Why Do Beach Houses Have Wood Siding?

Beach houses are required to survive some of the toughest weather conditions known to man. Because of this, the materials utilized in these structures must be able to withstand these harsh conditions and perform efficiently.

Wooden siding was first employed on coastal houses because it was thought to be the most effective way to protect the building from harsh weather. Wooden siding is regarded as a long-lasting, visually beautiful material that can resist harsh coastal conditions.

Despite the fact that shingles were originally utilized for their weather-resistant features, they have remained popular and have become something of a tradition in coastal locations.

Why Do Beach Houses Have Wood Siding? 

When building in a seaside environment, it’s critical that the materials used in the construction allow the building to work with nature rather than against it. Beach houses must be comfortable and livable all year, regardless of the weather.

The mixture of salt water and sand, as well as wind, will swiftly damage painted surfaces along the seaside. This restricts the kind of materials that can be utilized, especially when finding materials that require little to no upkeep.

Wooden shingles will not only endure the elements, but they will also age and weather naturally over time,  gradually improving their appearance.

Shingles require little care and can endure intense UV rays, as well as the extreme humidity and strong winds that are common in coastal areas.

Another reason for the widespread usage of wooden shingles in coastal areas of the United States is because Cedar trees (from which the bulk of timber shingles are made) are abundant in these places, making it a very cost-effective, locally produced material.

Furthermore, Cedar has a high level of “built-in” weather resilience, is easy to repair, and responds well to oil-based treatments. The shingles are efficiently weatherproofed without the need for painting or repainting as a result of this. This makes it more appealing for use in coastal environments.

Wood shingles, which are commonly used in the roofing and siding of Cape Cod homes, have become the go-to material for siding in these areas. Shingles were originally used to defend these dwellings from the severe winters of New England, but they have now evolved into a low-maintenance alternative to regular siding. 

Disadvantages of Wood Siding

Wood siding, such as Cedar shingles, are more expensive than asphalt shingles in most cases. Wood fungus, which grows in wet areas of the building and eventually causes the timber to rot, is another common occurrence with timber shingles.

Wood shingles must be treated with a clear timber preservative at least every three years, despite it being a low-maintenance material. This ensures that the wood ages evenly and slowly without becoming destroyed.

While cedar shingles are the longest lasting of all natural timber shingles, they do have some restrictions.

Homeowners may be confident that their timber shingles will survive for decades if they are put correctly and maintained properly. Unfortunately, installation is frequently flawed, and upkeep is frequently neglected, causing the wood to decay in particular locations.

Certain exposed parts, such as those near the ground or those around doors and windows, are prone to decaying. Painting or staining must be done in order to prevent this, and it must be done on a regular basis.

This care is necessary not only to prevent moisture from becoming an issue, but also to maintain the building’s beauty.

It’s also important to think about the environmental impact of using cedar wood. It can have a considerable environmental impact if the wood used is not obtained from sustainable plantations. The necessity for replacement every 15 years or so also means that the carbon footprint of the building is greatly enhanced due to the demand for material replacement.

Depending on upkeep and climate considerations, good quality cedar shingles can last up to 30 years, although tiny pieces may need to be replaced after only 10 years. For homeowners, the obligation to replace the complete building façade every two or three decades can be considered as a big disadvantage.

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Alternatives To Wood Siding

Because of the problems that have been discovered with natural wood shingles over time, a deliberate attempt has been undertaken to develop alternate materials.

Initially, aluminum and vinyl were employed, but both had a number of flaws. Fiber cement was added subsequently, and it has shown to overcome the majority of the problems that prior generations of shingle replacements had.

Fiber cement shingles are a long-lasting siding that resists insect infestations, moisture difficulties, and flames significantly better than timber shingles. It’s seen as a low-maintenance alternative to cedar shingles, and it usually comes with a 30-year warranty.

Certain companies, such as “Beach House Shake,” have developed a polymer shake that allows homeowners to enjoy the beauty of genuine cedar cladding without the upkeep or discoloration that comes with it.

Shingles vs Shakes

The primary distinction between shingles and shakes is their shape. Shakes are normally sawn on one end and split by hand on the other. Shingles are usually sawn on both ends from a timber block. As a result, shakes are often thicker than shingles, with a thick textured surface that gives the building a more uneven, organic aesthetic.

Shakes are more expensive than shingles because of their intrinsic thickness and material usage. This is also due to the fact that they are more difficult to install than standard shingles. The inconsistency of their shape is the source of this challenge. This adds to the labour cost.

Other siding options such as vinyl siding can also be used on your home. This type of siding, however, is less suitable to use on the coast. This is due to vinyl’s tendency to become more brittle as time passes.

Because it becomes brittle, vinyl siding is more prone to damage if any flying objects come into contact with it during windy conditions or hurricanes.


While the usage of timber siding such as shingles on coastal homes began as a requirement for a robust building material that could endure harsh weather, they have since become a relatively traditional material in coastal areas of the United States.

This material, as well as its synthetic equivalents, currently serve to retain a long-established aesthetic that is also very effective at protect the buildings from the harsh coastal conditions.