Last Updated on May 12, 2022 by legacy450

Vertical Nickel Gap Siding being installed on a custom home

When installed on a home’s exterior, nickel Gap siding refers to a specific siding look. The siding can be installed horizontally or vertically (see image above), and the nickel gap refers to the exposed area between the boards (usually the thickness of a nickel). The exposed area creates a thin shadow line that is very appealing to the eye. This siding style is versatile as it looks great on a rustic mountain home or a modern style home design.

Cypress Nickel Gap Siding
Cypress Nickel Gap Siding

How Is A Nickel Gap Siding Style Created?

Two wood profiles can be used to create a nickel gap exterior design, Shiplap, and square edge Tongue and Groove. While both profiles may be readily available at your local lumberyard, you must make sure it has been milled for the nickel gap design. Several popular TV shows demonstrate how to create the nickel gap look using a nickel or metal washers to obtain the proper gap (most commonly on interior wall applications). However, when used on the exterior, introducing a large gap could mistakenly create an issue where the siding cannot seal out moisture and cause problems later. All of our Cedar Nickel Gap siding and Cypress Nickel Gap siding material is profiled specifically from the mill. Since the gap has already been designed into the profile, it’s easier to install. It’s best to check with a professional installer, builder, or contractor for best practices.

Cedar Shiplap siding
Cedar Shiplap Siding
Cypress Nickel gap tongue and groove siding
Cypress Nickel Gap Siding

Types of Materials Used To Make A Nickel Gap Design

Cedar or Cypress are the two most popular wood species for nickel gap siding due to their resistance to rot and pests. Both species take a stain well and can be created with a smooth or rough sawn face. Both products can also be factory primed, allowing a final topcoat to be applied after installation. If you choose, you can use these two species for interior applications and we highly recommend using a smooth face product.

Rustic Look Versus Modern Look

Creating a rustic look with a nickel gap look is easily achieved by using rough-sawn material and by using a more common grade of material such as Cedar STK grade or Cypress #2 grade. Both grades will allow for a certain level of knots which again creates character and a true rustic look. If you are looking for a modern look, a smooth face product will help you create that look. Just as a lower grade will create a more rustic look, a higher grade (less visible knots) will give you a clean uniform modern look.

Cedar nickel gap siding with rough sawn face
Rough Sawn Cedar Shiplap
Cypress nickel gap tongue and groove siding with a smooth face
Smooth Face Cypress Tongue and Groove Nickel Gap

Finishing Your New Nickel Gap Siding

With new wood siding, whether it’s Cedar or Cypress, we recommend having it prefinished in a factory on all six sides before it is installed. There are many benefits that prefinishing will provide the homeowner, builder, and installer. The main advantage is that each board is coated on all sides to seal out moisture and prevent the sun’s UV rays from aging the wood before it is painted. Instant curb appeal is another benefit since the final color has already been applied. No Weather Delays – no waiting on mother nature to provide 3-4 days of sunny warm, dry weather so you can get the paint applied to the house. When factory machine-finished, your siding is free from Lap Marks, Streaking, Shrink Lines, Overspray, Drips, and Runs. Each board will have a consistent finish from one end to the other and the first piece to the last. Material is dry before installation. Pre-Finishing is available year-round – Our facility is climate controlled, and machines run all 12 months. Want to learn more about prefinishing? See our What is Prefinished Siding blog post for details.


Both Shiplap and Square Edge Tongue and Groove and be used to create a nickel gap exterior siding design. It’s best to have the material milled to allow for the nickel gap reveal versus spacing the boards with larger than recommended expansion gaps. We took the time to brush out over 40 stain colors on both Cedar and Cypress exterior siding profiles just so you know what the color and material grades look like. Obtaining a sample is the best way of determining the right color and material grade. If you find that you still have questions about either profile please give us a call at 704-528-7136 or fill our our Contact Us form and we will be happy to assist you.

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