September 24, 2009

Traditional Clapboard with a "Green" Update

The clapboard goes up on the left elevation.
Goodbye, bubble gum pink.

A signature design element of the classic farmhouse is its white clapboard. White was almost universally used by our predecessors, in deference to the Greek Revival roots of the American Farmhouse style.

Clapboard is a wholly New England building material, referred to elsewhere in America as siding. According to the book, America In So Many Words: Words That Have Shaped America by Allan Metcalf and David K. Barnhart:

"American ingenuity made something new of clapboard. In England clapboard was used for barrels; the English who became Americans learned to apply it to houses... We have a 1632 report of 'a small house near the wear at Watertown, made all of clapboards.'"

Now, modern ingenuity gives us Hardiplank - fiber cement clapboards that provide historically accurate aesthetics with green, sustainable benefits:
  • Durable - Is more resistant to rot, insects, and fire than wood
  • Made from natural raw materials - wood pulp, cement, sand and water
  • Locally produced - 10 regional manufacturing facilities
  • Promotes air circulation and drainage behind cladding
  • Lower maintenance - holds paint far longer than other cladding options
  • Affordable - a far greener alternative than environmentally toxic vinyl siding
Best of all, Hardiplank clapboards arrive factory finished, which saves time and money on exterior painting.


  1. Hi Lisa,

    I was psyched when I saw the Everret Street project construct a rain screen siding wall.

    rain screens are a successful method for deterring rainwater intrusion into walls is the rain screen approach.

    Rather than attacking the symptoms of moisture intrusion, rain screens tackle the source-the forces that drive water into the building shell.

    By neutralizing these forces, rain screens can withstand extreme environments. They appear to be effective in any climate and handle any weather condition short of a disaster.

    Great blog! ROB Robillard

  2. Hi Rob.

    Thank you for your comments, and for further highlighting the benefits of rain screens under exterior cladding.

    Here is a great article on drainage planes from a source that I know our architects trust:


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