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What are the differences between cladding, siding and soffit?

They are the core part of exterior design, both aesthetically and functionally. However, what are the main differences between the three most popular siding installation methods?

Although they both form the area of ​​the exterior surface, or facade, of a building, cladding, siding, and soffit are not, technically speaking, the same. To begin with, the soffit is a term that tends more to relate to the overhangs of a roof, and there are apparent differences between cladding and siding boards when it comes to installation, function, and aesthetics.

So what are those differences, and why is it important to know them? We break it down below:


These are typically materials that are installed in a paneling method, either in a vertical or horizontal pattern. Siding can also be applied directly to the side of your home, either directly to sheathing or foam board insulation.

Thanks to its material and design, the siding ensures protection against water and other elements. However, it does not have any drainage or ventilation system between the siding itself and the wall of the house.


While siding is installed directly to the home’s exterior, cladding consists of multiple layers of material separated from the exterior wall by furring strips. These can be installed at any angle to maximize space and design elements in your home.

The strips help separate the cladding from the side of the house, leaving room for moisture to vent and drain. The materials that are frequently used in cladding installation do not tend to repel moisture in the same way that siding does, so a rain screen is necessary.


The soffit is the lower part of the edge of a roof. Ceilings that do not have cantilevers do not have soffits. The soffit acts as a passive ventilation unit for your attic. It prevents warm moisture from entering the attic air and condensing and creating mold.

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