What Type of Wood to Use to Cover the Walls in a Storage Shed?

Updated February 21, 2017

Building a basic shed is only half the job. Next you have to cover the walls with some type of siding or cladding to protect the interior of the building. You can use vinyl siding, cement fibre board, or corrugated metal, but for most sheds wood is the preferred choice. Wood siding is generally easy to install, but requires stain or paint to protect it against weather. Many types of wood may be used for shed siding.

Rot-resistant Wood

Cedar, redwood, cypress or similar woods are good for shed siding because they resist insects and rotting. They are more expensive than woods like pine and fir and may not be readily available in all areas. They also require some treatment like stain, paint or just wood sealer to protect them against moisture and prevent discolouration. All these woods will eventually turn a dark grey if left unfinished.


Pine is the cheapest and most readily available wood siding. It lasts well when painted properly. Pine also comes in more varied siding options than some other woods. The best is some form of tongue and groove, with an edge on one piece that fits into a slot on the one above. Tongue and groove siding can have smooth surfaces or milled faces to resemble two boards. Another option is shiplap, with boards overlapping each other from the top.

Recycled Wood

Be creative in siding a shed and look for unusual wood options. One to consider is old barn wood. Many old barns were made of oak or similar durable wood, often rough-sawn and frequently installed on the building site with variable widths and thicknesses. Many old barns have deteriorated or been torn down, but individual planks can be rescued and recycled. Weathered oak barn wood gives a shed a distinctive look and if it endured for 50 or more years on a barn will probably endure for more years on a shed.

Installation Options

Shed siding can be installed horizontally or vertically. Most vertical installations are some form of board and batten, that is wide boards with the joints covered with 1-by-2-inch strips called battens. Board and batten can be done with any type of wood, with wide planks or plywood. Cedar plywood in 4-by-8-foot panels is often used this way, usually with a rough face outside. Board and batten also needs protective treatment, regardless of the type of wood used.

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About the Author

Bob Haring has been a news writer and editor for more than 50 years, mostly with the Associated Press and then as executive editor of the Tulsa, Okla. "World." Since retiring he has written freelance stories and a weekly computer security column. Haring holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.