Clapboard Siding (Traditional) – Types, Installation and Prices Explained

One of the most popular forms of external siding for a home is clapboard. This siding has been around for generations as it is easy to construct, durable in regions of intense weather, and offers a stunning look to your home. This is why, it is also called traditional siding.

But what exactly is clapboard siding? There are countless forms of exterior siding for homes available, so what makes clapboard siding different? What are the appeals of clapboard siding that other home sidings do not offer?

Let’s start by taking a look at what clapboard siding is made out of. For the most part, the siding is constructed from cedar trees. The wood is breathable and can withstand harsh weather conditions. The cedar build is easy to work with which makes installation and repair easier. Other variations of the clapboard style use pine as the primary wood source.

Clapboard siding is a durable and stylish type of exterior siding for your home. It’s been used ever since colonial times and has proven to be a dependable option for home siding. This siding is easy to install and can withstand many different types of weather. Let’s take a look at the various types of this traditional siding you can choose from.

clapboard siding

Various Styles of Clapboard Siding

While a majority of the types of clapboard siding use cedar as their main component, there are some slight variations between styles that can make a massive difference. It’s important that you pick the perfect type of clapboard siding for your region. One type of clapboard could work better in wet climates whereas another fits dry regions best.

Here are 5 of the most popular styles of clapboard.

Clear Cedar

This type of siding is one of the best quality available. It uses a tight vertical grain and a semi-transparent stain to really emphasize the natural beauty of the cedar material. The compact nature of this siding allows for warping prevention which keeps your house looking great for years.

clear cedar vs. rustic cedar

Pre-Primed Clear Cedar

This is just like the above type of clapboard, but it has been coated with a primer which removes a step of installation. You won’t have to worry about priming your cedar before painting it to match your home’s style. The same durability exists, even with the primer on.

Cedar Ayes

This type of siding is much less compact. The boards offer a more natural look with less vertical grain visible. The quality of the clapboard siding is still high, but it’s regarded as a more mid-tier type of siding. It’s easy to paint and prime and can last you for years to come.


Rustic Cedar

This style of clapboard siding brings out the natural grain and look of the cedar materials being used. It’s much less stylized and reverts back to its natural look which can be great if you’re going for that look. These typically come with a semi-transparent stain.


The pine clapboards are the least expensive of the bunch, but it’s because they’re the least weather resistant. Pine clapboards still offer that neat, natural look that cedar ones do, but they come with much more maintenance requirements.


Installation of clapboard siding is quite simple. The planks of wood overlap each other and hang off the wall like your standard vinyl siding style. It provides a cascading effect that is quite popular in modern homes. Typically, each board is 6 inches wide with 4 of those inches exposed to the elements. The other 2 inches are placed beneath the above board.

Installing them should be done from the bottom up. This enables you to simply place the next board over top the one beneath it rather than trying to slide the board under the overhanging part of the one you just placed. Each board is individually installed which can be quite time-consuming, but when compared to full-sheet siding styles, it’s much easier to handle.

How to replace?

Replacing the boards is also quite simple as you can easily remove the compromised section of the clapboard without disturbing the integrity of the whole wall. Once you have the replacement board on hand, simply slide it in where the original one was and make sure the adhesive material solidifies. The new board will be ready to go without much hassle at all. Learn more about how to replace damaged clapboard siding.


Labor costs for clapboard installations are pretty average as they’re less intensive but more time-consuming. With materials, labor, and upkeep, you’re looking at about $3.95-$7.20 per square foot for a full clapboard installation. On the lower end, it’s on par with the home siding cost average. On the upper end, it’s relatively inexpensive as other types of siding can cost around $12 per square foot.

Where to Buy Clapboard

Quality clapboard can be bought throughout much of North America. Wherever cedar and pine mills are abundant, you’ll be able to find quality clapboard for an affordable price. Major retailers like Home Depot or Lowes also have clapboard siding available to buy. It’s one of the most accessible natural siding materials in North America.

If there is no clapboard siding available near you, you might be able to order some from a distributor and have it delivered to you, but the prices will skyrocket once shipping gets involved. Installation will also be on a regional basis as you might have clapboard available to you, but no business who offers clapboard installation or repairs.

A Comparison of Clapboard

Here is a quick comparison between clapboard siding and some of the most common alternatives.

Vinyl vs. clapboard siding

Traditional siding is the more expensive option, but the durability and ease of installation you’re receiving could outweigh the benefits of vinyl. Vinyl siding is much more accessible and common, but clapboard offers a more natural, rustic look. Read more about vinyl vs. clapboard siding.

vinyl vs. clapboard

Wood vs. clapboard siding

Standard wood siding can be quite heavy and costly to install. With the right wood, you could be getting a solid external protection from the elements, but some woods expand contract to the point where they warp. Clapboard siding eliminates that fear of warping while providing the same protection from the elements.

Dutch lap vs. clapboard siding

The main difference between Dutch lap and clapboard siding is the style of the boards. Dutch lap extends and provides a shadow over the board underneath it whereas clapboard is flat.

My name is Donald and I am the main author of this little page. I love working around the houses during the day and writing articles about house improvement in the evening. If you have any questions, just ask in the comments! If you need professional siding services use the form.


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