How to Replace Weatherboards

Wade Shaddy

Weatherboards are long planks of exterior siding. Also known as clapboards, lap boards or bevel siding, weatherboards protect and adorn homes, overlapping one another to create a substantial barrier to the elements. Early weatherboards were made of pine, spruce and oak.

Father and son walking in-between weatherboards

Contemporary weatherboards are made of cedar, composites and other materials. Natural weatherboards can split, crack or rot, and synthetic ones are subject to damage in various forms, though they're generally durable. It's not difficult to replace a damaged weatherboard.

  1. Orient yourself to the weatherboards you'll be working with: the board you're replacing, the board immediately above it and the one immediately below it. Call the board above the one you're replacing "board A." Board B is the board that you're replacing. Board C is the board below the one you're replacing.

  2. Insert the tip of a pry bar between board A and board B. Weatherboards are held in place with two nails at each stud along the length; one at the top and one at the bottom. Pry up board A along its bottom length, placing the tip of the pry bar as close to each nail head as possible. The prying action should loosen and lift board A and the nail head together by at least a half-inch.

  3. Tap the tip of the pry bar between board B and board C. Pry up to lift board B and the nails together.

  4. Tap boards A and B down -- avoiding the nails -- with a claw hammer, to leave the nail heads exposed. Use a claw hammer to remove the nails.

  5. Insert the blade of a reciprocating saw behind boards as needed to cut off stubborn or broken nails that you can't remove with the hammer. Remove the remaining part of the nail with diagonal pliers.

  6. Grasp board B -- the weatherboard you're replacing -- with both hands. Wiggle it up and down to loosen it and pull it from the structure with a downward tug. If it snaps off, that's fine. Pry the broken pieces out using the pry bar.

  7. Place the damaged weatherboard on top of a new weatherboard. Use the old weatherboard as a template to mark the new one. Optionally, measure the length of the empty spot on the structure wall.

  8. Cut the new weatherboard -- your new Board B -- to length with a miter saw or handsaw using a fine-tooth blade.

  9. Apply weather-resistant silicone caulk to both ends of the weatherboard. Tap the new weatherboard into place on the structure with a hammer. Board A should be loose enough to allow board B to slip underneath and behind it. If not, pry it up slightly. Once you get it started, board B will lift board A as you slide B under A. Use a wood block to protect the edge of the weatherboard when tapping it into place. Tap boards A and B down flat.

  10. Nail the weatherboard into place using the nail pattern from existing weatherboards. Use shank nails that are at least three times as long as the thickness of the weatherboard.

  11. Apply weather-resistant silicone caulk to the joints. Apply a single coat of weather-resistant acrylic paint with a brush. Apply a second coat when the first coat is dry.

  12. Tip

    If damage is isolated in a small area, you may not need to replace the entire weatherboard. Use a coping saw to cut vertical lines on both sides of the damage. Replace only the portion that's damaged.


    You may need to drill pilot holes before nailing to prevent splitting, depending on the type and thickness of the weatherboard. If you notice problems, drill holes before proceeding. Wear eye protection when working with weatherboards.