The walls of wooden buildings are usually covered either with shingles, siding or clapboards. In most localities it costs less to cover a wall with siding or clapboards than with shingles, and hence when the cost is an important item siding is generally used. When of good material and properly used, siding or clapboards make a good and durable wall covering, and, as they have a more finished appearance than shingles, many persons prefer them on that account.
Clapboards, in the strict use of the term, are a peculiar product of the New England States, and especially of Maine, the author never having heard of their manufacture in other localities, unless it be in the provinces. The clapboards made in Maine are 4 feet long, 6 inches wide, ½\ inch thick at the butt and about 1/8 inch thick at the other edge, a cross section resembling that of the beveled siding shown in Fig. 157.
These clapboards are cut from the log by a circular saw, which cuts from the circumference to the centre, the log being hung as if in, a lathe, being revolved the proper distance every time the saw takes off a board. Every board is of necessity perfectly quarter sawed, hence there is very little shrinkage and warping in them. When covering a building with clapboards the New England carpenters commence at the top and work down, as the clapboards can be laid faster in that way and with much less expense in staging. Clapboards should be free from knots or sap and should be closely butted at the end joints. The best Eastern clapboards are made out of white pine, although more clapboards are now made of spruce, and even hemlock clapboards are sometimes seen.
Siding. - Outside of the New England States " siding " is used instead of clapboards for wall covering, and it is also coming into use in some portions of New England.
The common siding has a similar section to that of clapboards, but is a little thicker, and is sawed from the log in the same manner as boards, and in lengths of from 10 to 16 feet. The ordinary siding, too, is not quarter sawed.
Siding has the advantage over clapboards in that there is usually much less waste in cutting, short splicing is avoided, and there are less joints. The common bevel siding is applied in the same way as clapboards, working from the top downward ; the end joints should be carefully butted, and for the best work the ends should be dipped in white lead and oil and should come over a stud. Six-inch siding or clapboards are usually laid with an exposure to the weather of 4½ inches. In some localities beveled siding is furnished in 4, 5 and 6-inch widths, but 6 inches is the ordinary width, the common section being that shown in Fig. 157.
In Boston, and possibly elsewhere, a rebated siding, as shown at B, Fig. 158, is carried in stock. Rebated siding possesses the advantage that the nails pass through only one piece of siding, and in case of shrinkage there is no danger of the clapboards splitting as there is when the nail passes through two pieces, as shown at A. It is also claimed that the rebated siding gives tighter joints, and that it can be laid more rapidly and with greater accuracy ; it also lays close to the boarding, thus preventing any danger of splitting. The rebate is 5/8 inch deep ; 5-inch siding showing 4 3/8 inches to the weather.
Beside the bevel siding various styles of moulded siding, usually called drop or novelty siding, are used (see Fig. 157). These are made from 7/8-inch boards and have only about 5/8-inch lap or cover. Such siding could be stuck to order at a slight additional expense.
The most durable woods for siding or clapboards are cypress and redwood, and one or the other of these woods can probably be obtained in most localities. Next to these woods soft pine makes the best siding. The harder pines are too brittle for beveled siding, as they split in nailing. Clear spruce is very largely used, but is not as good as the woods above mentioned. The best siding is quarter sawed; then there are generally a first and second quality, not quarter sawed, the second quality usually containing more or less sap, and in spruce a few small knots. Siding is often nailed directly to the studding without any sheathing or boarding between, especially in the Western States, but this should never be done except on summer cottages. A building covered in this way is very cold in winter and hot in summer, as well as much less rigid.