Since Vinyl Siding was introduced in the late 1950’s, it has become North America’s number one exterior cladding material, leading to many advances in its performance, durability and profile design. While a lot of emphasis is placed on the durability of vinyl, the aesthetics of vinyl are also very important. The profile of siding can dramatically alter the look of your home’s exterior. Choosing the right profile depends on personal preference and the architectural style of the home.

Here is a brief breakdown of the various types of vinyl siding profiles available:

Traditional or Clapboard Siding: For A Traditional Look

Before the introduction of industry manufactured vinyl siding, clapboard siding was produced by splitting wooden boards into thin strips, which could be installed onto the side of a home to protect it from the elements. The overlapping design allowed the wood to expand and contract as the weather changed and it provided protection from rain and snow by forcing precipitation to run off the side of the structure instead of penetrating it and causing damage. Today clapboard siding is made out of vinyl, or PVC, and is available in single, double or triple row profiles with varied heights to choose from.

Dutch Lap: For An American Colonial or Northern European Look

First popularized in the American Colonial era, the main difference between Dutch lap siding and traditional clapboard is that Dutch lap features a beveled edge, which creates a shadowed appearance. This feature allows the siding to present the look and feel of a hand carved surface and has become a popular alternative to the standard clapboard design.

Beaded:  For a Traditional or Southern Colonial Look

Beaded siding provides very dramatic shadow lines and replicates the handcrafted bead that was originally produced in hand-milled, beaded cedar planks found on Southern Colonial homes. This profile is usually produced with subtle wood-grain texture in a low-gloss finished that results in a very sophisticated architectural design.

Board and Batten or Vertical: For a Modern or Traditional Look

Original board and batten siding was a combination of wide vertical boards with narrow wooden strips called battens that were installed over all of the seams. The modern vinyl version of this profile is made with the board and batten manufactured together on a single piece of siding to give a more uniform design.

Replica Shakes: For a Rustic or a Natural Wood Look

Vinyl and other polypropylene shakes offer the authentic appearance of rugged, hand-cut cedar.

Replica shakes are engineered to reproduce the appearance of traditional wood. These thick panels have the same varied texture and deep wood grains just like traditional cedar shake. Installing replica shakes over an entire exterior or on smaller areas including gables, dormers or window bays can provide luxurious architectural detail to any home.

For an idea of what your home could look like with any or all of these siding profiles installed, upload a photo to Mitten’s free exterior design program enVISION it and start creating some curb appeal today. You can also look at all of Mitten's exterior building products by downloading our free Product Showcase.