How To Install Clapboard Siding

How To Install Clapboard Siding
  • Author: Amanda Arnold
  • Posted On: June 23, 2022
  • Updated On: August 21, 2023

Clapboards are thin, overlapping wood planks that have been used to shelter homes from the elements. Traditional cedar clapboards are most likely what people think of when they think of siding. The majority of horizontal siding is a copy of this historical material.

Regardless of the materials used, installation processes are essentially the same, with minor differences in fasteners, joints, and other details.

Benefits Of Installing Clapboard Siding

Clapboards are protected from insects and rot by natural oils and resins. Cedar is prized for its weather resistance and durability. The installation and absence of proper flashing and drainage planes are frequently blamed for problems in homes rather than the type of siding used.

It’s critical to overlap all joints while installing clapboard siding. Cut different lengths of boards to create a pyramid impression. Nails may be hidden on thick siding profiles by being driven into the upper portion of a board and covered by the lower piece above it.

Otherwise, nails can be left exposed and painted by driving them into the lower portion of a board, just above the upper border of the board below them.

A Few Considerations Before Installing Clapboard Siding

As long as the installer stays on the ground, attaching wood siding to a house is reasonably safe. When installing towering rows of siding, ladder safety must be followed. The ladder should be placed on flat, firm ground.

The rung designated as the tallest rung for standing must be at or below this level. There will be a lot of sawing, so observe the safety precautions for all-electric saws listed in your saw’s manual.

Steps To Install Clapboard Siding

Prepare Your Walls

Because lap siding will follow any contours, the walls should be stripped of all prior siding, and the surface should be quite level and flat. Some siding styles can be installed directly over studs. Over plywood or oriented strand board sheathing base, thinner patterns should be put.

Staple a layer of house wrap to the sheathing, working from the bottom up and overlapping joints by several inches to send any water that reaches it down the wall. Once again, follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Estimate The Needed Clapboard Stock

To figure out how much siding you’ll need, add the height and width of all the walls. Then subtract the total area of all doors and windows. Take that measurement to the lumberyard, where they’ll calculate the number of linear feet you’ll need based on the width and exposure of the siding you desire.

Determine Installation Layout

Determine how the boards will appear at the top, where they meet an eave. After the siding is installed, you may be able to install a trim piece there, or you may need to cut the siding to fit perfectly.

Determine how wide the exposed boards are in the vertical direction. Siding will usually wrap around the house in most circumstances. Otherwise, the installation will appear unprofessional.

This implies you’ll have to create and mark a level baseline around your home. Make these layout lines with a water level, a line level, or a transit level. If you have a lot of windows or doors at the same height, you might want to change the layout so that the tops of the windows or doors have full-width boards.

Make certain to plan ahead of time for this space.

Secure Edge Flashing With 4D Nails

Using a hammer, tap across the wall to find studs. At each stud location, draw vertical chalk lines. Bend the flashing, so it extends up the wall over the water table. 4d nails should be used to secure the top edge of the flashing at the studs.

Overlap the ends of the flashing and use a paintable synthetic-rubber sealant to seal the joints. Builder’s felt should be stapled above the water table to cover the flashing.

Use High-Quality Caulk To Seal gaps

Use high-performance acrylic-latex caulk to prevent water from entering gaps around windows and other exterior joints. Caulking will ultimately break down and require upkeep. Caulking will never take the place of good flashing.

Slide the siding piece with the notch carefully into position. The clapboard should be nailed to studs. Snap a chalk line between the lines on the corner boards on top of the course being overlapped if more than one clapboard is required to span a wall.


You might wish to hire a siding business in a few situations to install the wood siding on your house. The project scope may be too large to do on a do-it-yourself basis if you are siding your entire house. When second and third levels are involved, one-story houses manageable for DIYers become challenging and dangerous.

Install metal flashing around windows and doors before trimming to ensure water won’t seep in. Some installers place vertical strips of roofing felt over the studs, making it easier to find the studs and helping seal the nail shanks and stop moisture infiltration.

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Author: Amanda Arnold

Amanda has been working with ConstructionHow since 2021. Her experience spans over 5 years in the creative niche such as home decor and trends, landscaping, renovations, and custom architectural values. As a home designer expert, she has a keen eye for the latest home improvement trends with accurate facts that readers find impossible to ignore. Being invested in home-building trends is how she has gained her lucrative expertise exploring more to bring a positive ambiance for all homeowners (and even tenants!). Currently, she lives in a beautiful beach home, a source of fascination for her.