What is Lap Siding?

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Houses can be sided or clad in a number of different styles and materials. One of the most common and popular methods for siding a home, however, involves some type of lap siding. Homeowners who are looking to reside their homes are likely to hear the term come up, possibly even in a few different ways including, “Horizontal lap”, “Dutch lap”, “clapboard”, and even “shiplap”. While there are some variations in style – and in installation in a few cases – most types of lap siding are very similar to one another.

Horizontal Dutch Lap Siding

By far the most common form of siding for most homes is the horizontal or Dutch lap. Sometimes referred to as clapboard siding, horizontal lap siding involves long, even planks of siding that are a little thicker at the bottom than they are at the top. This type of siding is meant to overlap from the top downward, which creates a watertight seal for your home, keeping out the elements.

Horizontal lap siding is typically installed from the bottom up. Each subsequent row is installed on top of the previous, creating the unique texture that is so instantly recognizable.

Horizontal lap siding can be found in a number of different sizes of boards, which can give you a few different types of look for your home. The most common is a 5-1/4-inch width board, but you can also find lap siding in 6-1/4, 7-1/4, 8-1/4, 9-1/4, and 12-inch widths. Remember that because the planks overlap one another slightly, your siding will actually appear to be slightly narrower than it actually is. The boards are typically sold in 12-foot lengths to give you the ability to wrap your house in the siding easily with as few seams as possible going around the house.

Using different widths of siding can help produce a variety of different looks for your home, such as using a wider siding for beach or Country homes.

Horizontal lap siding can be found with both a highly textured board, such as fiber cement’s cedar-look planks, or with a smoother, more matte appearance, which works well on more contemporary style homes. While lap siding is inherently traditional in style, using a smooth-textured board in contemporary colors on a home with very clean lines can actually produce a more modern look as well.

In some cases, you may want to mix widths of your siding to create a variety of different looks as well. Just like some homeowners may mix lap siding with board and batten or shingle siding to produce different looks, you can also get several different effects from using a combination of wider and narrower boards in different finishes.

Shiplap Siding

A slightly less common, but still very popular siding type is the shiplap. Unlike Dutch lap, which overlays the bottom of one board onto the top of another, ship lap siding gives the appearance or the illusion of boards that are butted right up against one another. This creates a much cleaner, smoother surface for the exterior of your home.

Shiplap siding is actually incredibly popular both outside and inside your home, with many older homes utilizing shiplap on the interior walls rather than more traditional plaster or more contemporary drywall. Shiplap has been making a comeback of late thanks to some recent exposure on HGTV, with more and more homeowners beginning to opt for this look both inside and out.

Shiplap is typically installed using a tongue and groove system, a little bit like a hardwood or laminate floor would be installed. This helps to produce the same watertight seal that horizontal or Dutch lap would produce, but with a cleaner, sleeker look.

Shiplap is actually a fairly traditional style, but because of its cleaner lines a lot of homeowners will use it on more contemporary homes as well. It mixes well with architectural panels, allowing you to get a variety of looks on your home’s exterior, which in turn can add a lot of depth and interest to your house’s façade.

Fiber Cement Lap Siding

Fiber cement lap siding has all of the good looks of traditional wood sidings, as well as a wide range of different widths and colors. Available in 28 different solid colors and stains, as well as in both cedar and smooth boards, you can get the look you want for you home, but with the durability of fiber cement. Unlike traditional wood lap, fiber cement is insect, moisture, wind, and rain resistant, requiring less maintenance to keep your home looking its best.

Side Your Home

Whichever style of lap siding you choose to install on your home, consider making the switch to fiber cement to get the best of both worlds – the beauty and tradition of lap siding with the durability and low maintenance care of fiber cement. Make the switch and side your home in beauty today.

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