How To Replace Siding - How to Replace Clapboard, Shingles, and Shake

A step-by-step guide to replace siding for small, damaged areas, including clapboard, shingles, and shake

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If siding is your home’s armor, damaged siding is the chink leading to a glaring vulnerability that allows unwanted elements such as water, insects, mold, and cold or hot air into your home. When an area of it is damaged or rotted, replace siding immediately to avoid further damage to your siding, or worse, the structural underbelly behind the siding.

House siding is moderately challenging to replace and requires some precise cutting, maneuvering, and nailing to set it in correctly.

If you replace siding in a clearly visible area, some experts recommend taking a piece of siding from an inconspicuous area of the home, such as a low corner behind a bush, and using that to replace the damaged siding. Then replace siding in the inconspicuous area with brand new siding. This way, you avoid the issue of a piece of siding appearing clearly different from its surrounding panels. However, this requires additional work and in some cases will not lead to a noticeable difference, especially if the house is recently painted. If your siding is vinyl or unstained cedar, it’s usually best to match visible siding with existing siding and install the new siding somewhere inconspicuous.

To get more information about siding price estimates, see our article on House Siding Costs.


This following is a step-by-step guide for replacement of clapboard, shingles, and shake siding.

  1. Start by pulling the damaged siding from the house. Drive wedges under the siding with a hammer to pull it outward and remove any nails from the lower end of the siding once it’s propped outward. Wedges are available at most hardware stores. If you can’t remove the nails, you can cut them down with a hacksaw. You’ll also need to remove the nails from the top of the damaged siding. To do so, drive wedges in the section above the damaged siding.
  2. Next up: grab a saw, preferably a hacksaw, and start cutting the siding vertically. You want to cut a couple inches to the left and right of the damaged area. Leave the wedges under the siding while you cut and cut all the way through the damaged segment. The cut segment of siding should come out without much trouble. If not, pry it off with a hammer, crowbar, or any other tool that will give you leverage. If shingles and shake won’t come out, you can cut the damaged piece into smaller pieces and pull those out.
  3. Keep your saw handy and measure the open gap from where you just removed the siding. Cut the new piece of siding to match and slide it into the gap upward so that it goes under the higher (overlapping) piece of siding and over the piece of siding below it. But don’t leave it in--yet. Sliding the siding in place tells you whether you have the right fit. Once you do, pull it out and primer the new piece of siding as well as the edges of the empty space.
  4. Walk away for a while. You’ll need to wait until the primer dries before continuing.
  5. With the primer dried, slide the new, primed siding into the empty space and nail it in place. The siding should include holes for the nails. If not, drill a small hole before nailing to avoid splitting the wood. Nail through the bottom of the siding, driving the nail through the new piece of siding and the piece below it--connecting the two, in other words. Then drive nails through the piece above the new siding and into the new piece of siding--connecting these two as well. Do not use steel nails. Put acrylic latex caulk on the edges to ensure a secure fit and paint the clapboard to match surrounding siding.

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