Last Updated on April 1, 2021 by legacy450


Channel rustic siding is a specific wood pattern where the top portion of the board (when installed horizontally) has a flat channel milled out of the face to create an attractive shadow line designed to enhance the exterior appearance of a home or commercial property. This wood profile has a shiplap edge making it suitable for not only horizontal installation but also vertical, and diagonal as well. With a rough face finish, this profile looks fantastic when finished in a stain color or a solid finish. If you’re looking to add some rustic charm to a new custom home, remodel, or commercial property this is a great option. 

Cedar Channel Rustic Siding – Hatteras Gray Stain

Why is it called Channel Rustic?

If we take this siding profile and break it down into two components it becomes very clear. The rustic part of the name comes from the fact that the texture on the face of the boards is rough bandsawn. This bandsawn texture creates a warm and inviting look that shows the natural wood grain of each board. The channel part refers to the profile milled into the top leading edge (horizontal installation). As for the channel part – typically there is a 1-⅝” wide channel milled into one edge and the depth is typically half of the thickness of the board. For example; on a 1 x 8 (nominal size) board the actual thickness of the board is ¾” so the depth of the channel will be ⅜” (half of the ¾” thickness). As for the width of the board, on a 1 x 8, the actual width will be 7-¼”. Depending on mills this can fluctuate a little bit and so can the width of the channel but these dimensions are the target. 

What Species of Wood is Channel Rustic?

You can mill almost any species of wood into the channel rustic pattern but for use on the exterior of a home, you really should look at Western Red Cedar and Cypress as these two wood species contain natural properties that make them resistant to pests and wood rot. Western Red Cedar and Cypress come in a couple of different wood grades, but if you’re looking for a truly rustic look the Cedar STK (select tight knot) grade or the Cypress #2 grade will be a great choice. Both of these look fantastic when stained or either one can be primed and top coated with high-quality solid color paint. If you don’t care for the knots, Cedar A&Better or Cypress select grades may be available (depending on supply) but will carry a larger price tag. Lastly, look for material that is kiln-dried. Kiln-dried material will save you some time as it is ready to paint or stain when you get it. Green (material that has not been kiln dried) will require some additional time to dry out before painting or staining. If you do not let green wood dry you will have paint or stain adhesion issues.

Cypress Channel Rustic Siding prefinished in dark slate stain
Cypress Channel Rustic Siding – Dark Slate Stain
Cypress Channel Rustic Siding – Bark Mulch Stain

Common Sizes:

Typically you will find the channel rustic siding in a 1 x 8 (nominal) size and on occasion a 1 x 10 (nominal). It is possible that a special order can be placed for a 1 x 6 (nominal) but the channel may look a bit out of place, dominating the face of the board. As for lengths, the material will be profiled at the mill in various lengths from 3’ to 20’ and is available in a random tally, which means you will get a mixture of these lengths, and getting all 12’s or 16’s may not be possible.

Installation of Channel Rustic Siding

Channel rustic siding has a shiplap edge milled into each board so it is installed just like you would install shiplap. Each board will overlap the next and will require a nail in the face of the board. Proper care needs to be taken to install this material and it should be left to the siding professionals. Please make sure to follow all local and state building codes. However, as a resource, the Western Red Cedar Association website has a general guideline for installing Western Red Cedar. They also have a page dedicated to installing lap siding. It is critical that when installing any siding product outside of vinyl that sealing any end cuts (places where the board was cut during installation) be sealed with a good quality stain or primer to seal out moisture. 

Cedar Channel Rustic Siding – Seacoast Gray

Finishes for Channel Rustic Siding

Channel Rustic siding looks fantastic when it is stained with a good semi-transparent stain. If you prefer a solid color acrylic house paint you will need to prime the wood first to create a base for the topcoat to adhere to. One thing to keep in mind is the maintenance schedule (how often to repaint). This will ultimately be up to you as stains and paints weather at different intervals depending on environmental factors such as moisture and sun exposure. Typically a stain will need to be reapplied sooner than a prime plus topcoat finish would. Again that will depend on your taste and preferences but a stain should last 3-5 years (but can last longer).

Cedar Channel Rustic Siding – Primed

Finishing On-Site or Prefinishing

When it comes to applying the finish you have two choices – finish the material on the job site or have the material prefinished. If you’re doing a repair or building a small accent wall, it may be easier to finish at the job site. The boards should be stained or primed before they are installed to make sure the coating is applied to the face, back, edges, and ends (also known as back priming). This will protect the wood from potential moisture issues later down the road. If you’re doing a large area (more than what can be finished on site) your best option is to have it prefinished (What is Prefinishing?). By having the material prefinished you are getting a product that has coated on all six sides, has a consistent finish from one end to the other – first piece to the last, and you don’t have to deal with any clean up on the job site. You also won’t have to deal with weather delays or dealing with pollen getting into the finish (if you’re painting in the spring or early summer). All of our jobs are finished to order, in your choice of color, and we send touch-up paint with each job to seal the end cuts.


Channel Rustic siding can be a great option for your new custom home or commercial property. You have the choice of installing the material in a variety of ways to suit your design and best of all you can stain or paint the siding in basically any color you choose. Keep in mind that a stain will not last as long as a primed plus acrylic topcoat so consider the maintenance schedule as well. Cedar and Cypress are excellent exterior choices and to complete the rustic look consider using a knotty grade. If you have any questions at all please feel free to call us or drop us an e-mail we are glad to help.

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