What Is A Clapboard Houses?

What Is A Clapboard Houses?

What Is A Clapboard Houses?

Clapboard houses are distinctive in their use of horizontal wooden siding, known as clapboards. These boards are thick on one edge and narrow on the other and were widely used in America in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The term “clapboard” originates from the Dutch word “klappen,” meaning “to split.” This siding is also referred to as bevel or lap siding, due to the overlapping of one board over the other. This design helps to protect the interior of the house from weather conditions.

Clapboards were traditionally attached to two-by-four exterior framing with mud to keep out insects and moisture.

Today, a moisture barrier is installed between the frame and the clapboard. Many colonial homes in New England still have clapboard siding and are referred to as “Saltbox Colonials.” However, in the 1900s, materials such as aluminum and vinyl replaced clapboards due to their excellent weather resistance and lower cost.

Though initially beautiful, clapboards require regular painting and are vulnerable to insects, rot, warping, and splitting, which can detract from the appearance of the home over time.

Types Of Clapboard

Clapboards are wooden boards used for exterior siding on buildings. There are several types of clapboards, including Riven, Radially Sawn, Flat-sawn, Chamferboard, and Finger Jointed. Riven clapboards were originally created by hand, splitting the wood radially to produce triangular sections. Later, boards were produced in a clapboard mill, where they were radially sawn, producing vertical-grain clapboards that were more commonly used in New England.

Flat-sawn clapboards are cut tangent to the growth rings of the tree and are commonly used in the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand.

Chamferboards are an Australian form of weatherboarding that use tongue-and-groove joints to give a flatter appearance. Finally, some modern clapboards are made from shorter pieces of wood that are finger-jointed together using adhesive.

Wood Species Used For Clapboard Houses

Clapboards are wooden planks used as external siding in traditional buildings. Historically, they were made from split oak, pine, or spruce, but modern versions are available in red cedar and pine. In some areas, clapboards were left raw and relied on air circulation and semi-hardwoods to prevent rot.

Over time, the tannins would wash out and the wood would turn grey. More recently, clapboards have been tarred or painted, traditionally in black or white, but now in a wider range of colors due to advancements in pigments and stains.

Clapboard houses are commonly found in the British Isles and are part of a variety of traditional building styles, from cottages to windmills, shops to workshops and more. In New Zealand, clapboard housing was popular before 1960 and was seen as cost-effective and less vulnerable to damage after earthquakes.

Today, cheaper alternatives to wooden cladding include siding made from materials such as vinyl, aluminum and fiber cement.

Weather Protection

Clapboard houses were designed to protect the interior from weather. The overlapping design of clapboard also known as weatherboards helps keep rain and snow out.

They are attached to standard two-by-four framing with moisture barriers and traditionally were nailed directly to the frame and caulked with mud.

The cladding process starts at the bottom of the wall, with the narrow edges of the boards facing up. This traditional building method provides effective protection from the elements.

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