Best Vertical Wood Siding Design Ideas

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Vertical wood siding designs are trending strongly. By running the siding vertically, the effect is a heightening appearance to the façade. There are lots of materials and techniques for vertical siding designs and installations. Check out some vertical wood siding design ideas for residential and commercial buildings here.

Garapa wood rainscreen vertical installation LaSalle University-1

Garapa wood rainscreen siding installed vertically in Philadelphia

Vertical Wood Siding Is Evolving with New Trends and Ideas

The up and down linear effect of vertical wood siding creates a unique visual appeal. It makes the home or building look taller. There are old and new materials that offer a larger palette of textures and looks for architects and designers. And there are new installation methods and systems for vertical siding design that work better than ever before. With all these new design options, vertical siding is back, and is continuing to evolve.

Vertical Siding Back in the Day

In the 1960’s and 70’s, Texture 1-11 plywood siding dominated residential construction for new homes. It was an exterior sheathing and siding all in one. With vertical lines and easy installation, T 1-11 siding was a low cost, budget friendly option for a vertical wood siding look. Slap on a coat of paint and you were good to go. Cheap, fast, and easy.

T1-11 plywood siding

Texture 1-11 siding was a low cost vertical siding solution in the 1970's

Cedar siding and other softwood sidings have been, and continue to be, staples for vertical siding designs. With the rustic look of a board and batten installation, the vertical wood siding look remains popular. Softwood species like cedar are also available in other traditional profiles. In addition to board and batten, shiplap siding, tongue and groove siding, nickel gap siding offer a unique look for vertical wood siding project designs.

Board and Batten siding design

Board and batten vertical softwood siding design

Traditional wood siding patterns and profiles for vertical wood siding designs look great on cottages, camps, hunting lodges, garages, studios, barns, and woodland homes. Board and batten and other traditional vertical wood siding profiles create an informal, warm and cozy appeal on many projects and designs where a rustic ‘woodsy’ look is needed.

Vertical Siding Trends Today

Modern architectural designs focus not only on looks, but especially, function, sustainability, and performance. The great look of vertical siding is apparent. Higher quality and longer-lasting siding materials are available. Better design and installation techniques, especially rainscreen designs, are now in play. Modern vertical siding designs are exploring the limits of using new materials, new methods, and new ideas to create unique designs. You can create elegant vertical siding facades, or whimsical, or informal vertical wood siding designs, and everywhere in between.


FSC Certified vertical hardwood siding rainscreen design on new Sandy Hook School in Connecticut

Vertical Wood Siding Material Options

In the past, wood siding material options for vertical siding designs were limited mostly to cedar and other softwood siding species. With the acceptance and adoption of rainscreen siding principles, the door was opened for non-typical wood siding species, especially hardwoods, for wood rainscreen designs.  Very strong, durable, and long-lasting hardwood species like Ipe, Garapa, Cumaru, Machiche, and Jatoba rose in popularity quickly. Pura NFC siding by Trespa is a premium 'wood look' vertical siding option, too.

Trespa Pura used vertically and horizontally

Pura NFC Siding by Trespa wood decors can be installed vertically or horizontally

Vertical Softwood Siding Ideas

Wood siding has an undeniable natural appeal. Western Red Cedar siding, installed vertically, looks beautiful. So do some pine or spruce siding options. With softwood sidings like cedar, pine, and spruce, they must be either painted or stained with a high-quality sealer. Maintaining the finish on any softwood siding is imperative to reduce the risk of rot and decay.

RELATED: Visit Vertical Siding Picture Gallery


Vertical Thermally Modified Wood Siding Ideas

Thermally modified wood siding presents a whole new range of options for vertical siding design and installation. Because the sugars have been ‘cooked’ out of thermally modified wood the new wood siding is very resistant to insects and decay. Thermally modified wood sidings last longer than the original wood and are exceptionally stable (less expansion and contraction).

Thermally modified hemlock siding vertical and horizontal edited

Thermally Modified Hemlock siding may be installed vertically or horizontally


RELATED: Thermally Modified Hemlock siding picture gallery

RELATED: Thermally Modified Hemlock siding information

Thermally modified wood siding can be designed and installed vertically or horizontally. Standard T&G wood siding profiles, or nickel gap and other traditional siding profiles work well with thermally modified wood siding species like Hemlock. Or you can build in the high-performance of a wood rainscreen system in your vertical wood siding design.

Mataverde thermally modified wood rainscreen siding on St Pete Pier in Florida

Thermally Modified Ash hardwood siding installed vertically on rainscreen project in Florida

RELATED: Thermally Modified Ash siding picture gallery

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Vertical Hardwood Rainscreen Siding Ideas

Hardwood siding materials like Ipe, Garapa, Machiche and Jatoba are very long-lasting vertical wood siding options. Because they are so hard and strong, hardwood siding installs best in a wood rainscreen siding design. This will save time and labor, and you have the benefit of a healthy rainscreen design that will allow your home or structure to ventilate properly.


Cumaru hardwood siding installed vertically in a rainscreen system on home in Queens, NY

RELATED: Cumaru hardwood rainscreen siding picture gallery

RELATED: Cumaru hardwood rainscreen siding information

Twenty years ago very few architects even considered the possibility of incorporating high-density hardwood siding into their exterior facade designs. With the growth of the sustainable design movement in architecture, rainscreen systems have made hardwood sidings, not only possible, but the preferred real wood cladding material.Rainscreen hardwood siding systems can be used for commercial or residential project designs, vertically or horizontally.

FSC Machiche Rain Screen vertical design

FSC Certified Machiche hardwood siding, installed vertically on apartment project in California

RELATED: Machiche hardwood rainscreen siding picture gallery

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Manzanita rainscreen vertical

Ipe hardwood vertical rainscreen siding design and installation on waterfront home in Oregon

RELATED: Ipe hardwood rainscreen siding picture gallery

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Garapa hardwood  vertical rainscreen copyright

Garapa hardwood siding vertical rainscreen design on building in California

RELATED: Garapa hardwood rainscreen siding picture gallery

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Looking for some more rainscreen siding ideas with hardwood siding for your cladding project?

DOWNLOAD any of our Wood Rainscreen Project Portfolios today:

Vertical Trespa Pura NFC Siding (HPL Siding)

Another ‘wood siding’ option isn’t a real wood siding at all, and it’s beautiful. Pura NFC Siding by Trespa is a high-pressure laminate siding material that looks beautiful and performs exceptionally well. Pura siding is manufactured to exacting tolerances to withstand hail, rain, snow, sleet, and UV rays.  

Trespa Pura vertical design for apartments  using multiple colors

Trespa Pura NFC vertical siding design using multiple wood decors

Pura siding is beautiful and is available in many wood decors that offer the allure of real wood in an easy to clean, low maintenance siding plank. Check out Pura NFC Siding colors and decors here.

Pura NFC Wood Decors-1

Vertical Wood Siding Installation Options

There are three basic techniques to install wood siding vertically.

  • The first installation method is to install the wood siding directly to the exterior sheathing of the home. This technique works best with an appropriate air and water barrier (AWB) barrier being the siding.
  • The second method is to install wood siding vertically over furring strips. This method takes a lot more labor, materials. Time, and planning.
  • The third vertical wood siding installation method uses appropriate rainscreen siding components.

Traditional Vertical Wood Siding Installation

To create a vertical wood siding installation with softwood siding, traditional wood siding installation techniques can be used. To help the siding remain a little drier (and last longer) you should place a weather resistive barrier with built in spacers behind the siding.


Vertical Wood Siding Installation with Furring Strips

Wood furring strips can be used to create a rainscreen gap behind wood siding. There are some limitations to the wood furring strip installation method, however, especially with vertical siding designs.


Here are some of the challenges you will face when using furring strips for vertical siding installation:

Single Layer of Furring Strips Vertical Siding Installation Method

One installation method option is to install furring strips horizontally directly to the exterior wall to create a fastening base for vertical siding. This method is time and labor and material intensive. This installation method typically costs about $2.00 per square foot extra.

The larger problem with this installation method is that if any water gets behind the siding, it will stay there, trapped on top of your horizontal furring strips. This can create a moisture trap behind your siding. With no place for the moisture to go, the moisture, mold, decay and rot process has begun.

Double Layer of Furring Strips Vertical Rainscreen Siding Installation Method

Another installation option is to create a complicated matrix of furring strips. To avoid water collecting behind your rainscreen siding, you would first install a row of furring strips vertically to your exterior wall. Now any water that makes it past your siding has a place to go. Now you must add another row of furring strips horizontally, to create fastening points for your vertical siding.

complicated web of furring strips are required for a vertical wood siding layout

A double layer of vertical furring strips for rainscreen siding installation has some limitations

The biggest drawbacks to the double layer of furring strips for vertical siding installation method are twofold. First, you just doubled the labor time, cost, and material expense to create your fastening points for the vertical siding. This will typically add $4.00 per square foot to your installation cost.

The second major problem is that you also doubled the depth of your rainscreen gap. If you used ¾” thick furring strips, you have created a 1-1/2” rainscreen gap (wall cavity) behind your siding. Since your siding now sits further off your exterior wall assembly, you may have created extra work for yourself necessitating the need building window and door returns.

RELATED: Are Wood Furring Strips for Rainscreens a Bad Design Idea?

Rainscreen Vertical Wood Rainscreen Siding Installation Method

A far better design and installation solution for vertical wood rainscreen is to use a rainscreen system that does not require furring strips. Most of the rainscreen assembly products on the market require the use of wood furring strips. The Climate-Shield rainscreen system does not require furring strips


The Climate-Shield Rainscreen System is ideal for vertical wood rainscreen siding designs and installation.

A well designed wood rainscreen provides a high-performance wall assembly that allows the structure to ventilate and ‘breathe’ better. This helps the siding last longer and the entire home or structure to perform at a high level. For vertical wood siding installations, the Climate-Shield rainscreen system will save lots of time and labor costs. And as a bonus, this rainscreen assembly performs effectively as a pressure equalized rainscreen system that dries out quickly and ventilates properly.

RELATED: Best Way to Install Wood Rainscreen Siding Vertically

In terms of performance and ease of installation, nothing compares to the Climate-Shield Rainscreen Siding System, especially for vertical siding installations. The Climate-Shield rainscreen clips fasten directly over the weather resistive barrier to exterior plywood or OSB. The result is a ¾” rainscreen gap, which is considered the ideal depth to keep your wall assembly dry and properly ventilated. Save money, labor, time and aggravation.

DOWNLOAD Climate-Shield Vertical Wood Siding Installation Guidelines

DOWNLOAD Climate-Shield Vertical Pura NFC Siding Installation Guidelines

Looking for more vertical wood rainscreen siding ideas and design inspiration?

Download any of our newest Wood Rainscreen Project Portfolios today.

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