Types of Clapboard House Siding

Written by laura bramble
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Types of Clapboard House Siding
Clapboard siding has been in use for hundreds of years. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Clapboard siding is a traditional form of wood siding. Originally derived from the Dutch "klappen," or "to split," clapboard siding was made of hand-hewn wood boards cut on an angle. These boards lay horizontally with the thinner end at the top, which allowed the thicker end of the board above it to over overlap it and provided greater protection from rain and the elements. Properly cared for, clapboard siding can last for many years. It does require regular maintenance and carries a higher price per square foot. You have several options for clapboard house siding.

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Pine is one of the most common choices for wood siding, along with other soft woods, such as spruce and fir. It gives a traditional look, is less expensive and holds paint and stain well. Damaged sections are easily replaced. However, because it is soft, pine siding is prone to cracking, splitting and peeling if not well cared for. It is not rot or insect resistant. Homeowners must keep pine clapboards painted and sealed for maximum protection and life, with repainting required approximately every five to seven years.


Cedar is a long-lasting wood used in clapboard siding that is more expensive than pine or other soft woods. It has a natural golden red colour that many homeowners choose to leave natural. Cedar has natural rot and insect resistance and does not require painting, which makes cedar a lower maintenance option for wood siding. Regular staining or application of a spray sealer every three to five years will keep cedar clapboard siding looking its best and maintain the natural moisture in the wood.


Redwood clapboard siding can vary in look from dramatically rustic to organic minimalist, depending where the wood comes from in the tree. Redwood can be very expensive in the highest grades but is extremely durable and does not need a preservative. It is resistant to rot and is insect resistant throughout its entire thickness. Redwood weathers to a grey finish that can be maintained with a sealant, or it can be stained every three to four years to maintain its red colour. Redwood keeps its shape very well, so it does not loosen or warp like other wood clapboard siding can.

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