How To Fix Cedar Cladding

Updated February 21, 2017

Cedar cladding is a popular building material that protects the underlying structure of your house from water and ultraviolet (UV) light. Because the cladding is exposed to the elements, it can be damaged over time. UV rays can deteriorate and grey the wood fibre; birds and insects can bore holes into the wood; and water can cause wood to split and warp. Wood cleaner can remove greyed wood fibre, and smaller defects can be repaired with wood putty. Severely damaged cladding boards can be removed and replaced with newer, intact material.

Mix a solution of wood cleaner. Wood cleaner is generally sold in a concentrated form. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations regarding the proper dilution for removing sun-damaged wood fibre.

Wet the cladding down with water and apply the cleaner to wet wood. Allow the cleaner to sit on the wood for 15 to 30 minutes.

Scrub the cladding vigorously with a nylon scrub brush. The scrubbing should remove the deteriorated wood fibre from the cedar cladding while leaving the underlying healthy wood intact. Rinse the cladding thoroughly with water after scrubbing.

If the wood turns dark during cleaning, use wood brightener to restore the natural lustre and colour of the cladding. Apply the wood brightener to wet wood and allow it to sit on the surface for 45 minutes. Then rinse the cladding thoroughly with water.

Use a putty knife to apply exterior wood putty to minor defects in the cladding. Work the putty down into holes and over the surface and edges of the damaged area.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding the dry time for the putty. Smaller repairs may only require a couple of hours to dry; while deeper, wider gouges may require 24 hours or more to cure completely.

Sand the dried putty with a piece of 120-grit sandpaper. Use the sandpaper to work the repair smooth and flush with the cladding surface.

Use a pry bar to lift the damaged piece of siding and expose the nail shafts.

Pull the nails with a slater's ripper, or cut the nail shaft with a hacksaw blade saw. A slater's ripper is a specialised tool that can be slid under the cladding to grab and pull the nails. A hacksaw blade saw is a narrow, notched saw blade mounted on a handle. The blade can be slid under cladding and used to saw the nail shafts.

Pull the damaged cedar cladding board from the house.

Cut a replacement piece of cladding with a circular saw and fit it into the vacant spot.

Fasten the board in place using corrosion-resistant nails. Be careful not to overdrive nails when hanging cladding. The boards should be secure, but not nailed down tightly. Follow existing nail patterns to achieve a consistent finished appearance.


If you are planning to stain your cladding, use a putty that matches the tone of your wood and can accept wood stain.


Wood cleaner and brightener contain chemicals that can be harmful to skin and eyes. Wear protective clothing, including eye wear and rubber gloves, when working with these products.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood cleaner
  • Nylon scrub brush
  • Wood brightener
  • Putty knife
  • Wood putty
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Pry bar
  • Slater's ripper or hacksaw blade saw
  • Circular saw
  • Hammer
  • Corrosion resistant nails
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About the Author

Robert Howard has been writing professionally since 2004 and writes a weekly column for the "Synthesis," a Chico, Calif.-based newspaper. He maintains a blog and has published articles and works of fiction in a variety of different print and online magazines. Howard holds a Bachelor of Arts in visual arts from the University of California, San Diego.