Best wood species for bare clapboard siding

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Forum topic by freedomdepartment posted 10-16-2010 11:38 PM 1481 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10-16-2010 11:38 PM

Hey all – I’m building a barn in my backyard, and am going to be putting up traditional wood clapboard siding.

I am going for the vintage/historic/weathered “farmhouse” look, and so will be painting with oil-base paint, so that it will craze and crack and chip off over time, for that authentic look.

Thus, the bare surface of the wood will be exposed to the elements (though all the cracks and missing paint chips), which includes plenty of moisture, since I live in eastern North Carolina.

What wood would be the best to use for this project?

The boards will be 1/2” thick and 5-1/2” wide (basically thin 1×6’s), installed with a 1” overlap for a 4-1/2” exposure.

Obviously the traditional wood around here would have been southern yellow pine, but that old-growth virgin wood which could stand up to bare exposure is long gone, and the modern stuff is crap that will warp, split, check, and rot within months.

I need something dimensionally stable, that won’t warp/split/crack/twist/cup/etc. with the exposure to the elements.

I had been considering sugar pine, ponderosa pine, western red cedar, clear-vertical-grain douglas fir, and baldcypress. Perhaps none of these are good ideas. Perhaps there’s another idea I haven’t thought of yet.

Obviously, pressure-treated is out of the question. So is reclaimed old-growth SYP, since it would be full of nail-holes, and of odd short lengths.

Oh, and no redwood or tropical hardwoods (mahogany, paduak, jatoba, etc.)!

And while a very few small, sound knots are okay, something with a ton of knots (even if they’re just pin knots) is out of the question…so no knotty pine!


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#1 posted 10-17-2010 12:06 AM


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#2 posted 10-17-2010 02:02 AM

Western Red Cedar. Standard of the industry at least around my neck of the woods. It’s oily and doesn’t like paint too much so it will likely shed some paint for you quite soon and when it does it will weather to a very nice silver-grey. It is also in the highest category for rot resistance and comes in large clear stable pieces.

Paul M

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

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