Vinyl siding shakes: How to get the look of wood without the problems.


Though shakes are often used as roofing material, they can also add a great deal of textural interest when used as siding. Wood shakes are hand-split from blocks of wood, and therefore are not perfectly flat on either side. Vinyl shakes have the advantages of having a flat bottom-side for secure installation and better protection from wind and water penetration and the outside face has a deep, rustic grain pattern created by the shake's thick cross-section. Shingles, on the other hand, have a definite sawn, or grain pattern, but it is less pronounced because of the shingle's thinner, flatter profile.

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Using vinyl siding shakes

Shakes are chosen for their textural, woodsy, and rough look, as well as for the deep shadows they give.

Typical applications include:

  • Cottages, cabins, and even contemporary homes use shakes for complete exteriors.
  • Triangular gables can be covered with vinyl siding shakes as a contrast to the main exterior of the home, which could be clad with shingles, masonry, board and batten, or other choices.
  • Vinyl siding shakes will add interest to the front facade of urban houses above a stone or brick veneer. Of course, this treatment can wrap the entire house.
  • A second story may use vinyl shakes, while the lower story can be masonry, stucco, or other choices.

Colors and shapes

  • There are many colors to choose from. While most are soft and earthy, you can also find colors that or more weathered for an antiqued look or brighter or a more modern feel.
  • Shapes include hand-split with a straight bottom edge, or staggered to create an uneven bottom edge and shadow pattern.

Pricing

Vinyl siding shakes are sold by 100 square foot units called "squares." Ballpark prices per square range from $225 for 7" high shakes to around $335 for 10" shakes. The immediate savings of vinyl over wood shakes is increased in the long-run by freedom from maintenance, termites, and rot.

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