What is Clapboard Siding?

Clapboard sidingClapboard siding uses long, thin boards, in many cases wood, to cover sides of homes and other buildings. The appearance is similar to that of a bird’s feathers, overlapping each other to protect a building from the elements.

History of Clapboards

Clapboard Siding was used as early as the 1700s, after the first settlers in America realized the ease of using the tall trees of the eastern coastal areas to build homes and settlements for their communities. Because they had the tools to help build these types of homes and building structures, they took advantage of the ample supply of wood available to them. Many years of improvements and treatments allow clapboard to not only keep its appearance, but were found to sustain less damage after natural events, such as earthquakes.

The Evolution or “Revolution” of Clapboards

As the popularity of clapboard siding increased over the centuries, other types of cheaper, but durable materials were used. This includes uPVC, referred to as vinyl siding, aluminum and cement. Many home-construction experts suggest red cedar for wood clapboards for its ease of use and maintenance, allowing it to last for many years, even a lifetime. Painting red cedar is also an easy process.

Installation and Repairs

Many do-it-yourselfers can take on the installation of clapboards, because of their availability and ease of installation. Most of those who do their own general repairs around the house probably have the tools and saws needed to complete the project. Costing about 88 cents per linear foot for an 8 by 16 side wall, it’s also fairly inexpensive. Replacing worn or damaged clapboards is also a fairly easy process. Each one can be replaced, rather than replacing an entire section of siding.

Related Resource: Stone Veneer Siding

While a variety of products are available for home building and siding, clapboard siding has been shown to withstand the environments, including storms, earthquakes, snow and strong winds with minimal damage, according to This Old House. Since clapboard siding was used extensively before the 1960s, older homes and historical buildings often have a certain charm, simply because of the clapboards. Some clapboard siding shows the natural wood grain, making the structure truly breathtaking.