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Learn about Clapboard Wood Siding

Clapboard Wood Siding

Clapboard is a classic exterior cladding made of horizontally overlapping wood boards. Clapboard is also commonly referred to as lap siding, bevel siding, weatherboard, clawboard, and cloboard. Pine, cedar, oak, spruce, or other softwoods are typically used. Clapboard can be stained, painted, charred, or allowed to naturally weather. A lesser-known fact is that the name clapboard originated from the Dutch word klappen, meaning "to split." Klappen, or "to split" refers to the various wood species split by hand to make clapboard.

Look for locally harvested, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood.

Look for high-quality, thicker boards with few knots - they will last longer. Installation can be do-it-yourself or look for a contractor with experience with natural wood siding. It's best installed over a 3/4" to 1" air space above the waterproof house wrap layer, with spacers made from wood lattice or strapping, to allow the backside of the wood to air dry after rain and condensation.

While most wood siding types require preservation treatment such as stain or paint, some kinds of wood are more naturally weather resistant than others. In North America, woods such as white cedar, red cedar, and douglas fir can be used as siding without treatment, while woods such as pine and spruce should be treated. Besides paint and stain, charring (light burning with a torch before installation) provides a unique look and a protective coating.

Wood is a classic, easy to install, aesthetically desirable, and renewable material. While still having some drawbacks, such as relatively high maintenance (painting, staining, or replacement), it is a preferred material for those considering a more sustainable exterior shell for their home. In forested regions, it can often be purchased from local sawmills.

In New Zealand, clapboard siding is a popular choice, but it is usually referred to as 'weatherboard.'