All About Clapboard Siding

Among various siding choices, clapboard siding is regarded as a slightly rustic and aesthetically-progressive option. Apart from its functional role, a siding also helps to augment the external, visual appearance of the home. However, before choosing clapboard siding, it is vital to understand the various aspects that define this siding option.

Clapboard Basics

Clapboard is considered as the slightly-traditional form of siding as it has been used since the colonial times. It is also called lap siding or bevel siding. Typical clapboards yield a slightly-slanted appearance. This is because a clapboard siding has one of its edges slightly thicker than the other. This also makes clapboards a preferred option for homes with slanted roofs or those in high-rainfall areas. The tapered edges are aligned at the time of installation to ensure uniformity of pattern. This also helps in faster run-off of rainwater.

Clapboard Siding Materials

Traditionally, clapboard siding was made from hardwoods like cedar. Even today, cedar wood clapboard sidings are regarded as premium sidings. Hardwoods like cedar and redwood are also preferred for their greater durability and the ability to retain the paints/stains for a longer period. Among cedars, red cedar and west cedar are popular for making clapboard sidings. Other wood choices include fir, larch and pine.

Due to the rising costs and shrinking availability of wood, cheaper versions of clapboard sidings have been introduced. This includes clapboard sidings made from aluminum and vinyl apart from a few clapboard varieties made from a blend of cement and synthetic fibers.

Clapboard Siding Installation

Clapboard siding can be installed by homeowners without using professional services. Usually, a spacing jig or roofing jig is installed to form the base of clapboard sidings. This is a simple task since the jig is available in standard sizes and can be easily customized for various roofs. The clapboard siding can be easily secured using basic supplies like a hammer and roofing nails.

Homes in high-rainfall areas often need a layering of roofing sealant to secure the clapboard siding. In terms of taking measurements, the clapboard-installation project is relatively easy. The sidings can be easily cut to adjust them along the edges wherein approximate measurements using a measuring tape are sufficient.

Once clapboard siding has been installed, its appearance is similar to that of layered shingles. Clapboards are usually sold in the unfinished format. However, this doesn’t affect their overall durability. Staining or painting them is essentially an aesthetic choice. However, for very humid climates painting them is recommended.

Clapboard Siding Advantages

  • Clapboard sidings exude a royal charm. Clapboards are often regarded as a continuation of the historical architectural styles that were prevalent in New England, United States.
  • To control costs, clapboards for the same roof can be bought across a range of materials. This means using the wood clapboards for the topmost, most visible part of the roofing and similarly-colored, vinyl clapboards for the not-so-visible parts of the roof.
  • Clapboards are a long-term roofing material and are known to last for decades with minimal maintenance. Even the occasional staining/painting is rather easy since clapboards have a uniform surface, free from undulating edges or tight corners.

Clapboard Siding Disadvantages

  • The most popular form of clapboard siding, i.e. wood siding, is a bit susceptible to typical wood issues like moisture seepage. This can cause rotting of the underside of the siding along with splitting or warping.
  • Wholesome repairs/replacement of worn-out clapboard sidings or the roofing material under them can be very demanding. The roofing nails used to secure clapboard sidings are hammered rather deep. The underlying roofing jig can be seriously damaged when trying to remove an old clapboard siding, putting forth unnecessary costs.