Vinyl vs. Clapboard Siding – Pros & Cons when it comes to price, installation and ecofriendliness !

The exterior of your home is just as important as the interior. This is the first impression people will have of your living conditions. People judge the values of homes off of their curb appeal, and so we are here to help you decide on the right siding to create a lasting and valuable home curb appeal.

When homeowners are picking out a material to use for their home’s exterior, the two most common material choices would be vinyl and clapboard “traditional” siding.

Clapboard siding is known as “lap” siding and also wood plank or beveled wood siding. It is indisputable that vinyl is the #1 material in the US. Since it is a low cost, incredibly versatile, and low maintenance material, homeowners love to use this siding on their homes. However, with everything else, vinyl and clapboard have their advantages and their disadvantages, and we’ll get into that below.

Vinyl vs. Clapboard siding
Vinyl versus Clapboard siding (also called traditional)


Vinyl.vs Clapboard  – Which Siding is Right For Your Home?

To better help you make the right decision for your home siding, we have provided some information below on the pros and cons and costs of both vinyl and clapboard siding. We’ll take a look at vinyl siding first since it is the number one seller in the US and go into clapboard siding last.

Vinyl vs. Clapboard Siding Price – Which is more expensive?

Vinyl can cost anywhere from $2 to $7 per square foot. The expectation for paying for material and installing is around $6,000 to $13,000 for an average two-story home.

Vinyl siding is a pretty strong option and luckily comes in a bunch of different colors and textures. Since the color is baked throughout the material, any bumps, dents, or scratches will not show up. Often homeowners would have vinyl siding  installed straight over their current materials because it is that lightweight, being a sought-after option. Since it is straightforward to handle, installing vinyl siding can be done quickly, saving the homeowner tons of labor costs.

Clapboard siding costs anywhere from $5 to $8 per square foot. The expectation of cost plus the labor is an average of $14,000 to $23,000 for an average two-story house.

Clapboard is a type of wood siding that often comes in long, narrow planks and is a classic, easy to install, aesthetically desirable wood siding. When professionally installed, the clapboard is placed horizontal and overlapping. You can choose from various types of wood to be used and finishes for an aesthetic look, such as rustic, natural, or modern.

Pros of Vinyl Siding

  • Since this type of siding is created out of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), it is a low cost/budget friendly material.
  • Vinyl siding is profoundly versatile because it can be transformed/designed to look like a dutch lap, beaded, shingles, verticle, and even decorative siding.
  • Vinyl siding is low maintenance, meaning any dirt, dust, or debris will be quickly washed away by some rain or watering down with a hose. You also won’t have to repaint this siding because it is 100% baked through. The color of your vinyl siding on top runs all the way through.

Cons of Vinyl Siding

  • Vinyl siding is often looked at as a plastic type of material and is disliked by some due to its non-environmentally friendly aspects.
  • Often times is easy to install but installed poorly, and so you can notice the seams adamantly.
  • Since vinyl siding is looked at as a less admirable material, it can lower your home’s value.

Pros of Clapboard Siding

  • Since clapboard is a naturally produced, sustainable product, it is relatively easy to install.
  • Wood clapboard siding can last for multiple decades.

Cons of Clapboard Siding

  • Depending on the type of wood, clapboard siding can be expensive
  • Since the clapboard is natural wood, there is a higher level of maintenance to avoid damages.

Eco-Conscious Reasons Behind Vinyl and Clapboard Siding

Vinyl is primarily made up of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and it is essential to note that the manufacturing process is incredibly grim to our environment. It produces harmful greenhouse gases such as nitrogen oxide, dioxin, and sulfur dioxide. When vinyl siding ages, those exact same toxic chemicals are released at a low ever-growing rate. Since there are so many chemicals used in PVC that if a home catches on fire, the vinyl siding will release remarkably high levels of lethal fumes.

Clapboard siding can be more environmentally friendly than vinyl siding if you install locally sourced wood clapboard. Knowing where your materials come from is the best first step to getting siding for your home. Frequently the type of wood available for clapboard will be what is around in the forest areas near your home. Wood species that are common for clapboard are cedar, pine, oak, and spruce. Since wood is a renewable material, it is a preferred material for those considering a more sustainable exterior shell for their home.

How to Switch From Clapboard Siding to Vinyl Siding

If you are considering a switch from wood clapboard siding to vinyl siding, consider the basic steps we mention below. It is possible to install vinyl over clapboard siding without removing it; it just requires a considerable amount of preparation or learn how to remove clapboard siding yourself.

Since you need to inspect the existing wood clapboard, the first thing is to uncover the exterior walls completely, so remove all window and door frames, corners, and trimmings. Make sure there is no mold or rot and replace any clapboards that may have it. When installing vinyl over wood clapboard, vinyl siding has to be installed on a flat, smooth surface. It is also best to check and see if the clapboard siding has become warped from moisture or lapped; if so, you will need to level it with some vertical furring. If you do not have a moisture barrier installed already, you will have to install one made from polyethylene or a similar material.

Various Styles of Clapboard Siding

While a majority of the types of clapboard siding use cedar as their main component, there are some slight variations between styles that can make a massive difference. It’s important that you pick the perfect type of clapboard siding for your region. One type of clapboard could work better in wet climates whereas another fits dry regions best.

Here are 5 of the most popular styles of clapboard. Do not forget to see other modern clapboard siding ideas.

Clear Cedar

This type of siding is one of the best quality available. It uses a tight vertical grain and a semi-transparent stain to really emphasize the natural beauty of the cedar material. The compact nature of this siding allows for warping prevention which keeps your house looking great for years.

clear cedar vs. rustic cedar

Pre-Primed Clear Cedar

This is just like the above type of clapboard, but it has been coated with a primer which removes a step of installation. You won’t have to worry about priming your cedar before painting it to match your home’s style. The same durability exists, even with the primer on.

Cedar Ayes

This type of siding is much less compact. The boards offer a more natural look with less vertical grain visible. The quality of the clapboard siding is still high, but it’s regarded as a more mid-tier type of siding. It’s easy to paint and prime and can last you for years to come.


Rustic Cedar

This style of clapboard siding brings out the natural grain and look of the cedar materials being used. It’s much less stylized and reverts back to its natural look which can be great if you’re going for that look. These typically come with a semi-transparent stain.


The pine clapboards are the least expensive of the bunch, but it’s because they’re the least weather resistant. Pine clapboards still offer that neat, natural look that cedar ones do, but they come with much more maintenance requirements.

Wood vs. clapboard siding

Standard wood siding can be quite heavy and costly to install. With the right wood, you could be getting a solid external protection from the elements, but some woods expand contract to the point where they warp. Clapboard siding eliminates that fear of warping while providing the same protection from the elements.

Dutch lap vs. clapboard siding

The main difference between Dutch lap and clapboard siding is the style of the boards. Dutch lap extends and provides a shadow over the board underneath it whereas clapboard is flat.

Where to Buy Clapboard

Quality clapboard can be bought throughout much of North America. Wherever cedar and pine mills are abundant, you’ll be able to find quality clapboard for an affordable price. Major retailers like Home Depot or Lowes also have clapboard siding available to buy. It’s one of the most accessible natural siding materials in North America.

If there is no clapboard siding available near you, you might be able to order some from a distributor and have it delivered to you, but the prices will skyrocket once shipping gets involved. Installation will also be on a regional basis as you might have clapboard available to you, but no business who offers clapboard installation or repairs.

Final Thoughts

In general, we are happier and content with life if we surround ourselves with a pleasant environment that suits us. So choose wisely the material that best suits you and your lifestyle that blends well with your house’s design.

My name is Donald and I am the main author of this little page. I love working around the houses during the day and writing articles about house improvement in the evening. If you have any questions, just ask in the comments! If you need professional siding services use the form.


  1. Why did you not include a paragraph about how to switch from Vinyl Siding to Clapboard siding? That is what we want to do. Thank you for this post about Vinyl vs Clapboard — particularly the paragraph about Eco-Conscious reasons to choose clapboard.


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