Design Made Simple

What You Need To Know When Choosing Siding

Okay, you’ve decided on vinyl siding as the best choice for your home. Now you’ve got questions. Lots of them.

What color? Which style? These questions deal with the visual aspects of siding. You’ll find answers in Exterior Design, a look at how vinyl siding can enhance or improve your home’s appearance.

How well does it wear? What about high winds? Will it dent and scratch? These are questions that deal with siding performance. Given the numerous vinyl siding choices on the market, it’s difficult to distinguish clear differences in each one, but there are structural characteristics that can help you tell the merely adequate from the top performers. Here’s what to look for:

Locking System

What it is: Joins two panels together. Enables the siding to stay firmly in place and resist lifting up in strong winds. Creates a rigid beam along the panel to help span wall imperfections.

What to look for: A properly designed locking system should always allow the panel to slide freely within the lock.

Nailing Hem

What it is: The top edge of a panel that’s nailed to the wall.

What to look for: Elongated slots that allow the panel to slide on the nail and to expand or contract with weather extremes. For areas that experience high winds, insist on reinforced double hems designed to withstand hurricane-force winds.

Panel Thickness and Rigidity

Why it’s important: Thick, rigid panels with double nail rails provide greater wind resistance, withstand dents and lie flatter and straighter against the wall.

What to look for: Optimum panel thickness should be .040″ to .046″ depending on style and design. Thinner gauge works well for stable climates; thicker gauge is recommended for areas with high winds and extreme temperature changes.


What it is: Profile refers to the specific design and exposure size of a panel. Vinyl siding comes in a variety of shapes. Some have deeper overlaps or ridges, such as Dutchlap panels. Others are made to “sit” closer to the exterior wall surface for a slimmer profile, like Vertical panels, clapboard styles, and Wolverine Shakes and Shingles. There may appear to be little difference between profile choices when looking a small samples, but when installed on walls one or two stories high, the differences will be dramatic.

  • Shingles mimic the look of wood siding with square-edged vertical lines and the texture of cedar. They can be used on an entire home or for accent on larger homes for a spectacular visual contrast.
  • Traditional, also called clapboard style, is the profile most often chosen by homeowners. Each “board” appears to overlap the one below it, creating the look of wood siding. Traditional panels “set” closer to the exterior wall for a slimmer profile.
  • Dutchlap profiles are similar to bevel style, but with the addition of a sharply angled bevel directly underneath each “overlap.” This gives the siding softer shadow lines add a more distinctive look.
  • Board & Batten is created by using vertical boards with battens covering the seams. The alternating wide and narrow vertical panels combine a distinctive architectural design that can be used for whole-house application, or in combination with horizontal siding.
Traditional Clapboard
Dutch Lap
Board & Batten

What to look for: Consider more than one profile on your home, such as horizontal siding on the main area and a shake or board & batten accent in the gable. Your final decision for your siding profile is a matter of personal choice and your home’s architectural style. 


What it is: Finish refers to the texture of the panel. Typical finishes are brushstroke, woodgrain or cedar grain. Profile refers to the specific design and exposure size of a panel. Typical profiles are clapboard, dutch lap, beaded, vertical, and shakes and scallops.

What to look for: Both finish and profile are a matter of personal choice and your home’s architectural style.

Heartwood™ Pro
Board & Batten

Panel Projection

What it is: Panel projection is a measure of the distance a siding panel extends out from the wall. Projection affects panel performance, rigidity, and shadow line.

What to look for: A projection to give the look and shadow line you desire.

Formulation and Chemistry

What it is: Formulation and chemistry refer to the ingredients that make up the vinyl as well as how it is formed.

What to look for: High grades of impact modifiers, premium stabilizers and high concentrations of titanium dioxide ensure the best impact resistance, weathering and color retention. High temperature fusion and post formulation are manufacturing methods that produce stronger panels.

Windload Pressure

What it is: Measurement of how well a panel can be expected to perform in high wind areas.

What to look for: Negative windload pressure rating which determines actual windload capacity. Positive windload tests are not a true measure of windload pressure.

Color Quality

Why it’s important: Panels formulated with high quality ingredients retain color much longer and make matching panels during repairs or remodeling easier.

What to look for: Color that goes all the way through the panel. Avoid siding with a gray backing. Also avoid low quality fillers which can cause color fade and chalking.

TruColor® Technology

Wolverine siding with TruColor protection offers superior color retention and one of the industry’s best warranties. This exclusive color protection formula protects siding from fading or discoloring, ensuring that your home will always look its best.

It’s easy to see why Wolverine adds up to a better product in many ways.

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