How to Patch Wood Siding
TOH general contractor shows how to handle fragile clapboards to make a seamless exterior repair
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.