Vinyl Siding Profiles: A Complete Design Guide

Posted on January 26, 2018 within

Vinyl Siding Profiles: A Design Guide

Vinyl siding comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors to help you design the perfect look for your project. It is one of the most versatile siding products on the market today. Keep in mind that most vinyl siding profiles are intended to emulate the look of traditional wood siding products. Depending on your part of the country, some profiles may be more popular than others in your area.

For instance, you may see a lot of shake and shingle siding in New England, beaded vinyl in the South, and vertical siding profiles in the West and Midwest.  Of course, no design is exclusive to a geography, and mixing of materials and profiles across the United States has become extremely popular.

If you’re new to the world of siding, or are just looking for some design inspiration, this guide will provide important characteristics of each vinyl siding profile available today. We will cover:

Vinyl Siding Profiles

  • Clapboard
  • Dutchlap
  • Beaded
  • Vertical
  • Shake Vinyl Siding
  • Shingle and Scallop Vinyl Siding
  • Log Siding

Vinyl Siding Profiles

Clapboard Vinyl Siding

Clapboard profiles are very similar to traditional wood siding, featuring straight faces and crisp edges. The clapboard profile supposedly originated when Native Americans shaped timber from the land which they built their dwellings on.

You may hear clapboard siding referred to as single 6”, double 4”, triple 3”, and other profiles. Single, double, or triple refers to the number of courses, or rows, per panel of siding. The number refers to the height of each course.

For instance, a double 6 clapboard vinyl siding is two courses high, with each course measuring 6” tall. Below is a list of popular Clapboard profiles:

Photo Credit: Vinyl Siding Institute

Dutchlap Vinyl Siding

The dutchlap siding profile originated in northern Europe, although it was made popular in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States during the days of early settlers.

This profile is a popular alternative to clapboard, featuring strong shadow lines created by the  curve at the top of each course.

Similar to clapboard, dutchlap vinyl siding is categorized by how many courses on a panel, and the height of those courses. Below are popular profiles of dutchlap vinyl siding.

Photo Credit: Vinyl Siding Institute

Beaded Vinyl Siding

Beaded vinyl siding is similar to the clapboard profile, but it features an additional rounded bead at the bottom of each course. This bead enhances the shadow line created by each course, and originated in the southern United States. This profile was popular on buildings constructed in the south prior to 1800, and maintains its popularity in the region today.

The most popular profiles of beaded vinyl siding are single 6”, single 6.5”, and single 7”.

Vertical Vinyl Siding

Vertical vinyl siding, also referred to as board and batten, has been one of the fastest growing profiles in the United States in recent years. Vertical siding designs date back to medieval times, and were deep rooted in the design traditions of the Midwest, mountain regions, and West Coast of the U.S.

Vertical siding alternates wide and narrow panels, the wide portion being the “board” and the narrow portion being the “batten”. Although generally used as a accent, vertical siding can be used in whole house applications.

The most popular vertical siding profiles are board and batten 6”, 7”, and 8”.

Shake Vinyl Siding

Originating in the Northwest and East coasts of the United States, hand split cedar shakes were used to protect early homes from the harsh environment of the seaboard. Today, shakes are used to achieve a natural look, and have become very popular in accents on gables and other sections of the home, or as a whole house application.

Using vinyl siding shakes provides the same rugged beauty of hand-cut cedar shakes, without the ongoing maintenance hassles. Shake siding typically features two types of edges:  staggered, which has varying lengths to create a more rustic look, or straight, with all shakes being one length for a more crisp appearance.

Popular profiles of shake siding are:

Photo Credit: Vinyl Siding Institute

Shingle Vinyl Siding

Various profiles of shingle siding gained popularity in the northeastern United States during the late 19th century. Shingles come in a wide range of profiles, and are typically used as accents in gables or dormers.

The name of the shingle profile typically refers to the shape that it emulates. Rounded scallops, hexagon, octagon, fish scale, and mitered corner are all popular shingle vinyl siding profiles.

Log Siding

Vinyl siding has been made to emulate many different profiles of wood siding, so why not the rustic log cabin as well? Although a less popular option than dutchlap or clapboard, log shaped vinyl siding has been used in many applications where true log cabin construction is not feasible, but the appearance is desired.

Popular Home Designs & the Siding Profiles Used

You may be confident in selecting the right profile of vinyl siding for your project, or you may be looking for some inspiration. Below are some samples of home styles, and the profiles that are used to create the desired appearance.


Most Popular Profiles: Dutchlap, clapboard, vertical siding (board and batten), shake

Accents: Shingles, shake

Cape Cod

Most Popular Profiles: Clapboard and shake

Accents: Scallops

French Colonial

Most Popular Profiles: Dutchlap and Clapboard, sometimes shake


Most Popular Profiles: Clapboard and beaded

Federal / Adam

Most Popular Profiles: Clapboard, beaded, shake

Greek Revival

Most Popular Profiles: Clapboard


Most Popular Profiles: Clapboard

Accents: Beaded soffit

Queen Anne

Most Popular Profiles: Clapboard and shingle

Accents: Half rounds, shingle, vertical siding (board and batten)

Folk Victorian

Most Popular Profiles: Clapboard

Accents: Shingle, half rounds, fish scale, scallops

Aside from the primary and accent siding profiles, the accessories you choose will have a huge impact on the overall appearance of the home. There is an extensive list of accessories available on the market today to create a unique design.

Sarah Carey :