Dutch lap siding is a type of building material used to finish and protect the exterior walls of a structure. This product consists of thin planks installed in overlapping horizontal rows. Compared to other types of siding, dutch lap has a unique profile that results in a distinctive design for the finished building. Products with this profile may also be known as cover siding or German lap siding in some regions.
Typical wall cladding features a square or beveled edge. When these planks are installed in overlapping rows, they create a traditional clapboard look, with each row projecting from the wall at a relatively deep angle. Dutch lap siding features a recessed curve at the top of each board in lieu of a square or beveled edge, which allows the row of material installed immediately above to fit more tightly against the wall. Part of the recessed area on each row remains visible after installation is complete, adding to the product's unique appearance.
Originally, siding of this type was manufactured from wood, with cedar and pine among the most popular species. Modern versions may be produced using alternate materials to keep costs or maintenance requirements low. Those looking to maximize the life of their siding can look for fiber cement boards with a dutch lap profile. Hardboard and vinyl versions offer a low-cost option, while aluminum and wood each provide their own benefits and drawbacks.
The width of each plank can vary by brand, as does the length and depth of the recessed curve. The profile of this curve also impacts how much of the recess remains visible after installation, known as the "reveal." Consumers can choose from both smooth and textured siding, with some products embossed to mimic the look of real wood grain. Both stained and painted varieties are available, and some can be finished in the field after installation to create a custom look.
Because of the recessed profile associated with dutch lap siding, homes clad with this material have a very different appearance than those clad with clapboard siding products. The tightly-placed rows of material, combined with the recessed curve, create a strong sense of shadows to help visually separate each row. The tightly-fit rows also help to improve water resistance and minimize mold or mildew. Most installers will find this siding to be just as easy to install as clapboard varieties, and some ambitious homeowners may even be able to install it themselves to cut costs.