What is Lap Siding?

If selected and installed correctly, the siding on a home can outlast those living in it. That’s why choosing the right siding for a home is incredibly important to not only its looks but also the durability and energy efficiency of the overall home.

Siding for homes comes in a large variety of different styles and materials, so installers should expect to answer questions as to what exactly they’re looking for. The most common style and technique of siding a home is lap siding.

Lap siding is a siding design style and technique where the exterior of the home is clad in overlapping boards. Lap siding is a popular and efficient approach to protecting home exteriors from water damage and inclement weather, as the overlapping technique and the composite material of the lap siding prevent water from seeping through the siding and damaging the home.

Dutch, Horizontal or Clapboard Lap Technique

The traditional lap siding technique known as Dutch, horizontal and clapboard lap siding all function from the same overlapping principle, but vary in the size and shape of the material being utilized.

This type of siding technique utilizes planks that are slightly thicker on the bottom than the top which forms a watertight seal and is typically installed horizontally, from the bottom up, which also creates the techniques signature appearance.

Shiplap Technique

A popular, yet less standard siding technique, is ship-lapping which creates the effect of a smoother facade where the siding boards appear to be aligned, one against the other.

A tongue and groove system is typically used to create that effect, similar to hardwood floor or wood paneling installations. The technique generates the watertight seal of the standard lap siding with a smoother, more even appearance.

The shiplap technique has become popular with installers looking to utilize the technique in a more contemporary way because of its cleaner lines. When utilized with architectural panels, installers can create a variety of home exterior looks that add depth and a layer of artistic design to one’s home

Fiber Cement

Lap siding is a tried and true design and technique that has been implemented in roofing and siding projects since before the days of composite material. However, today, fiber cement lap siding provides the proven durability and longevity of the lap siding technique, without the environmental inefficiency and vulnerability to weather and moisture damage of non-composite materials.

Fiber cement lap siding is manufactured in a variety of different colors, styles, and textures and can even mimic traditional siding materials like wood or stucco. Regardless of the style chosen, however, fiber cement lap siding is proven to reduce home heating and cooling costs and stand the test of time, weather, moisture, and insect.

That being said, fiber cement is extremely expensive and not as energy efficient as many other superior options, such as vinyl siding. You also don’t have many options when it comes to color and style.

Installation and Specifications

Lap siding is typically installed from the bottom up to ensure the overlapping effect of the siding material and water resistance of the technique itself. Boards utilized in the lap siding technique, like most siding boards, are manufactured and designed to overlap.

The difference between lap siding boards and more traditional siding boards is the angle of the bevel on lap siding boards. The angle is steeper, which allows for an exterior free of troughs and cracks, and a greater overall all visual appearance.

A single board of lap siding is manufactured with a “wedge” profile when viewed from the side. Installing the board requires the narrow end of the wedge to be positioned up so it fits under the broad end of the wedge of the next overlapping board.

By overlapping the siding from the top down, the installer is creating a watertight seal in which rain water rolls down and over the siding and not into cracks are partitions afforded by other siding methods.

installing vinyl lap siding

Dutch horizontal lap siding is manufactured in a variety of textured board styles which have been proven to perform and outshine siding techniques used on less contemporary homes.

The size and width of the siding vary from project to project, installer to installer, however, the standard size is 5-¼ inch and can range all the way to 12 inches in width and are typically sold in 12-foot lengths.

Varying the widths of the boards used can create a different look for the exterior of the home. Homes conforming to the “beach” or “ranch” style utilize this method. Mixing and matching widths of the siding can create different looks as well. Some installers have been known to mix lap siding with board and batten or shingle siding to produce a variety of artistic and architectural effects.


It’s important to read and understand the lap siding manufacturer’s installation requirements before beginning a project as getting it wrong can be a costly mistake.

It’s also important to thoroughly consider the type of the home undergoing the installation process. Types of homes can range from; contemporary, colonial, cape-cod style, ranch, bungalow, victorian, and more.

Fiber cement siding is heavy and not the easiest material to install when compared to other siding materials. This is due to the materials durable design to withstand weather damage.

As a result, fiber cement sidings installation demands are much greater and require an installation crew and considerably more time and effort. These cost factors are typically included in the price of installation and account for much of the total cost.

Lap Siding is a Great Option for All Homeowners

The question as to whether lap siding is worth it is yes. Lap siding adds value to a home. often raising the total home value to more than the original asking price. Any costs accumulated through the installation process can be considered investments that will only grow, as the value of the house, and the savings from avoiding costly repair from other sidings only grows.

All of Feldco’s premium vinyl siding is considered lap siding. It’s also extremely durable, energy efficient and comes in many different styles. Get a free quote now and get started on your replacement siding project today.

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