Siding Choices

By Dan Gregory

The architect of this contemporary cabin shows how it might look with horizontal or vertical wood siding. Plan 924-3

The siding on a house determines much of its character and is closely related to architectural style, though some material choices might not affect the overall style at all.

It's possible to change the character of a house simply by altering its siding material, as shown at the top of this post

and in these two images, which are all versions of 2 bedroom 1 bath Plan 924-3.  Thanks to the simple one story profile and shed roof, the design reads as contemporary no matter what siding is used. Some houses might have more than one siding treatment, as shown in our 3 bedroom 2.5 bath Ranch style

Flexahouse Plan 445-4. Here it is in stucco and horizontal wood siding where the stucco is only used on the garage as an accent. The diagram for the same plan shows possible elevations

in stucco, shingle, and board-and-batten wood siding, and combinations of all three materials. So there are lots of ways to give the same plan a different look!

Here are some examples of how a plan's siding and exterior treatments reinforce a particular architectural style.

Mediterranean. Smooth or integrally colored stucco or plaster walls and a tile roof, often with stone accents,

arcades or loggias, and classical columns express this style, as shown in 3 bedroom 2.5 bath Plan 930-12

Modern. Smooth white plaster walls (and a flat roof) are also often associated with the Modern style, as shown

here in 3 bedroom 2 bath Plan 552-5. Sources include the International style promoted by architects like le Corbusier in the 1920s.

Craftsman. A variety of materials and features express this very popular style, including wood, stucco, and even brick and stone, but all express a straightforward hand-crafted approach. Three bedroom 2 bath Plan 461-7 is a good example of a

Craftsman bungalow, and this plan also offers different front looks including full gable, double gable, or a hipped roof.

Shingle. It's a version of the Craftsman style, as shown below in 4 bedroom 2 bath Plan 479-11. Shingles lend a natural woodsy

character, even if they are made of fiber cement, which is a durable, weather and fire resistant alternative to cedar or redwood.

Contemporary. Horizontal board siding (also often made of cementitious material) gives a crisp contemporary look, especially if the corners are carefully expressed as shown here.


Ranch. Board-and Batten siding suits a rustic ranch house with a long living porch, as shown in 2 bedroom 2 bath Plan 508-1.


European styles, like English Tudor.  Brick and stone (often used as veneers) along with what's called half-timbering are often 

associated with traditional residential architecture, as in Plan 454-25.

For more siding examples, browse our Design Styles. For a collection of plans with multiple elevation choices, which can help you see how designs can be customized, click here.

Tue Jul 18 00:00:00 PDT 2017