Installing sidings on your home is an easy and affordable way of boosting its curb appeal. And considering the fact that good sidings can not only increase your home’s value, but also improve its energy efficiency, installing sidings is an investment that is worth every homeowner’s time and money.

Clapboards are popular sidings that are usually installed horizontally, with each board overlapping the other. Its thin boards are usually made of wood, and they normally take a wedge shape with one side of the board being thicker than the other. And with its natural charm, durability, and given how easy it is to install, it is no surprise that it is still one of the most popular siding solutions around the world.

Here is what you should know about clapboards and why you should consider installing them on your home.

What is clapboard siding

A clapboard siding is a type of wood siding that is used to improve a home’s appearance. It is usually made up of horizontal pieces of wood. These pieces are usually installed in an overlapping manner. And the fact that one side of the pieces is usually thicker than the other, makes overlapping them easier.

Why is it called clapboard?

It is called clapboard because it is made up of thin boards that were traditionally hand-split from the parent material. And since in dutch, the word for “to split” is klappen, it eventually gave rise to the English word: clapboard.

What is clapboard siding made of?

Clapboard siding is made of thin wood planks that are derived from various wood species. The most common species from which these thin wood pieces are split include spruce, oak, pine, and cedar trees.

Is clapboard siding good?

Yes, clapboard siding is good.

This is so mainly because of the aesthetic appeal it adds to a home. It typically enhances a home’s appeal by giving it a classic look. And in most cases, this is usually enough to increase the home’s value.

The siding is also great at adding to a home’s insulation. Having horizontally installed wood planks covering a home is often a good way to enhance a home’s energy efficiency and this is something that clapboard siding excels at.

Furthermore, if there is any damage to your clapboard, you don’t have to worry about doing a wall-wide replacement. Since the planks are typically installed individually, you can make repairs by simply replacing the damaged planks. This makes for an easier repair process, making it relatively easier to maintain.

While clapboard siding isn’t one of the cheapest sidings in the market, it is usually a great investment because of the fact that it lasts long. With proper care, you can typically get between 20 years and 40 years from your sidings. And with such a long lifespan, it is always easy to justify the extra amount you may have to spend in order to not only purchase, but also install these sidings.

Types of clapboard siding

There are different types of clapboard sidings. They typically differ in terms of the nature of their grains, how they are sawn, and how they are to be installed. These differences usually have an impact on how easy the given sidings are to be installed, their overall appearance, and whether the sidings can be painted easily.
The following are the most popular types of clapboard sidings.

  • Riven
  • Radially sawn
  • Flat-sawn
  • Chamferboard
  • Finger jointed

Basic clapboard siding styles

One of the advantages of using clapboard sidings is that you will have a variety of styles to choose from. This makes it easier for homeowners to refresh the look of homes that already have clapboard siding, or for those who are trying out clapboard sidings to easily find something that perfectly expresses their sense of style.

Generally, clapboard siding styles vary in terms of the smoothness of their lines, how pronounced their shadow lines are, and the location of their shadow lines. The following are the most common clapboard siding styles.

  • Traditional lap or smooth lap
  • Dutch lap
  • Beaded1
Basic clapboard siding styles blue siding

Wood species used

Technically, a homeowner has an endless array of options when it comes to choosing which wood to use for clapboard sidings. However, certain woods are generally preferred for use in creating clapboard sidings because of their looks, cost, resistance to decay, weight, and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions.

As a result, the following are the most common types of wood species that are used to manufacture clapboard sidings.

  • Spruce
  • Cedar
  • Redwood
  • Pine
  • Cypress
  • Fir

Difference between clapboard and wood siding?

The difference between clapboard and wood siding lies in the fact that clapboard is a specific type of wood siding, while wood siding is a general term that encompasses a wide variety of sidings that includes clapboard. Consequently, while clapboard can only be installed horizontally, and while it is also made of thin planks of wood that are wedge-shaped, you can easily find other types of wood sidings that don’t have these features.

How to maintain clapboard siding?

Proper maintenance is essential if you want to get the most from clapboard sidings. This is in terms of increasing its lifespan, boosting its strength, and maintaining its aesthetic appeal.

The following are some of the things that you can do to keep your sidings in good shape.

Regular repainting

Occasionally giving your clapboard sidings a fresh coat of paint will ensure that it always has a protective layer. This is important because when exposed to rain and other harsh environmental conditions, the clapboard’s wood starts rotting. With time, this compromises its structural integrity, something that will definitely reduce the lifespan of the clapboard.

As a result, it is always advisable that you check your clapboards for signs of peeling, blistering and cracking paint. And once you find problems with worn-out paint, start by scraping off any loose paint, sand the area, clean it, coat it with a good primer, and then paint it.

Pressure washing

Dirt and debris compromise the aesthetic appeal of clapboard sidings. With time, they can also form pockets that can trap moisture, something that may then accelerate the deterioration of the sidings. As a result, it is always advisable that you wash your sidings on an annual basis.

Keeping your clapboard sidings clean isn’t complicated. All you need is a pressure washer, clean water, and soap. The only thing that you should keep in mind is to properly rinse the soap off the sidings after you are done.

Replacing split or damaged boards

With time, some of the boards may start splitting. They may also become broken due to physical impact. Some may even start rotting.

As a general rule, any split or damaged boards should be replaced as soon as possible. This is because these boards tend to form a point of weakness. They create an entry point for water and other damaging agents. And as a result, they can end up accelerating the rate at which the other boards rot or become damaged.

And even if you don’t want to replace the split boards, you can at least caulk and paint them. Doing so will keep moisture from infiltrating your sidings. It will go a long way towards preventing a mold problem.

A lifetime of the clapboard siding?

Clapboard sidings typically last between 20 years to 40 years, with the average lifespan of these sidings being 30 years. However, the exact lifespan of a given installation will vary depending on the type of wood that was used to create the sidings, how well the installation was done, the harshness of the environment to which the sidings are exposed, and how well they were maintained.


A clapboard house is a house that has been fitted with clapboard siding. It is typically covered with sidings that are installed horizontally. And the siding’s boards tend to have one side being thicker than the other — wedge-like shape.

Clapboard sidings are usually nailed to the studs. Using nails that are long enough to penetrate through the sidings and into the studs by up to an inch and 1/4 penetration is usually recommended.

Cedar clapboard siding is clapboard siding whose wood planks are primarily made from cedarwood. This type of clapboard siding is typically more expensive than others primarily because of its ability to resist decay. It also tends to be long-lasting.

FAQ’s clapboard siding

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Timothy Munene
Author: Timothy Munene - Timothy is a freelance writer and an online entrepreneur.