Clapboard Siding: To Replace or Not to Replace
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jennymayher



Joined: 18 Jul 2007
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 11:56 am    Post subject: Clapboard Siding: To Replace or Not to Replace Reply with quote

There comes a point in a home's life where the conundrum of whether or not siding needs replacing and how best to do it so that the historic character of the home is preserved. Attached are some photos for consideration.


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East side close up
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South side
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BremenHouse4.JPG
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East side, worst section of all sides
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BremenHouse3.JPG
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East side, clapboards in better shape
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East facing side of house (front/roadside)
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BremenHouse1.JPG
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South facing side of house.
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BremenHouse1.JPG


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johnleeke
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
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Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jenny:

Your clapboards are a mix of vertical- and mostly flat-grain. Generally speaking, vertical-grain clapboards are more durable.


The Ward radial-sawn (aka "quarter-sawn") vertical-grain pine clapboards you are considering would be an improvement in quality and durability over the flat-grain clapboards you now have.

To maximize durability as you install the new clapboards I suggest considering the following details:

Wood Quality:
The basic strategy is to "upgrade" the wood that is installed to improve the durability of the siding system and extend its life. Select out the 10% worst (most defects) clapboards and do not use them on important walls (perhaps on a shed, or small back wall where they can be easily replaced). Cut out the worst defects. Apply the best clapboards lowest on the wall. Tighter grain (more growth rings per inch) and all heart-wood (darker color than sap wood) are more durable.

Underlayment:
Apply red-rosin building paper to the boarding boards (aka "sheathing"), with "double coverage". A standard modern material for this use is spun-bond poly-olefin (Tyvek, Typar, etc.) but I have seen these modern materials cause problems over the long-term. We know that rosin paper can last for a century or more.

Nails:
Use galvanized nails, hot-dipped, to prevent wood decay around the nails, as I have seen in some cases where stainless steel nails were used. When the zinc on the nail-heads gets wet some of the zinc goes into solution and soaks into the surrounding wood, tending to protect it from decay. Double hot-dipped nails are even better if you can get them. Shiny electro-plated nails do not have enough zinc to product this effect.

Preservative Treatments:
It is likely you will have second- or third-growth pine that is not as decay resistant as old first-growth pine. To improve decay resistant treat the backs of the clapboards before installation with borate preservative. One effective product is BoraCare. Apply according to directions and allow to dry for a few days before installation.

We have discussed your desire to have a naturally weathering gray appearance. Some people will suggest a product, such as Cabot's bleaching oil stain, will give that weathered gray look. This look is somewhat different that the variable appearance of natural weathering. If you are replacing only some walls they will, of course, have a strikingly different appearance than the adjacent old walls. Over the years and decades they will weather out, eventually blending in, sort of, perhaps.

During installation, apply a water-repellent preservative (Thompson's WaterSeal, California Storm Stain Clear Penetrating Wood Stabilizer) to all cuts & trims, then to all exposed surfaces after nailing clapboards in place.

"Storm Stain Clear Penetrating Wood Stabilizer when applied on exterior wood surfaces without finish top coats will fully protect the wood but does not prevent the color change that occurs when the surface of the wood is continuously exposed to ultraviolet rays." -- California Spec Sheet, learn more at:

http://www.californiapaints.com/products/extstains/Sspwstab.asp

Installation:
Be sure to see my Classic Clapboard article that appeared in the Old-House Journal and is available at the Ward Clapboard website:


http://www.wardclapboard.com/examples.html


Maintenance:
Re-application of the water-repellent preservative is needed every 3 to 5 years.

Take care, work safe and keep in touch.

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jennymayher



Joined: 18 Jul 2007
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 1:50 pm    Post subject: Making new clapboards look old Reply with quote

John--
I have read and reread your advice and feel much more confident about replacing my beloved gray clapboards. I wanted to see what you thought of a piece of advice I was given recently. A boatbuilder friend suggested leaving a bucket of old nails to rust, and literally painting rust dust onto the new wood to accelerate the chemical breakdown of bright wood into weathered wood.
Any thoughts?
Jenny
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johnleeke
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
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Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd be interested if he had tried this and had more details on this treatment.

Nail rust is iron oxide. Iron oxide usually is in the form of a dry powder. It is fairly stable, chemically, and from what I know about wood chemistry, there would not be a lot of chemical reaction with the wood. With a lot of brushing the iron oxide particles would get into the pores of the wood, which would give it some of the typical rust-red color and block some of the ultra-violet rays that would deteriorate the wood. It would also tend to trap moisture in the wood, perhaps accelerating other chemical reactions of weathering. If you just brushed the dry powder on the surface most of it would just wash off in the next rain, perhaps leaving an irregular rust coloration.

Iron oxide was used as paint pigment. You would have to mix it with a binder so it would stick to the wood surface--essentially making your own paint or stain. I have used iron oxide primer and barn paint as recently as the 1980s, but I'd be surprised if it is still available.

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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those guys were good. They ended up eating the left over rusty nails for breakfast--the outcome was...

John (willing to try anything, but there ARE limits) Leeke

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big tom



Joined: 28 Mar 2007
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:39 am    Post subject: clapboards Reply with quote

On my 1790 Federal, I ve done some clapboard repair using quartersawn claps over Tyvek ( I pe-primed all of the claps with a very good oil based primer). I figured the Tyvek would aslo bring some 20th century help to this house. After reading the posts, I hope I didn't mess up!
Anyhow, the original claps were actually a true 5.25" with a 4" exposure (after the graduated initual 8-10 rows), so I used 5.5"(actual 5"). I now found out that the these days I should have used a 6" (actual 5.5")clap for the 4" exposure. So, are the $600 worth of claps that are up now going to be OK as long as I keep them maintained, and should I go to the 6" (I have more 'patching', and the complete front of the house to do)? If I do go to the 6", will it be noticeable?
Lastly, some of the nail heads are recessed (yes i used a nailer), what do should I use as a filler?
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massbuilder



Joined: 28 Jan 2008
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tom,

The 1/4" difference certainly isn't enough to justify replacing them.
:)

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