Tom Silva slips new clapboard
Photo: Webb Chappell

Whether it's cracked, rotted, or the victim of a woodpecker's bill, a damaged strip of wood siding is an open invitation for water to leak in and wreak havoc on a house. So when a piece needs fixing, it's a task that merits a big red flag on the "To do" list.

Replacing a broken clapboard isn't that difficult, but as This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows on the next two pages, it's a delicate process that takes patience and precision. "If you're not careful, it's easy to break the surrounding clapboards," he says, "and then you'll end up ­installing much more new siding than you intended."

Power tools are out for this job: too much vibration. ¬≠Siding repair is best done with hand tools—with one exception. "Forget the tape measure," Tom says. Instead, you can size the ¬≠replacement using the old clapboard as a template, a simple technique that virtually guarantees a tight fit on the first try.

Remove the Wood, Then the Nails

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