Introduction

man replacing damaged clapboard with new one
Photo: Webb Chappell
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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.
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    Tools List

    • utility knife
      Utility knife
    • flat prybar
      Pry bar
    • hammer
      Hammer
    • hacksaw blade
      Hacksaw blade
    • hand saw
      Handsaw
    • caulk gun
      Caulk gun

    Shopping List

    1. Replacement Clapboard (see Overview)

    2. Acrylic Latex Caulk

    3. 7d Stainless Steel Ring-Shank Siding Nails