical panels myself?

The average home handyman likely has the skills to install either horizontal or vertical siding, with the exception of fiber cement products. Fiber cement siding comes in horizontal and semi-vertical versions and these products require special training and safety equipment to work safely. Unless the owner has advanced skills and the necessary equipment, fiber cement siding is generally impractical for humans.

Most other siding products, such as T1-11 vertical siding, hardboard, engineered wood, vinyl, and aluminum are much easier to make yourself and are generally within the ability of the homeowner. However, it should be noted that installing siding can be dangerous as the project often requires power tools and ladders. Professionals generally do not recommend DIYers to attempt a two story siding project unless they are comfortable working on stairs and catwalks.

Average Cost Comparison: Horizontal Side x Vertical Side

Horizontal panels tend to require less labor to install due to their lightweight and flexible nature. Horizontal siding (especially vinyl and aluminum products) often costs as much or a little more than vertical siding. However, because these horizontal products are so much easier and quicker to install, the overall cost of the project they are used in is often lower.

  • Average horizontal curtain wall cost per square foot: $3.00 - $11.00
  • Average vertical curtain wall cost per square foot: $4.00 - $12.00

What should I consider before making a decision?


As with most building materials, the region from which cladding materials are sourced can affect cost. A house built in Tennessee will generally cost less than the same house built in Maine, so planning your material purchases as carefully as possible is time well spent.

Fortunately, most fairing products are made from common materials, so prices are influenced more by logistics than the actual material.

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As mentioned above, horizontal vinyl or aluminum panels are hard to beat for customers whose focus is on low maintenance. Conversely, for homeowners more concerned with stray baseballs than regular paint, vertical trims (like the T1-11) offer an extremely durable and impact-resistant finish.

Fiber cement siding was originally developed to address the lack of impact resistance compared to vinyl and aluminum products while providing the clean appearance of horizontal siding. However, as mentioned above, these materials need regular maintenance to remain durable.

Get the look you want with the design you need

There are literally hundreds of different types of horizontal and vertical trim. So many, in fact, that customers can easily become overwhelmed with the options available. The wise decision for most homeowners is to first decide what the project requires in terms of useful life, required maintenance, and appearance. Narrowing down the important elements of a project can provide insight into which materials to use where. The most important thing, however, is to choose a material that protects, looks good and lasts a long time.


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