Wood Siding

Posted on: June 9th, 2020 1 Comment

Greetings everyone, Oscar the Grotesque here, joining you for another week to look more closely at Adirondack architecture, historic buildings, and preservation opportunities.

This week I would like to talk about exterior wood siding. Understanding the kind of wooden cladding your property has, and how it was made, can help you make the best decisions about its care.

Wooden cladding is found in three basic forms on exterior wall surfaces – horizontal siding, vertical siding, and shingles. A note that types of log siding will be discussed in a future post.


Clapboard, Riven Clapboard, Weatherboarding, bevel siding, lap siding and don’t forget that unique Adirondack siding called brainstorm siding are just some of the names used to describe horizontal siding. The form the siding takes usually relates to the region in which the building is found and the technology available for making the siding. It can also help you date and determine the architectural style of your house.

Clapboards, are generally four to six feet long boards of hardwood, normally oak, that were split or riven, rather than sawn and are split from a log in a radial pattern. The splitting process creates a rough triangular shape  They are nailed to posts or sheathing in an overlapping pattern, with the narrow edge at the top being overlapped by a thick edge from the clapboard above. It is quite common to install the overlapping board with a narrow exposure that descreases in exposure as you get closer to grade. The smaller reveal exposes less of the board to the weather and lengthens its useful life.

Weatherboards serve the same purpose as clapboard but are sawn, In contrast to clapboards, weatherboards are of soft woods: yellow pine and sometimes poplar.  Weatherboards are tapered in section and normally about eight inches wide and ten to twenty feet in length. Weatherboards can be planed smooth and  were often finished with a bead along their bottom edge. They usually have a wider reveal than clapboards . You must keep weatherboard stained or painted to preserve.


Shiplap is a 1x board that has a special rabbet or notch cut on the edges of the board in an alternating fashion.  The horizontal boards interlock with each other in the vertical plane to provide a weathertight seal Shiplap siding can come in a variety of various profiles.



Adirondack or Brainstorm Siding, is  a horizontal siding with the live edge left on the revealed face. Can be supplied either with or without the bark intact. This can be cut either as a beveled siding, as a straight, thick board with one edge left live and wany. Brainstorm siding was invented in 1907 by master builder Ben Muncil and architect William Massarene when they were building White Pine Camp on Osgood Pond.  Regrettably, White Pine Camp suffered a devastating fire on June 8, 2020.  Stay tuned for news of rebuilding.



Board-and-batten is the most common type of vertical siding. It consists of flat wooden boards installed vertically, with the joint between them covered by a batten. A batten is simply a narrow strip of wood, often with beveled edges. Board and batten siding can be found on Gothic Revival  architecture. Board and batten it allows for contraction and expansion of the boards, while keeping the joint fully covered. Board-and-batten siding came to be used primarily on outbuildings.



Wood shingles are either hand-split or sawn along the grain from unseasoned wood and then kiln-dried. Shingles are applied in overlapping rows and can be laid in simple coursed or shaped to create intricate designs. Wooden shingles are relatively uniform in width and length, and are applied in  horizontal courses. Each individual shingle is tapered with a thick butt edge. Shakes are a specific type of shingle, which are split from blocks of wood. Shakes are generally thicker than shingles. In the nineteenth and early twentith centuries, architects developed a whole language of freestyle shingle architecture called Shingle Style.

Oscar Observation: Please do not cover or replace your weatherboards or clapboards with aluminum or vinyl. These types of siding cause a host of problems, create moisture, and are aesthetically unappealing




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One Response

  1. Thanks for the tip to stain or paint weatherboard so you can preserve it. I want my home to be a nice light blue. I’ll get some weatherboard and paint it that color so my house looks nice while also being protected.

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